Our herb garden is taking shape (to the extent is has its own section on the site here). The chives have taken well and the strawberries, Mara de Bois are fruiting and they're turning red. On a sunny day (yes, we know!) we went to the local building yard and discussed what to put down in the space between the herb bed and the house.
At present, it looks like this. Compacted earth and hardcore from the old paving slabs. We don't want to put down weed membrane because whatever goes down here we want to plant through. We also want whatever we're putting down to be permanent and easy draining. We don't want stone paving or cobbles because they never drain very well, and in winter we get a lot of rain. So, we knew we wanted some kind of gravel. We had pea gravel at the old house and there was a downside to pea gravel, you tended to place a chair on it, sit down and sink. So, after a conversation with the staff down at the building yard we boiled it down to two types of gravel, Cotswold and Yorkshire Cream. Now, for anyone who watches the news or is from the North, you all know that limestone, which is predominately found in Cotswold doesn't really last in the North. Entire bypasses have vanished in sink holes in Manchester. Back gardens have sunk into impromptu swimming pools in Harrogate. Houses have listed to the right, left, forwards, backwards in the hokey cokey limestone dance in Todmorden. Limestone is great until it hits rain and then after awhile it melts away. Also, we didn't like the colour. So, we went with Yorkshire Cream, which bounces light around and changes colour when it rains, it becomes dour and refuses to buy the next round. No, we're joking, this is historically Yorkshire and the houses are Yorkshire built and therefore the garden should be belligerently, Yorkshire. So, time for a drum roll, you've seen the before and now the after.
All this cost £38.64 (at this point we would tell you what that was in dollars and euros but you all know what has happened after the EU referendum, and it's all rather depressing when you compare currencies, so do it on any search engine and weep or laugh depending where you are). That works out around £2.76 a bag.
This stone gravel is bigger and it means when you sit down on a chair, you don't sink. It also means we can still plant through it to create a dry garden for some of the herbs.