A sun hat for my plants

The south west corner of the main Rumwoldstow garden being shaded by the cloister much of the time, I planted it with shade-loving plants such as sweet woodruff and white horehound. However, as spring draws on, it’s clear that they’ll be exposed to full sunlight for several hours in the middle of the day, which I assume won’t be good for them. So with Al’s help I foraged for materials and built them a little roof.

As you can see in the photo below, the sun is just starting to touch the plants around noon, in mid-April, so they’ll need shading from around this time of year onwards. I cut hazel rods from the hedge which was coppiced two years ago (918), and set four rods with forks into the soil, then laid two long straight rods across.

Basic frame of hazel rods

The next step was to cut roof shingles out of old fence panelling and drill a hole in each to hold a peg cut from hazel. These were laid on the horizontal rods, with additional rods then bound on top to keep them from blowing off.

Wooden shingles with pegs
Shingles laid on roof

I used garden twine to fix the upper rods and also to bind the corners and add diagonal bracing underneath to give the structure more lateral stability.

Underside of roof

Shingles can be slipped out and rearranged to vary the amount of light that gets through.

Varying the light by removing shingles

In midsummer I may add more shingles to keep the plants cool, but for now this looks like a light woodland effect as the leaves start to grow. In the autumn, I will remove all the shingles and store them indoors.