The bags of soil had been sat on the drive for weeks, just sat, not doing much, covered with bright blue tarp to keep the rain off. With late winter moving into spring and the days getting longer, warmer and drier, I could finally tackle them and start transferring them from their bags to the borders.
The borders in the garden are raised and contoured, with ridges and high points, this gives a wide range of growing conditions, especially the variable moisture, with the wettest soil in the lower sections and the driest in the highest. In the few short years since they were dug, the soil has settled and the borders have dropped several inches as the air is gradually squeezed out. With the tons of rotted manure and compost that has been added to the borders, I’m hoping that it’s just the excess air that has gone – like a gentle fart continuously exhaled over several years – and not that the borders have reverted to concrete-like clay.
It’s time for the borders to be topped up with a good, thick layer of mulch to get add some fertility back in, raise the soil level, smother weeds and justify buying at trade quantities. There is something very satisfying about spreading mulch around the emerging plants (and sometimes over them). The uniform dark colour of the mulch makes the borders look neat and pristine, tiny weeds, leaves, twigs, stones and other detritus on the surface are buried under a carpet of soil that brings everything together in a uniform brown. It looks as though they’ve just been planted.
It’s perfect for a few days anyway.
The recent benevolent weather means I’ve already completed mulching the middle border and I’ve made a start on Fruit Avenue, which could do with weeding first. I have just over a bag left. It’s no use sprinkling the soil over the border as though one was dusting with icing sugar, it needs to be dumped in thick layers as that gives the most benefit. It also needs to be a thick layer because I need to restore the “hills” and ridges in the borders after they’ve been worn away.
I will try and take some time to stop and take in all the changes that are happening in the garden at the moment. I’m particularly looking forward to the Amelanchier opening up, the Camellias are well on their way and the Forsythia is powering up its vivid yellow flowers. I’m tentative on the Magnolia though, whose buds are small and closed while even the Clematis is showing a willingness to get on with it, presumably before it promptly dies.
It’s still amazing to think that it won’t be long before there won’t be any soil visible at all, it will be all be a mass of foliage and flowers so I’m not too worried about the tiny plants in a sea of soil. The garden is already growing faster than I can keep up with!