The early Spring weather with stay-at-home measures means I’ve raced through Spring garden chores and am now starting work on newer areas and projects that are beyond just “maintenance”. This has meant dealing with several ghosts from the past and finally putting them to bed (as it were).
The focus over the last couple of weeks has been clearing out the garden rubbish. This isn’t just a few clippings and prunings but a range of stuff that has come from major garden projects over the years. Things like:
- The tops of the beech hedge when we took its height down one year, using a chainsaw
- The branches and prunings from taking down large overgrown shrubs, the odd tree, rhododendron and when the canopy of the beech trees along the back was lifted
- The accumulated pallets from all those bulk bag deliveries of compost and manure
- The bamboo canes and tops from removing the large (out of control) bamboo screen towards the back of the garden
- A collection of iron rebar to be used for plant supports but which didn’t work out
- A pile of drain pipes and guttering from when it was all renewed and replaced (at the same time the eaves were re-painted)
- Years of leaf and pine needle fall, sticks and twigs on previously inaccessible areas
- Rotting sections of wood from an old shed that we took down
All this stuff is towards the back of the garden. As the wave of garden restoration and border-making spread out from the house, all this rubbish was repeatedly pushed further and further back until I am now at the point where it needs to be dealt with before I can continue with plans for this year.
I used my trusty “Task Master 5000” (a note pad) to jot down the types of “problems” (e.g., bamboo, guttering, prunings, branches etc.) and for each one, had a think about what I could do to either use or get rid (the “solution”). In the end it turned out to be a bit of a tangled set of jobs that needed to be worked on all at once in piecemeal.
The drain pipes went to edge the path along the back of the shed, I used some pieces of wood for this too. The excess soil from this area went to level another area at the corner of the garden (which needed to be cleared first). This created a narrow strip along the back that I could use to artfully place the branches and prunings, as well as the beech tops (that were in the corner that needed to be levelled). The bark chip path was topped-up by breaking up smaller sticks and twigs from the rubbish pile. This allowed me to churn up the remaining leaves and pine needles with the lawnmower and also put that in the corner of the garden to level. I put hooks into one side of the shed from which I hung the remaining straight pieces of rebar. Some old pallets were broken up and the rest stacked. I secured some rebar to the back of the shed to finally sort and store the bamboo canes. The bamboo tops were assembled into sheaves, tied up with string and secured with cut-off sections of remaining drain pipe. I put this in some artful arrangement at the back of the garden too, but its main use will be as kindling.
We also convinced a neighbour (with the help of some home made sticky cinnamon buns) to give us some space in their skip to get rid of an old shower screen and the car tyre we uncovered while clearing the back for the first time and which had been hanging around for years.
There’s a great deal of rubbish and though it’s annoying to have to handle it all now, in one go, it does mean that when this little distraction is finished, I should no longer have any unofficial piles of rubbish that need to be dealt with. All future rubbish will need to be either put in the compost bin, the compost heap or in a designated rubbish area until it can be burnt, taken to the tip or decanted into the compost bin. No more rubbish borders!
This final state will be somewhat of a milestone itself, as there has always been piles of rubbish in the untamed areas of the garden, but I am now on the final untamed area underneath the large goat willow tree and I’ve run out of patience with moving piles of rubbish around the garden and I’m not prepared to clear an area only to have it filled with rubbish again, as has happened several times.
In some sense, this is the biggest Spring clean the garden has had and it will leave me with breathing room to finally get started on reclaiming the last “wild” areas in the garden.