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In the last few weeks, several milestones in the garden were passed. They have been years in the making, inter-linked with various dependencies that slowly unraveled like a ball of string until the threads pulled apart.

The first one was an easy one. The outdoor “Green Cone” food compost bin has finally gone. We inherited this green cone and it never really worked. We put food waste in it, even bought a new set of sprinkles that you’re supposed to put in it to help the food breakdown. It never happened. Even with just two of us it filled up quickly, was always crawling with flies and stank horribly. We stopped using it after the first year and it was just left as a guide to show how far the rhododendron hedge was growing out – a hedgeometer, if you will.

Green Cone and Sly Fox

Now with the renovation of that hedge and what we’re planning to do with it, this weekend, the useless green cone was finally expelled. While its contents had many years to compost down, there were still identifiable tea bags and bones in there, it was disgusting. We buried most of it in the hole left behind then covered it with a thick cap of other compost and then soil from elsewhere in the garden to match the surface. It’s still a little spongy on top and will probably sink further but then we’ll just top it up.

Good riddance to the green cone and its nasty compost.

I never did like that green cone, it was a gimmick that never worked and was nasty to have around. I’m glad the damned thing is gone. We’ve been putting uncooked food waste on the compost heap at the back since it was made and it works better than the green cone ever did.

The next milestone comes from the rhododendron hedge renovation itself. This has allowed us to access areas of the garden we have never been able to before. Namely, the back of the greenhouse and along the top side of the garden, from the washing line all the way to the far corner. This was not possible before as the hedge had grown out so far. The view to the far pine along the top was completely blocked. Not any more.

A new, long and unobstructed walk

The next set of milestones are to do with the border under the large goat willow tree, which I’ve been systematically clearing since spring. The work on getting rid of all the detritus, weeds, and rubbish is now done and the border is finally clear.

A border finally clear of rubbish

This also includes disposing of the rubbish, it’s either gone or waiting to be decanted from a bulk bag, it isn’t sat on another border waiting to be moved again. The border is far from planting though, there are a few steps to do first:

  1. Mark out the border edge all the way round
  2. Set the path at the back along the fence
  3. Edge any areas needed with either rockery stone or sleepers due to ground height differences
  4. Decant the compost in the compost heap onto this border
  5. Further “top dress” with compost and manure
  6. Smooth the border surface and set and internal border paths or “places to step”
  7. Plant stuff

The excitement comes in step 7, which won’t be possible until all the previous steps are completed first.

The milestone here is that with this border clear, there are now no more piles of rubbish in other areas to have to move elsewhere or get rid of en-masse. There are now no more areas of the garden that are wild and overgrown with weeds that need to be taken under control. There’s nowhere in the garden I can look at and say “that needs clearing up”, there’s nowhere that needs taking back to a blank canvas. It’s a most odd feeling and means that a major part of the garden restoration is now actually done.

A path running along the back fence is now finally possible from cutting the hedge and clearing the border. This also gives another milestone of being able to access all areas of the garden. There’s nowhere in the garden you can’t get to, nowhere that is blocked by wildly overgrown plants or piles of rubbish or random half-broken fencing.

Todo: Put a path along the fence on the left

I’m hoping this border will be ready to plant by early autumn (it shouldn’t take that long). I was originally planning to resume work on the main border that I started at the end of last year, but the winter/spring maintenance jobs conspired to switch my focus to this last remaining wild area in the garden that needed restoration and taking back to a blank canvas. It did actually used to be a border, but it had become overgrown to the point where starting again in this way was probably easiest.


After with the camera swung round a bit

These milestones suddenly coming so quickly is an indication that the pieces of the garden puzzle are all coming together. I have a vague feeling of “the end is in sight”. It’s an end to restoring the wild and weedy areas of the garden and a start of focussing much more on the planting and filling out the borders. A change in the nature of the work from restoration and “new things”, to long-term maintenance.

While there are still two large borders to make, I know that next year I won’t be spending the spring throwing out rubbish, clearing a large border of weeds or doing major hedge renovation. The list of “one-time only” jobs is starting to run thin, like the pink stripe down a till receipt that tells you that you need to replace the paper roll, these milestones are like dominos slowly falling one after the other and soon there will be a final one and it feels tantalisingly close.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 09/06/2020 - 7:31 am

Hard work but looking good. and I know what you mean about composting in plastic. The stuff lasts for years without doing anything!

Sunil 18/06/2020 - 12:13 pm

It was pretty useless and I grew to resent it more and more over the years. I’m glad to see the back of it!

sallysmom 10/06/2020 - 8:31 pm

We do a version of trench composting. Love it that there is nothing in the open.

Sunil 18/06/2020 - 12:14 pm

That’s one way of hiding a compost heap! I don’t think we could do that here as we couldn’t dig deep enough and we have a thick clay layer over sand. We’d probably hit tree roots from the large pines that run along the back of the garden as well.

gardeninacity 13/06/2020 - 4:32 pm

Must be satisfying to feel the garden coming together. I gave up on composting a couple of years ago, though most garden waste gets tucked into out of the way corners.

Sunil 18/06/2020 - 12:16 pm

Hello Jason, it’s an odd feeling to have, knowing that the last border has been made and the last set of rubbish has gone and the last hedge has been renovated etc and the jobs are more and more to do with maintenance as opposed to making something “new”. It’s good though because after almost a decade, I’m glad I’ve at least got this far.


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