I’m sure I have a blog post every year around this time which has some play on the month, March. This year is no different. Old habits die hard.
It’s been dry and sometimes even rather mild over the last few weeks and I’ve made myself go outside pretty much everyday and do something in the garden, usually the winter clean-up of the borders. I feel like I’ve raced though the work. Five out of six borders are now done, I also topped up the Landing Pad and various garden paths with two out of the three bulk bags of wood chips that have been sat on the front drive for over a year.
I’m currently mid-way through sorting out the compost heap – and I really do mean sorting it out. You see, over the few years since I made the fencing around the compost heap, almost all the pressure-treated, 10-year guaranteed, wooden posts have rotted, outwardly spilling the increasingly large volumes of material.
I got tired of looking at it and decided to clean it all up, ready for open season. I’m using the large bulk bags, that we’ve had compost, wood chips and manure delivered in over the years, to decant what’s in the compost heap – sorting the material into one of three categories:
- “Fresh Stuff”: the most recent material on top of the compost heap that needs to break down
- “Cooking”: material that’s had some time to start breaking down but is still some way off being usable compost
- “Ready”: usable garden compost, may need sieving and will contain seeds, and perhaps used tea bags, lego
I’ve filled four bulk bags already and have three more I can use. What’s left now is “Ready” compost and it really is good stuff. It might be full of random seeds, but the texture is light, airy and crumbly, the complete opposite of the heavy, solid clay we have out in the garden. I want to decant everything in the compost heap into the bulk bags, and then probably get rid of most of the compost by applying it as a mulch on the borders.
So, as I find myself shovelling a large pile of dirt into large bags, I’m reminded of the first time I cleared this back area of the garden, when we had the second (rotting) shed and whole load of mess. I systematically worked through it, levelling the ground, getting rid of the rubbish and flattening the shed. Now I’m going over the same area again, doing similar work, but it’s not as bad this time.
I have a lot of shovelling to do to finish the work but at least it doesn’t require too much in the way of thinking. Once all the compost has been bagged, I’m probably going to end up with some extra space in front of the (remaining) shed and it’s quite a nice view looking back through the garden towards the house. It’s also very pleasant and shady under the trees in summer (if the mosquitos aren’t biting). I lifted the canopy of the trees and it feels airy yet sheltered. It’s got me thinking about seating options, something wooden and rustic, the Lutyens bench we already have won’t do, this might be more along the lines of two stumps and a wide plank between.
While I’ve done a lot of winter clean-up already, I still need to winter-prune many of the roses, cut the hedges at the front (there’s the front in general to sort out) and the Goat Willow needs a pollard. The Banksiae needs some of its loose ends cutting back too (again) oh, and there’s the clematis and various shrubs to prune. These aren’t quick “5 minute” jobs either. I’ve been lucky with the weather being so dry recently, but it’s now rainy and pretty cold (hence finding the time to write this post). I also need to properly edge the borders. I think I said in the last post that I felt I still had lots of time to get things sorted, but it’s feeling less like it this time around, especially with the distraction of sorting this back area out – again.