End of Month View – November 2017

This year November has been the major clean up of the garden ready for winter and more importantly ready for spring.17_11_23_7452You can see that most of the herbaceous materials have been removed. In some ways I would liked to have keep more of the seed heads for the birds etc., however, in order to plant the bulbs (over 1500 bulbs, see list here)  and spread mulch we need access to the beds.17_11_23_7453The twiggy material goes through a shredder and is then added is bagged up ready to add to the compost heap, the softer material goes straight on to the heap. Only the pertinacious weeds (eg ones with tap roots) get thrown away. In this way we recycle at least 95% of all the plant material. The green link stakes are stored in one of our outbuildings. Given we have 1000’s of such stakes in many different sizes this is quite an exercise in itself. If anyone has a good suggestion of how to store these stakes I would love to know it.17_11_23_7455A border almost totally cleared ready for bulbs etc

And the same corner in August!

17_11_28_7465Tulip bulbs ready for planting17_11_28_7464And the under-gardener planting bulbs on a cold, crisp November day.

17_11_24_7462Now we have easy access to the climbing roses I need to turn my mind to pruning and tying in the new growth.17_11_28_7463To the right of the pond more tulips bulbs waiting to be planted.17_11_24_7460The plastic sheet hanging from the pergola serves two purposes. It keeps the rain off the wooded bench but more importantly it keeps the rain off two small peach trees which are planted in tubs either side of the bench. This should avoid peach leaf curl.17_11_24_7461Another border ready for winter and the spring.17_07_27_6785And the same border in July.17_11_28_746717_11_28_7466Elsewhere we have planted bulbs and have spread a mulch dressing onto the soil. This is Ivy’s bed on the garden map. There is plenty more mulch spreading yet to do!

2017 Gardening Hours
Week beginning Nov 25th Total 2017 to-date Average per week
30 1004 21

If you would like to join in with this meme you are very welcome – add a link to your post in the comments box and please link to this post from your blog so readers can find other EoMV posts. There are no rules about what you post. Maybe you want to focus on one area through the year or give a general tour, whatever suits you is fine with me.


Lambs and snowdrops


17_03_01_5009Spring had really arrived now. Over the years we have been splitting clumps of snowdrops to fill out the border down the lefthand side of the garden. This has been a real success with the spring bed looking absolutely gorgeous.  17_03_01_502317_03_01_5007From our back door the border is raised and you find yourself looking into the snowdrops.Which is really great to see.17_03_01_5024Looking down on the same part of the bed you can see the progress the tulips are making. These are mainly Red Impression and by April the whole of this left hand border will be full of Red Impression.17_02_22_4982The beauty of spring comes through with snowdrops, aconites,  Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin and a small cyclamen. 17_03_01_5012Elsewhere the snowdrops set of the yew and box hedging.

17_03_01_5017The other arrival this week are the lambs in the field below our garden. The lambs are born in lambing sheds so when they are put out to the field they are quite strong. However, the day they arrived it turned cold and rained and I guess they wondered what it was all about. Certainly we could hear a significant amount of lambs crying out through the night.17_03_01_5016In a week or two they will be charging around the field like a group of adolescents!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
16 574 16

All 16 hours were on the clean up following Doris. In particular, Diane did 10 hours of shredding so that we can recycle all the brushwood back into the compost heap through the year ahead. The shreddings have been bagged up and are ready to be moved to the compost area.

Compost: Hidden dangers

With quite a large garden we can make plenty of compost. In fact we compost all vegetable matter with the only exception of weeds such as dandelions, couch grass and some annual weeds such as milkweed which have a habit of coming through the composting process. Any woody cuttings, including hedge trimmings, are shredded and bagged up. These shreddings are then added to green vegetation, particularly lawn clippings, as they go on to the compost heap. Adding these woody materials to grass largely stops it going slimy and into silage.16_09_02_3365Bags of shredding waiting to be added with a pile of composted compost that will be used as mulch later this year. As you can see the compost area is also a general storage area with some logs from a local farmer and some pots of gravel.16_09_02_3366The compost bins have been renewed this year after the previous ones rotted away after having given service for twenty three years. The bins are constructed with marine plywood sides with planks that slot into the front to give access for emptying and also filling.16_09_02_3367We basically have three such bins. There are holes in the plywood to let animals into the heap and also for some aeration of the heap. The two bins on the right are used to receive materials from the garden, the bin on the left is used when we need to turn the heap in one of the two right hand bins. We find that turning the heap speeds up the compost process and gives a much better final result. The only downside is it is very hard work turning the heap!16_09_02_3368The left hand bin just after we have turned the compost from the centre bin. (plus a few leaves from the trees under which the bins are located).16_09_02_3369 The compost ready for mulching.

So where is the hidden danger. I was standing in the half full middle bin turning the half composted materials into the left hand bin using a fork. I suddenly realised that as well as compost I had a quite large grass snake on my fork! We have always had grass snakes around the compost bins but normally they get out of the way when I am doing work there. I had been concerned that with the new compost bins they would not be around this year and it was a pleasant surprise to see this one although in the circumstances a bit of a shock! This one was about a metre long and very active. The snake had not been injured and made a fast escape through one of the holes at the back. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a camera in time so here is an older photo of a similar snake in our garden.2010_20100624_582They are not dangerous but the thought of me standing in the compost heap with a snake trying to make a quick exit up my trouser legs beggars belief. I shall have to remember to tuck my trousers into my socks next time I turn the heap!

At last we have had some welcome rain. However, the weather forecast for next week is also looking very dry.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
24 195 18