Garden Cadet's Blog

Monday, April 10, 2006

Garden Update

Well its been a long time since I last updated this blog, however as i shall explain below i have been very busy of late. Apologies to those of you who were expecting more regular contributions.

A little late perhaps but its finaly that time of year when all of us gardeners are busy in our gardens, tidying up cutting back, planting and generaly putting the winter season behind us and preparing for the seasons ahead. I have been no exception and the prolonged cold weather in March has meant that these tasks have become more condensed and seemingly more hectic than normal.

There have been times recently when I thought that the garden would never start to look tidy and nice in time for summer. There seemed to be things needing doing everywhere I looked and it was a job to know where to start. Worst of all I think was the great pile of prunings that had accumulated in recent weeks as a result of late winter and early spring pruning.

Starting with the Buddleias and late flowering Spirea japonicas, and on through dogwoods (Cornus alba) and hardy fuschias (Fuschia magelanica cultivars) later on a considerable pile had developed. Added to this was a pile of pine prunings, the result of a crown lifting exercise on a couple of our big pine trees back in January. I'd managed to burn some of it at the time it was cut but there was still some left that wouldnt burn. There was also the results of a one off pruning of 4 large Hebe 'Great Orme' that had become too large. All this had resulted in 3 large piles filling the area of the garden reserved for such waste.

So last weekend I resolved to deal with some if not all of it. The pine was taken to the local tip as it could not be recycled within the garden. The hebe prunings were rather sappy and 'green' still whils being a little too woody to go straight on the compost heap. To deal with this I 'mowed' them to break it all up and make it compostable. This is a technique I use frequently with hedge clippings in the summer and involves laying out the material on the grass and running the mower over it until it is well chopped up and is drawn up into the grass collection box. The by product is then stored and added to the compost heap over a period of time.

This left me with the very woody shrub prunings. These were dealt with by a proper shredder machine, which after some maintainace on the blades soon made light work of a vast majority of the material. I say the majority because some of the prunings could not go through the shredder, being either too small or too 'twiggy' to fit and was primarily prunings from my goosebery bushes. These I now plan to burn once get favourable conditions for doing so (I live in a suburban environment, so I must be carefull not to upset the neighbours with inconsiderate bonfires).

So from several large piles I was left with little more than a large bag of shredded material suitable for composting or turning into a mulch for other plants. In addition I now have a tidy and spacious area where once there was chaos! Now thats what I call a good days work!

Of course there is still plenty to be doing but I can at least start to move forward now.

Well thats all for now (thank goodness! i hear you cry ;-) ). I will try not to leave it so long next time and maybe tell you about some of the other things i have been doing in my garden.