Sunday was a lovely day here, so with chores to do I put on my gardening fleece and my wellies and headed out to water the greenhouse and scrub the food recycling bins. Oh the glamour! I'll share more from the greenhouse another day, but don't worry I'll spare you the rest.
I was all for heading back inside to do some baking, but MOH was intent on some leaf collection, and I was soon roped in to help. We had our three sycamore trees pollarded a couple of weeks ago, sadly though that was just after the really windy spell. And in that really windy spell all the leaves that weren't down already, came down. So there were quite a few to collect.
Most of the leaves had collected in the troughs we spent some time digging in the summer in anticipation for the edging installation. And I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing. We haven't made as much progress as we'd like with the edging, but as long as the weather stays dry and the ground stays wet, we should be able to continue, and hopefully make progress by Spring.
But first to pick up these leaves. It's hard work, harder than you think. My tools of choice are gloves, a trowel and black sacks. MOH favours the rake. Black sacks are ideal though, so even if you don't have a leaf compost bin, as long as you aerate - or make holes in - the black sack, your leaves will break down in the bags.
The fact that our leaves were wet is also good for composting, just not so good for picking up. We filled fifteen bags of leaves and the fun bit - well after all that bending down it's fun - is stabbing the bags with a trowel or a fork to let the air in. Our black sacks of leaves are destined for the allotment, as one of the pallet compost bins is dedicated to leaf mulch.
A quick tour of the rest of the garden
Now picking up leaves aren't usually my thing, I'd much rather potter about a bit. So as I made my way around the garden I decided to take a snap or two to break up the monotony. So it was good to see the pyracantha berries still out. They're in a relatively shady spot against the fence, but bring a burst of colour as you walk past. Or if you're stuck there for a while shovelling leaves into a black sack.
At the back of the garden I took a little break to check the little christmas tree from last year. It's done well, where it is after a bit of a worrying time in all that hot weather earlier in the year, but I'm not sure I'll be trimming it this year to make a wreath. Partly, because I think it'll benefit from a bit more growing time, and also because I'm not sure I'll have enough time to actually make one this year, but we'll see how it goes.
I managed to get one of the best pictures of my dogwoods for a while, the sun was just right and you can see it on the jasmine. It's hard to imagine them as bare rooted plants back in 2013 now, that trellis is six foot tall, so it looks like I'll have some lovely stems to cut next year.
On the patio the agapanthus seemed to be coping well with the weather, I hope they don't mind it a bit chillier. Last year was so mild they really didn't have much to contend with. I've a plan to cover them with horticultural fleece if we have a prolonged cold spell.
Under one of the sycamores the euphorbias were back in force, and covered with leaves - but those are for another day, and look the hosta is trying to flower too.
By now I've headed to the back of the garden again and am clearing the leaves by the stone circle, where the pear tree is. It fruits, but they are rock hard and never seem to ripen. This year we noticed more fruits than normal - possibly because we gave the tree a good prune - but the squirrels seemed to get to most of them before we did. I don't think the fruits were any better, or tastier this year than before as we've found so many of them discarded at the base of the tree.
I found another one on Sunday and was amazed and intrigued by how it had fared. It was rock hard, but gently decomposing. And now it's in the compost instead of just on the garden, fascinating isn't it?
And that's pretty much a tour of the garden, I was out of photos to take and still bored of collecting leaves, so I hatched a new plan to escape. This time I headed inside to make lunch, using the second cauliflower that we'd picked on the allotment the day before to make a cheesy cauliflower soup (if you're interested I included a very high-level recipe in the turnips post yesterday), and that seemed to do the trick.
I left MOH to sort out his various piles of leaves, but couldn't help but notice how much better the garden looked for picking them all up.
That just leaves (no pun intended) taking the multitude of sacks to the allotment and picking up the leaves that are in the beds, but I read somewhere that it doesn't pay to be too tidy in the garden, as the wildlife appreciate some disorder. So that's definitely my plan, what about you?