The Day Comes!

The day comes!

We all wish the summer, even the autumn, show to continue in the garden as long as possible and we treasure those plants which bring colour to this late end of the year. However, as the weather becomes worse – and in Ireland this means wetter and wetter – the day comes when the show is no longer sustainable.

Our climate doesn’t favour those crisp winter garden scenes so often featured in photographs of continental gardens, particularly in latter years, those gardens of the perennial movement, Piet Oudolf creations etc. Winter in Ireland is wet; frost is generally not heavy nor frequent and rather than crisp dry days we experience wet, dull, drab and miserable conditions and our winter borders reflect this. Not for us the enjoyment of sculptural winter skeletons in the herbaceous borders. Instead, our plants go to mush, a dull drab mess which is unattractive to view and a unpleasant chore to clear.

We juggle with the date for this clearing of the autumn/winter garden. If started too early we lose some enjoyment and, if too late, we leave ourselves with dirty and unenjoyable work. We must make the decision, make the move, choose the day and get on with it. We have had a few good dry days from the weekend to today and we decided to get on with the clear up – the day came!

Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (2)
The compost bins, where all clean-up material ends up. The bin on the right is the one being filled at present, that in the centre has material ready to be spread in the garden and, on the left, a bin which was filled and covered by early summer. The bags on top are of leaf mould, from leaves collected last year.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (4)
Compost bin open and ready for new material. I had added material over the last few days and it is already steaming hot.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (3)
Other compost bins – this one is used to hold material ready for shredding and is now being used to hold bags of collected leaves.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (6)
Ready for action – heavy gloves for heat rather than protection. It is quite cool and when the plants are wet with dew the hands become cold very quickly unless protected.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (9)
The first load back to the compost bins and ready to be shredded before being added to the heap.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (10)
This euonymous has had a drastic cut-back and will add good woody material to the compost bin.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (11)
Two full wheelbarrows of cuttings reduced to a more manageable size and because the material has been shredded it will heat up more quickly and decompose more quickly also – and be ready for use as compost in the garden earlier.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (8)
A good pile of medlars found among geraniums
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (7)
Another find: hazelnuts from the Turkish hazel, Cornus colurna.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (14)
At the end of the day the compost heap has grown considerably – but it will sink over the next few days as it heats up and the material collapses.
Autumn cut down, shredding, compost heap (13)
Not everything has gone over and there is still colour and interest in the garden.

Note: The photographs were taken with my ‘phone camera and confirm that it does not take photographs as well as my camera.



8 thoughts on “The Day Comes!

  1. Paddy that was a wonderful post evoking so much of the autumnal season and admiration for the thoroughness with which you both approach it. Luckily I can plead the installation of new windows in sitting room and painting of kitchen units to excuse my lack of preparedness for Autumn but it was great to read how it should be done!!!! RESPEK!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a big clean-up but some things are still looking reasonable enough and I have left them. With the bulk of the clearing done, what is left will be only light work.


  2. Making that magical compost is such a rewarding activity! I opened a heap that was made in the spring and waxed lyrical when I saw the beautiful rich compost ready for spreading. I tend to hoard the compost ” too good for that border” but I am resolved to overcome this attitude this year!

    Liked by 1 person

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