Cleaning up is never the most exciting nor enjoyable of gardening activities though there is a certain satisfaction when the work is done and so it was this week. We had tree surgeons here on Monday, two “climbers” and one who dealt with what they cut. We had seven trees removed completely, seven box maples (Acer negundo) and one Foxglove Tree (Paulownia tomestosa) and, interestingly, they had all been grown from seed and after twenty years of growth had outgrown their space and needed to be removed. The box maples were behind the garden shed and were overshadowing the vegetable patch and, for that reason alone, needed to go. The Paulownia was immediately outside the kitchen window and had provided shade to the patio for years but had grown to such a size that it threatened retaining walls which had already cracked and moved a little. It was a case to taking it out before it knocked the walls completely. And, then, there was a line of mature ash trees along the garden boundary which, as well as showing clear signs of ash die-back, had arching branches which put that side of the garden into deep shade, denying the plants beneath both light and rainfall.
The work on the ash trees lead to the greatest work for us as they ran along a twenty metres stretch of the garden and the dropping of cut sections to the ground along with the many runs in and out to clear them away damaged a number of shrubs and trampled much of the beds. The heavy debris had been taken away but what was left – the general brus of twigs and leaves, added a huge amount to the compost bin. Added to this, almost all the herbaceous plants were trampled and had to be cut down – more for shredding and adding to the compost heap. The work lasted into a third day but is completed and all is tidied up again – a job well done!
It has been a peculiar autumn. Meteorologists have September, October and November as the months of autumn but I am of the older solar persuasion and have always regarded August, September and October as the autumnal months so I am now approaching the end of autumn and find it extraordinary that is has continued to be so mild: we have not yet put on the central heating and I walked on the beach this morning in a short-sleeved shirt, feeling perfectly comfortable except for five minutes when a cool breeze blew up the estuary.
We are fast approaching the turning back of the clocks so the darkness of the evenings will draw in earlier. Yes, the mornings will be brighter but, as I am not fast off the blocks early in the day, that is of no benefit to me. This is the season of the SAD people, those affected by Seasonally Affective Disorder, where low light levels trigger a seasonal depression. The permanently miserable might well consider those only seasonally miserable as being less that dedicated to the cause, less diligent, less committed and I have wondered how life differs for the partners of each. Is the change from the summer to the winter mentality a difficult jolt or is the summer a great relief after the winter, a break, a rest. There is no rest for the partners of the permanently depressed and they deserve great sympathy. Thank goodness we have our gardens!
Finally, snapshots from around the garden – away from the work of the tree cutters and those who cleaned up: