It’s about time for the leaves to be gone. It’s mid Winter with the shortest day of the year approaching. They should be gone by now. The mornings are dark and the evening close in early, an hour earlier in our north-facing garden while I can watch the sun shine for an hour longer on the south-facing ground across the river. The cold falls on the garden in early afternoon and I work the last hour or more of the day in the shadow of the higher land to the south of the garden, a chilling time, a time to be busy, physically active, to keep the body warm. Leaf-raking suits the bill perfectly and I have done plenty of leaf-raking in recent times.
The weather has been dry and I was able – in December! – to run the ride-on lawnmower around the garden to collect leaves this week. The leaves gather naturally at the verges of the beds and borders and I rake them out onto the grass so the mower can take them up – a lot less work that raking the entire garden. The mowing shreds the leaves and makes them more compact for storage and I added eight bags to this year’s store, future leafmould for use as a top dressing in those beds where I grow snowdrops. It is an invaluable material for the garden and worth the effort of collecting the leaves each year.
Ready for the lawnmower:
On other fronts, I have finished the cutting down of the heavy herbaceous material, those bigger plants which have finished for this year and are best cleared away and added to the compost heap. I noticed that the flowers are emerging on hellebores and made a start on those this afternoon. In several places in the garden they are planted as companion plants to snowdrops, their foliage covering the ground when the snowdrops are gone over and these were first to get my attention. It is good to see the snowdrops coming into flower. This last week seems to have had them put on an amazing spurt of growth and there are snouts showing all around the garden, some with the white of the flowers showing and even a few already fully in flower. With so many snowdrops in the garden a good clear up is essential at this time of the year rather than walking in on top of them later.
Elsewhere, a few images from around the garden: