A Chocolate Fountain Was An Unsuitable Substitute For The Font..

It was a wonderful weekend for gardening: bright, windless and not too cold.

I began the process of cutting down everything in my borders prior to mulching and the rather wonderful couple of months before everything explodes into green. I also mulched a corner with our own compost. It has taken a few years to get the process right but now it is wonderful, crumbly brown stuff (the only fly in the ointment being those little stickers that get stuck on every single apple – they do not compost). Usually I cut everything down and stash it in the barn where it eventually gets chipped and composted. One of the problems has been that it gets too dry (because it is undercover) but I sorted that by installing a sprinkler system. That may seem a bit like overkill but it has been well worth the small amount of trouble. The other handy tip on compost is that the stems of most grasses tends to clog up the shredder so I tend to burn it and then add the ash to the heap – it burns very quickly and with a satisfying whoosh.

It was very cold this morning. I spent the day pootling around a garden we are making in Gloucestershire. It started about two years ago and there is only one more phase to complete – which is a mixed moment. Satisfying that the garden will soon be complete but sad that the job is nearly over. Today we felled an avenue of young poplars (the picture below- it will come as no surprise to the observant – is post chainsaw) they were okay but were definitely the wrong tree for that place. At the moment they are 15’ high but in ten years they would be nearer to 50’ and pretty unmanageable so I have made the decision to replace them with an avenue of pleached limes – and what limes they are; 1.9m tall stems and great framework (the glamourously clad model in the photograph is Sue Williamson from Readyhedge). The limes will run along both sides with a tightly clipped yew hedge just in front of them. The yews will come across the end of the run with a large stone bench looking back towards the garden.

On the way back I dropped some complicated drawings in on the delightful Alison Heitmann (MSGD, no less!). She is, for want of a more flattering description, my design assistant and I have dumped the sketches and surveys of an almost vertical garden in France on her drawing board. It is a very beautiful site – great views across wooded valleys and with a picturesque village perched on the facing hill. However, to enjoy such things you have to suffer! the house is being built on the side of a very steep hill and getting the garden to work is simple in theory but a bit trickier to illustrate. Still we will get there in the end.

Back here Steve is steadily getting on with the new decked jetty by the back door – pictures will follow. I am listening to Radio 4 and the picture is of winter sunset in New York (taken from the back of a speeding car).