Damp January Borders
This January has been damp again, like the last few months, and not the best condition to garden in day in day out, but work must carry on as otherwise spring will be upon us and the beds and borders will not be cleared, shrubs and roses pruned, and sheds tidied.
The herbaceous borders are now cleared, and forked over, in readiness for their mulch which we shall put on during march. This is a process which we carry out on all the beds during winter.
First, all the old and dying foliage is removed to the ground, using secateurs or shears depending on the type of plant. This gets put into our petrol driven 3-wheeler truck (which was incidentally a birthday present to Lady Bowman-Shaw many years ago from her husband - and is still going strong!) to be taken away - much more efficient than barrows given the amount of material we remove.
Then we carefully rake over the soil to remove leaves which have collected during autumn, paying careful attention to the base of shrubs and grasses so no hiding places for bugs, slugs and disease remain.
Lastly, the whole bed is 'forked over' which is carried out using the smaller ladies fork or border fork, and lightly aerate the top 3-4 inches of soil - this incorporates the remaining mulch from last year, and exposes any pests and/or their eggs.
I like to make sure that any dips and bumps are removed from the beds at the same time by gently sweeping the fork from side to side after forking over, this gives that professional finish and also breaks down any large clods of earth left - then we stand and admire for a little while - before the bunnies, pheasants and leaves blowing about in the wind start to mess it up again! We will tidy them up quickly before the mulch gets put on though, so nothing is buried underneath.