Carpe Diem

With the crazy fluctuations in weather we are having this Winter it is easy to decide it’s just not worth trying to get any garden work done. For me that means spending way too much time sitting looking out at the garden and fretting! The daylight hours are definitely starting to stretch, but sometime it is hard to see the improvement because of the rainclouds overhead.

Yesterday began as such a day, but before I had finished my breakfast the rain and clouds had vanished and the sun had made a welcome appearance. Determined to get out in the fresh air I donned the gardening gear and set out to do some cutting back. My main target was my Tree Peony as Monty Don had said this was the time to prune it. I had also seen an excellent YouTube video demonstrating in detail how to do this job, Unfortunately, when I approached the shrub I couldn’t remember all the excellent tips so I decided to leave that job until I rewatched the video! Such changes of direction are a real feature of my winter gardening! Since I was in the front garden with secateurs and loppers to hand, it seemed the right time to tackle the Buddha Garden border which was looking very tatty !

A big clean-up on the Buddha Garden main border! Still have to trim the Box Hedging!

This border contains one of the pollarded Salix Alba Chermesina (a pretty red-stemmed Willow) which hadn’t got cut back last year and so was disappointing this winter with much fewer new stems to colour up! As usual I forgot to take a “before” picture but I hadn’t really intended to tackle that job. The plan was just to cut back the herbaceous stuff including the Thalictrums which are spreading nicely but do not die back prettily! As I was removing the stray Japanes Anemone seedlings that were threatening to engulf the entire border I moved closer to the Willow, and just trimmed off the lowest branches that were getting in my way. Of course, once I started trimming it I just kept going! The sunshine was so encouraging after a couple of dull days, and I was well wrapped up so the time flew and before I knew it the job was done! When these Salix were first planted I used to coppice them to the ground, but one of the original ones died so I took a different approach with the two survivors, twining several stems together to make a more interesting shape when they are cut back and so far this is working!

Job done!

Just as I was transporting the prunings to the yard for shredding the sky darkened and the rain drove me indoors but not before I captured the work done, and also took a picture of the second Willow yet to be pollarded and of course the lovely blue sky!

Salix Alba Chermesina is pretty in Winter

So with a great deal of satisfaction I scurried indoors before the heavens opened on me. I decided this year not to shred the willow trimmings and have started stacking them behind the leaf-mould in the composting area but I think I might try out my new shredder on these pieces. If they can be shredded properly they make a great mulch! But that is a task for another day!

Willow is a great test for any shredder!

The taks of shredding so much willow is one I dread each year but the new shredder is much eaiser to work having a design that allows both soft material and tought branches to be shredded well! Now today is not sunny, but I wonder will the rain stay off for a while so I can try out my new toy?

Well, the rain stayed off, and the new shredder lived up to my expectations – 40 minutes turned the pile of willow into this useful mulch!

2 thoughts on “Carpe Diem

  1. Joan Gallagher

    Great job done Hazel. The winter stems on your willow are gorgeous, especially against the blue sky and the shredder did a super job, so no wonder you are pleased with it. I also managed a couple of jobs yesterday, removing the last flowering stems on the roses as they were looking too leggy and pruning a fuchsia so the Hamamelis behind it could show off its new flowers. Not as industrious as you though but it was great to be out there.


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