Clearing & Composting

I’ve spent the past two mornings at work on the north side of the house cleaning the shady beds along the gravel stairway. This side of the house features the hellebores, hostas (dormant), dicentra/bleeding hearts, the half barrels with their varieties of poppies, rhubarb, etc., hundreds of muscari, ferns, barberry bushes, many plants I do not know names of, and eight large ornamental grass plants. Here’s what the area looked like a few weeks ago — quite a mess:


Today Hubby helped me give crewcuts to all of the ornamental grasses. As we lifted and snipped armloads of sharp grasses, we uncovered bulbs that were yearning for air and sun. The whole area looks tons better now.

In the last golden rays of sun yesterday, I raked for over an hour, collecting leaves and twigs still hiding out in some beds and underneath the more foresty areas of the gardens. Son helped me cart 8 huge piles of leaves and debris to the compost heap today. That is a lot of work, but there is more still to be cleaned up!

Speaking of compost, this is the first time I’ve had more than one large plastic composter at work making black gold! We need plenty of black gold to keep our 20 raised beds filled and to enrich the soil around all these lovely plants. Here at Coppertop we are fortunate to have an assortment of nice wormy piles, the main area being three rounded piles down below our pond which we intend to turn over weekly. Because the land is large and gardening tasks are so spread out, we have another compost pile uphill across the driveway from the house, and a big plastic tumbler-type composter at the side of the garage for kitchen trash and leaves. Many options! Our intent is to burn very few things, mainly tree limbs, anything that looks diseased, and thorny clippings.

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