Cut back clematis at front

Ladders adequate, if rather wobbly. I’d rather not rest the top of the ladder against the gutter. This shouldn’t be necessary in the future if I do this cutting back every year. It’s hard to tell which way the stems are growing, so there may be some orphaned stems.


First signs of snowdrop flowers. Small but perfectly formed. There’s scope for lots more, particularly round large herbaceous perennials, like thalictrums, which have now been cut right back.

First frogs seen in pond. A cwtch of three.

Moveable stepping stones

These pieces of plywood of various sizes work well as temporary stepping stones while working in the beds. Their advantages include

  • Less compaction of the soil. My weight is spread over a greater area.
  • Protection of plants and bulbs. The stepping stones can be carefully placed between them.
  • Less mud transferred to the paths. The shoes remain clean.

Looking good today

I got the daisy from a friend. Several years ago I tried to get it out of the pot. I’m glad I couldn’t.


Previous garden

I had five 2′ x 2′ x 2′ bins, a total of 40 cu ft = 1,130 litres. They worked well, and didn’t really take up any space because I could put pots on them. They were made of treated sawn softwood, and lasted about 15 years. Getting rotted compost out was  slightly inconvenient, but made easier because they were on concrete. This is not recommended by the experts, but it never gave me any trouble. I never bothered to turn the compost, just returning anything that hadn’t rotted to the newest bin as I was extracting compost.

New garden

I started with one large and one smaller Dalek-style plastic compost bins in this 1 meter wide gap between the N wall of the house and the boundary fence. They were difficult to use, and not really of sufficient volume. They were both full when I transferred their contents to bags before taking this picture.

I lined the end of the gap with treated boards and added battens so loose boards can be inserted to enclose the open side. Four boards at the front allow compost to be removed from the bottom of the heap without disturbing the boards behind which allow fresh green waste to be added to a height of about 2 meters. There’s a stop to keep the rear stack at the height shown. After returning all the compost from the bags the bin is slightly less than half full, so I’ve more than doubled capacity in less space, and the bin should be much easier to use. Dimensions are .8 x .87 x 1.73 m, so capacity is 1.2 cu m = 1,200 litres. Also the compost should stay warmer and rot better because it’s all in one volume.

There’s nearly 2 meters of paving which will allow compost to be got out without making a mess on the gravel. There will also be much more space for resting pots etc.


All the mahonias I’ve grown have been different. This one goes off like a firework at this time of year