Picture above, Pieris 'Forest Flame'
This weekend, which turned out better than expected after early rain on Saturday morning, was spent in the garden, in the shops, watching the occasional game of football on the TV and mucking about with compost. Yes you heard it here - compost!
'Television? Television is for being on dear boy, not watching.' Noel Coward.
Prior to our local authority providing a brown bin for compost, I used to make my own in a black bin in the garden made for the purpose. I emptied it on Sunday morning and got three barrow loads full of great looking stuff to spread onto the borders and to fork in among the sprouting hostas and begonias as well as for the benefit of some perennials and bedding plants which will arrive later. I will still use the bin for the benefit of my own garden because I'm not sure I want compost from someone elses garden returned by the local authority from wherever it is they take it and compost it.
The success of good composting? I'm not an expert at all, but my personal success is simple: kitchen waste, uncooked of course - all the peelings and wasted green food or vegetables out of the fridge and cupboards that we don't use in time. On top of that, a layer of grass clippings (with no weed and feed in it) then more kitchen waste, then cardboard egg boxes and then a layer of barley that I buy in a bale. After a while, I turn it and mix it and then start again with the layers and believe me, despite all that rotting material, there's no smell other than that of fresh earth. There is enough moisture in the veg and grass so I don't water it.
I lift the lid and its full of insects and worms all doing their bit to compost the material down into a gorgeous friable brown 'stuff' which I simply fork in. I suppose the experts would say it should be forked in in November to winter over and let the frost get to it - but I just do it when I get round to it.
Following my dismal failure to pick the Grand National winners (one fell and other pulled up), I'll stick to losing my money on the National Lottery which again was a spectacular non event for me this weekend and after I specifically asked the assistant in Sainsburys to give me a winner.
Lord Amherst, an army officer as far back as the eighteenth century said, "There are three ways of losing money: racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain."