BlueWisteria.co.uk for down to earth gardening information.
Sweeping Autunm Leaves.
No more excuses. Find out what needs to be done this month to keep your garden neat and tidy.
Specific Gardening tasks.
Find out how to make the finest garden compost using the minimum of effort and money. This article remains pretty much in its original form as it appeared in 1998 apart from the gradual addition of photos. Moriati not only invented this method of composting, he is also responsible for the now common term 'Green Dalek'.
Edges of the lawn can make or break the beauty of your garden. Learn how to make nice edges to your lawn in this step-by-step guide.
Don't you just love them. One minute they look lovely on the trees, next they are all over the garden. The only easy way to deal with this is to pay someone else to do it, but why do so many folks insist on making the task as hard as possible for themselves? Get clued up.
Wisteria is one of those plants that when grown well is a classical show stopper, but in the wrong hands can stubbornly refuse to flower.
Hydrangea plants require complex pruning once a year if they are to be a real asset to the garden. Step-by-step guide with photos.
Tools of the Trade.
Caring for Lawns.
Caring for Hedges.
Purpose of the task
This is one gardening job that hardly anyone enjoys. It has to be done at a time of the year when the weather is often cold and damp, and the daylight hours are short.
It is often said, "Why not just leave them till there's a big pile? More will come down tomorrow".
This attitude does not create and maintain a nice garden, and is the product of modern times where the car has to be spotlessly clean inside and out even if there is no oil in the engine, and once beautiful English gardens are allowed to deteriorate to the standard of an American back yard.
Leaves lying on the grass not only look untidy, they spoil what should be a beautiful lawn. Underneath each leaf it is dark, warm and wet. No good for grass, but perfect for moss. Once blown into piles by the wind, the leaves quickly become soggy, heavy and unpleasant to handle, so gather them up quickly, preferably every week.
The table above shows the tools that I use, but petrol blowers are expensive and brushes and lawn rakes still work, if a bit slower. As always, the Robin will never be able to resist helping out.
At this point, you may be wondering why I"ve taken the trouble to produce a tutorial about such a simple job? You see the task as simple. It is simple, yet all around me, I see people making extremely hard work of it, hence this page
First of all, falling leaves coincide with firework celebrations. Before starting to rake or sweep, walk over the lawn and remove any spent fireworks and dispose of them safely. These should not go in the compost heap.
The next step is to decide where to start, and which direction to sweep in. Try to avoid windy days but if there is no choice, work with the winds direction. The wind will always win.
Traverse left and right, moving the accumulating leaves forward in the chosen direction. The most important step now is the one most often missed out.
As the volume of leaves start to build up, it is vital to gather them up and remove them from the lawn. Do not try to sweep or blow them all the way from one end of the garden to the other. This is both tedious and time consuming.
Sweep, walking forwards, raking from left to right on one pass, then turn round and walk forward in the opposite direction sweeping from right to left. Doing it like this achieves two things.
- Both arms will drop off at the same time.
- You can see what unpleasantness you are about to stand on.
Really. that is all there is to it. Continue in hops. rake a while then gather up the accumulating pile before progressing further.
In recent years I have noticed a habit developing, where the sweeper walks straight over to where the leaves are lying at their thickest, and commences sweeping them across the lawn to the clearest part. "Is this some pagan ritual I've not heard about, or are modern gardeners just stupid?"
It is a stupid thing to do, you know it is a stupid thing to do, but you will still ignore my wisdom and tire yourself out needlessly.
If possible, sweep from the clearest part towards the worst part. If the wind denies you that choice, at least, clear them off site as soon as there is a sufficient quantity to fill the container.
All those leaves have to be disposed of, and this is another reason why so many folks are reluctant to make a start with this task. The disorganized gardener is always caught off guard by the sudden change in the season and the lack of daylight hours, and they have nowhere to put the rubbish.
Leaves make wonderful compost and I have covered the subject of compost and compost heaps elsewhere in this section.