November fruitfulness

last grapesAmazing, I have just eaten a bunch of grapes. Not bad for a wintry and wet November day.   I only found them as I had a mighty pruning of the last of the grapes still hanging tenaciously onto their vines. They were looking unsightly and I suspect keeping alive a hornet population that frankly ought to have gone to ground by now.   For months we have had to watch out for drunken and weaving huge hornets staggering away from the arbour with the biggest sugar rush you can imagine. They only seemed to be at head height or under foot.Pruned grapes

So hopefully now they will understand it really is almost winter and time to bed down.   The leftovers have almost filled the compost bin. And the rest of the space is taken up with fallen apples from the big tree above the lawn. Gravity.   So annoying when you get a huge crop of almost inedible apples every year. And they insist on falling off the too-high-to-pick tree and ending up all over the lawn.

lawn workAnd speaking of lawns. It is raked. It is scarified, it is spiked. It is exhausting and tedious and thank god I am only doing this once a year. What a task.

I think I need to resow in some parts as well, but I will leave that until spring. Let’s see what a winter soak will do to revive it first.

To give my almost blistered hands a rest I crept into the kneelers and gave the shade garden a good seeing to: chestnut burrs and leaves. What a haul. I would normally just leave the leaves and burrs in place;  I am trying to build up the leaf mold in this part of the garden after all.  But what I have discovered is that these chestnuts have a mighty high success rate in germinating under the chestnut trees. And their tenacity is something to be seen to be believed. You have to get both hands on the little seedlings to yank them out.chestnut burrs

cleared shade gardenAnd why clear the leaves? The burrs hide under them. So with my thick gauntlets (washing up gloves)   I cleared buckets and buckets of the brutes. They are all piled up in the potting shed compost heap. Awaiting a good year’s rotting. I have started adding bags of mulberry leaves from the courtayrd to this haul as well. Tis the season for the leaf fall.

leaf cageAnd where are they rotting? In the new leaf cage way down behind the stables. It’s a great walk and tremendous exercise as the bags of leaves aren’t heavy. Perfect tonic to bad backs.

I naturally decided that the leaf cage needed a good mix of leaves to rot well. Goodness knows where these mad ideas come from. Old chef days perhaps.   So in went the cherry leaves on the road down past the house as well. And I will probably do the oak leaves in the forest as well if I ever have any spare time.raking cherry leaves

Another task today was to get the tulips in. All of the little sacks of bulbs that are sulking in the cupboard just needed to be put into the ground.

I have one spare half barrel next to the compost bed. So a perfect spot for yet more garish reds and maroons.   (Perhaps).  And the last of the Mount Tacomas, Spring Greens, Maureens and Shirleys have gone into the gaps under the wisteria bed. Plus dotted around the lilac bed.   That should be fun in spring. Or less fun if the varmints discover them in a hungry moment.  The Blue Tits are already helping me with seed distribution of the Cosmos in the potager. Each time I walk outside a whole whoosh of little birds take off from the last of the summer plants. Perhaps I ought to keep the sunflowers going for them a bit longer next year. planted up tulip barrel