A new broom sweeps clean

A day of blazing sunshine; that cold north wind has swept away the clouds.

I am in an awful lot of fleecy layers, gloves and hat, but getting a nice winter tan at the same time.   And it’s not wind burn, honest. Only 6 Celsius, but hot enough for my day’s activity.

Oh, would that be chipping and making mulch by any chance? Indeed. I am a creature of habit this winter.   And have now started collecting sticks and dried cistus (broom) for chipping the plum garden bank.

I’ve already put in over two hours of chipping work to cover up the last of the soft fruit orchard, and a bit of the shade garden. More to go there.

This is a part of the property I have never photographed before. Mainly because it was a thicket.   If you stand on the terrace of our farmhouse and look down the lower terraces and crane your head far right, that’s where we are.

It’s an oak forest, with some self sown cherries and chestnuts on the edge.

And brambles and broom. But there has been a big clearing project going on (not by me, I just loot the branches) and at long last you can see all the way through to the oak forest below.

The broom has grown into shrubs that are easily five feet high, and the brambles just do their thing of colonising everywhere you tread.

But a few good hours of strimming will finally get them under control.

And I have a use for the broom.   Andrew told me that if you cut it and let it dry, it’s an excellent mulch.   So down we went (Artur following like a puppy today – so gratifying) and I hauled up loads and loads of the stuff which had been cut and left in August.

I’ve done one chipping load, and have more to go.

Sadly my chipper blades are getting blunt from this excessive season, so things aren’t flowing smoothly through, but the broom is exciting.

It gets swallowed into the maw at a steady pace, (scenes of the film Fargo will come to Sarah’s mind) and then rushes through when the branches catch.   I’m learning to keep a light hold on the top and stay well out of the way.


A few hours later and I’m almost there. I have finished the shade garden and am almost done with the plum garden bank. Do I always say that? I suspect so.

Bu there is that delicious feeling that if I get all the mulch down then I can ignore these parts of the garden for about a year. Barring moles digging up through the rich soil and disturbing the layers.   That’s bound to happen.

This absurdly bright picture was taken in that setting winter sun. And broom plant is up by the road, and always spared the chop as it’s so big now it needs a chainsaw.   And Madame does not do chainsaws.

Now where’s my beer?