Half of gardening is putting things in. Things then tend to grow themselves. Then we cut them down. Very simple, really, for a whole industry of advice giving.

I have now been gardening at Veddw for over 25 years, so I think I can have confidence that what we do generally works. Certainly as far as growing perennials. (Box blight and the miserable looking yews are another story) And one thing I don’t do is fertilise, and another is make compost.

For years now we have been cutting all the plants down, either in the autumn (or winter if we’ve been lolling around too much) or in the spring, and leaving the debris to mulch the plots.

Front garden cutting down S 2 Veddw, Copyright Anne Wareham

Jeff working hard at cutting down the Front Garden. (thanks, Jeff)

In this case it’s Jeff. Sometimes it’s me. And we use hedge trimmers. Or a bladed strimmer.

The initial effect must look very strange to people used to looking at bare soil in winter. Our beds are never bare and they start off, after the cut – in this case at the end of October – looking like this:

Front garden cutting down S, Veddw, Copyright Anne Wareham


It’s quite colourful. It’s exciting too, after seeing it all going over and looking messy. Suddenly it’s all flat, and the hedges, clipped Osmanthus and the rails emerge. Love it.

Most of the rest of the garden gets left until spring, because it’s less in your face and it has more plants in which look good as they decay. The grasses, for example,

Miscanthus flowers,Veddw, Copyright Anne Wareham 063

Miscanthus flowers

but not only them:

Winter foliage, Veddw, copyright Charles Hawes

Nothing like a frost though, to enhance the effect. Copyright Charles Hawes. (you can tell…)

It then all quietly rots down, returning goodness to the soil. Strangely, though it all looks so random, it also acts as a pretty effective weed barrier. Cleavers gets through, but not much else in the way of annual weeds. Or annual seeds. So I don’t get anywhere with plants like Verbena bonariensis or Welsh poppies.

Better, I think, than carting it all off to a compost heap and then bringing it, much depleted, back again.

Never mind you don’t have to turn it!

Anne Xx

Helper and stone eater

Helper and stone eater


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