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TheVillage Gardening

The ‘To Do’ List

Posted on November 30 2015 at 1:09:37 0 comments

Head Gardener and Trainee

Dave Morgan prepares to do his garden chores for winter. . .

If “Organising” and “Gardening” had been two of the subjects on the curriculum when I was at school, I think I would have excelled at one and got a result of nought out of ten for the other, with the comment, “Struggled to achieve a score of zero!”

You see, although I am currently the voluntary County Organiser for Worcestershire for the National Gardens Scheme, I have attained that position through my ability to organise and not through any horticultural acumen! In fact when it comes to gardening, my wife is the real gardener and I’m just the trainee.

Each spring and summer we open our garden three times for the NGS, and a few weeks before that my wife starts two “To Do” lists: one for her – which includes those jobs that she doesn’t really trust me to do (and if I’m honest that’s a very sensible attitude to take), like weeding – and the other is mine, with simple jobs, like sweeping and mowing the grass.

So it is with some relief, when winter sets in, that I think I can put my feet up by the fire and relax. But last week I spotted a winter gardening “To Do” list on the table that had the jobs divided up between us – and my name seemed to appear quite a lot on it!

For instance, I am (apparently) scheduled to cut back any untidy borders (but I am instructed to leave some seedheads for winter interest and for the birds); cut back any newly-planted roses or shrubs to avoid any winter damage through winds rocking them; bubble wrap the greenhouse; protect any frost-susceptible plants by bringing them into the conservatory or fleecing them; and dig over any empty beds so the frost can break up the soil during the winter ready for next year’s planting.

Added to which there is keeping the bird food topped up and breaking up any ice forming on the ponds!

So much for relaxing by the fireside! But it does show how much there is still to be done in the garden during the shorter, colder days of winter.

Mind you, there is one job not on the list because I already know all about it – and that is sweeping up all the leaves from the paths and lawns, and making leaf compost for next year.

Even if you haven’t got a compost bin or area you can do this by filling black plastic bags with leaves, drenching them with water to speed up the decomposition, then tying the bag up, piercing it with lots of holes to allow air in and then leaving it for six to 12 months in a corner of the garden – and the result will be a rich compost for mulching or in digging in next year.

So how come I am so knowledgeable about that? Well, I saw Monty Don do it on Gardener’s World on one of the rare occasions that I didn’t fall asleep during the programme! Thanks Monty!

Meanwhile, it seems I need to don my gardening gloves and get out into the garden and start doing what I’m instructed by the Head Gardener.

Or I could just tear up the “To Do” list, open a bottle of wine and light the fire…


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