After several hours collecting fallen leaves we found time to get onto the borders and start cutting back the withered annuals and perennials. Plant supports we hadn’t seen for six months were removed and lined up on the lawn. We leave our dahlias in the ground, with their positions well marked so that they can benefit from an extra thick layer of mulch.
Working at ground level we discovered a secret world of vole runs, abandoned mouse nests, a toad, and self sown perennials. Weeds that had gone unnoticed were taking advantage of dense cover and sending out runners to colonise new areas.
Hidden in the undergrowth we went unseen by our local pheasant who passed by within a few feet before spotting us and launching himself over the wall with a clatter of wings and a disgruntled call. The sheer volume of material removed from the borders soon overwhelmed the compost heaps and a temporary home was found on the adjacent hardstanding. In a few weeks time we’ll start to spread the compost on the beds freeing up space so that the whole process can start once again.