As the last of the leaves flutter to the ground, the gardening year comes to an end. Very little will still flower after the first hard frost, and in my garden I just have a few solitary Schizostylis still going strong. It won’t be long before the camellias start opening their fat buds, and the witch hazels also, but there is a definite gap around the shortest day.
This is the start of the Big Winter Clear-up. Firstly the fallen leaves, which find their way into every nook and cranny. Then the Crocosmia foliage is to be pulled off before it gets too brown and mushy. Many of the perennials can still add structure and seed heads to the winter garden, so I always prioritise those that look at their worst, and leave the prettier ones ’til the spring.
Once the autumn vegetation is cleared, I can then see the structure of the garden more clearly, and it will give me a chance to check all the edges of the paths and borders. Many are edged with logs which have rotted, so will need renewing.
I am creating some new paths as well, along desire lines, which are the routes that one wants to take around a garden. They should be the basis of any good garden design, as there is little point in placing paths where no-one wants to walk.
There was a definite need for a path across this flower bed, and we were taking short-cuts last winter without a path. I have finally completed a new, levelled path, connecting an existing path with the large lawn, and a route which heads down the garden.
The whole thing is made with an assortment of stones that I have found while digging the garden. There were a lot of flattish oval shaped stones, and they have been half-buried on end along the front to create an edge. Then the body of the path was laid in a crazy-paving style using all sorts of shapes of thin, flat stones. To finish off, it is topped with a dressing of gravel which will work its way into the cracks and help to prevent the stones shifting.
When I have tackled the border beyond the path, it might be nice to build a little retaining wall for that border, but I have had quite enough of working with stones for the time being!