Blackpitts, the garden we made at our previous house, was very special but what it lacked was trees. The place was surrounded by woods full of whopping great ash trees but within the garden there were no big trees. I planted some very lovely Malus transitoria (a wide spreading crab apple with miniature fruit about the size of a shirt button – rubbish if you were looking for something from which to make jam) a few years ago but they are just minnows.
While we wait for our next house to grind its way through the cogs and rollers required by solicitors, planners and builders we are ensconced in a slightly damp cottage with a garden the size of a postage stamp. Admittedly a large commemorative postage stamp rather than a space saving definitive stamp but still small. A lawn, a narrow bed and a bit of gravel with some pots – not really what we have been used to for the last twenty odd years. But, in an effort to keep myself aired and amused I have, as stated above found a new amusement. Something that was never afforded to me in our previous garden- I have been raking up leaves.
There is, next door to the cottage, a pair of striking horse chestnut trees each of which carries, as a rough estimate, eleventy zillion leaves. I have decided that my mission will be to rake up all of them. This task began yesterday when I spent a blissful (and creative) couple of hours raking. To be completely accurate it was mostly a matter of raking up conkers (see last week’s blog) as most of the leaves are hanging in there, awaiting their moment but I made a very satisfactory snake of debris and carted it off to begin the journey towards decomposition.
Those of you who have mature trees in your garden will sneer at my maidenly enthusiasm for what is undoubtedly as Sisyphean task. “Just you wait” you cry with the experience of years “until the frost comes and there are not just a few barrow loads of leaves but truckloads. Just you wait until the wind gusts and you have to rake the same leaf pile seven times. Just you wait until the leaves are cold and wet. Just you wait until your back is sore from repetitive raking. Just you wait…”
“Yeah, yeah…” I reply as, quite frankly, I am bored of your continuous whinging so have stopped listening.
I know that leaf raking is tedious. I know that it is a thankless task but to a man without a garden it is at least something.