Glory's Garden

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Composting like Mother Nature

I started the weekend picking blackberries just a tiny way down the road from my house. Got me nearly a pint and nary a thorn. Then I did some intense weeding of a highly neglected shrub border. Man, was it hot out there!  But it finally looks human again, the garden I mean, if a garden can look human??? Anyway, it was a daunting task just pulling them out but what about the hauling away to the compost pile?

I knew my back couldn’t take that. Then I recalled a garden show I saw many moons ago. An elderly woman, well into her 70's and active as they come, went about deadheading her flowers. Nothing weird there, right? Well, one thing this woman did stuck me as rather odd. She said she didn’t compost as other gardeners did. She didn’t have a compost pile in which she places all garden waste. Instead she simply let the trimmings from deadheading her flower, drop to the ground to decompose where they lay. Layer composting, she called it. She said it was how Mother Nature did it so why would she think she could improve on the master gardener herself?

Intriguing concept, I thought at the time, but I never put it to practice. Who would want bits of dead plant material in their formal gardens, in perennial beds and around nice shrub borders?  It just didn’t seem the right thing to practice. Never, that is, until I thought about the prospect of all that work awaiting me and my hurting back. Right then I decided to try it her way–or rather, Mother Nature’s way. And don’t you know, it worked out well. That particular flower bed had always been too low and therefore always too wet. It needed to be built up anyway and what easier and better way than to compost right there?

Lesson learned: Sometimes we just gotta forget all we’ve learned and simply mimic nature.

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