Country & Garden: Weekend Work - Nymphs in pink tights

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The Independent Culture
FEW PEOPLE have bonfires of leaves any more, I am glad to say. But, although leaves can be put on the compost heap, it is worth considering raking them up and putting them into a double thickness plastic bin-liner, tying the top up tightly, and keeping the bag in a shady, out of the way place for a couple of years. By then, the leaves will have rotted down into delicious leaf mould which makes an excellent planting mixture of mulch for woodland plants.

Anyone lucky enough to own a walnut tree will find it unlikely that the outer coats will be shed before the nut hits the ground. You will therefore have to remove them by hand (a messy, finger-staining business) and leave the nuts somewhere airy under cover, to dry out before they are stored.

Once the leaves have fallen from deciduous ornamental shrubs and fruit brushes, you can take hardwood cuttings.

The growth of exuberant water and marginal plants has finally slowed down, so now is the right moment to cut them back.




THERE HAS been an upsurge of interest in recent years in the intricate formal gardens of earlier times, especially the knot garden and its grander successor, the parterre. Elaborate historical reconstructions have been carried out, at, for example, Hatfield House. Just published is a book on the subject, Knot Gardens and Parterres: a History of the Knot Garden and How to Make One Today, which should be required reading for anyone thinking of attempting such a thing in their own garden.

The book is published by Barn Elms at pounds 25