This week at Charleston I was mainly knee deep in compost. Fiona, the Head Gardener, is determined to have a ready supply of good, well-rotted and most importantly free compost for the garden. Making your own compost is also great for the environment, so I was happy to get stuck in to the task of turning the heap.
There are three compost bins just behind the walled garden at Charleston and our job was to empty two of the bins, chop up any remaining woody bits and replace the lot into one of the bins. Another volunteer will then have the job of turning the remaining bin into the empty bin, thereby leaving the first bin free for new garden waste.
As well as ordinary garden waste, Fiona is incorporating layers of the Parrot Feather pondweed we scooped out of the pond last year. There is a lot of this, and as we turned, we realised that it has not all broken down, but we chopped up what was left and hoped for the best. The compost bins are rather aged, so there was a bit of bodging involved when it came to replacing the slats, some of which no longer fit into the front of the bins, but it was all good fun. And I discovered there is a great view of the house and walled garden from the top of the compost heap, with a moody looking Firle Beacon in the background and the new vegetable garden in the foreground.
On a tea break, I caught a glimpse of the new ducklings running around on the lawn behind the colourful display of tulips and wallflowers. Fiona has put a ramp into the little pond to make sure they can get in and out safely.