Almost all the main garden work here at Cwm Weeg is done in about 6 weeks in mid-winter by our gang of three: Tom Hill, Wolfgang Schaefer and Kingsley George. Some time between Christmas and the end of February, all the borders are cut back to the ground using a heavy duty brush cutter (Tom Hill), the debris is raked off and transported to the compost area (Tom, Wolfgang & Kingsley) and with the aid of front loader, quad bike and tipping trailer, Tom carts the mulch (digestate) to the various parts of the garden. Kingsley then rakes the digestate into wheelbarrows, Tom wheels it and tips it onto the border and finally I (Wolfgang) rake it to obtain an even covering of about 2 to 3 inches.
In that way we manage to spread up to 100 wheelbarrow loads a day, using almost 10 large lorry loads of digestate over the season.
The digestate helps to suppress all new weed growth throughout the summer but the established border perennials don't seem to have any trouble breaking through the mulch again in spring. We tend not to cover evergreens and those plants more sensitive to fresh digestate such as some new leaves of Alliums and Ajugas.
That way we manage to garden for the rest of the year without additional help, Wolfgang doing propagation, planting and border maintenance and Kingsley mowing the lawns and keeping the lawn edges sharp.
The Digestate is sourced from a bio-methane / electricity plant (Geraint and Lloyd Powell, Glanmiheli Farm, Kerry), the tipping trailer was fabricated by Powell James, Cwm Mule, Dolfor. Another essential requirement for this winter work are heavy duty re-cycled plastic ground protection mats, which allow us to drive over the lawns with quad bike and trailer without any damage.
Tom Strimming the Great Lawn Border, front third already finished with mulch. Note the access via ground protection mats.
Same border fully mulched, note the minimal colour marking of the lawn where the ground mats were left for 10 days. This becomes completely invisible after a couple of weeks.
Same border in summer
Another view on same border, early July
Tom with Quad and Trailer on Archery Lawn, lt side almost finished, rt. still to be done.
Kingsley filling wheelbarrow
Wolfgang raking the digestate
Same border in summer
freshly mulched area below Pavillion
same view in summer
another day, another border - Blue & White Border, Kingsley filling wheelbarrow
Blue & White Border, Tom bringing digestate
Same view as above, in June