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How Composting Changed My Garden Philosophy!

How composting changed my philosophy started with this pile of farmyard manure!
This is the first ingredient!

This is my story

How composting changed my garden philosophy, is a story I wish to tell. Who would have thought that composting changed my garden philosophy, least of all me! When I talk about composting, I talk about it with a passion. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scientific expert but I do know the benefits composting can bring. I have seen it, the transformation of difficult heavy clay soil into a friable free draining soil. The journey began as a student with my mentor Jimmy Hancock, retired head gardener of Powis Castle gardens. The philosophies he shared have become my own too. Why, you might ask, simply because I know they are tried, test and they work.

How composting changed my garden philosophy all started here at Powis Castle Gardens. The view from the castle looking down to the terraces.
Looking down to the top terrace at Powis Castle Gardens

How composting change my garden philosophy on those sizzling summer days

I conducted the process of composting at Powis Castle Gardens. What’s more, by using this compost as a mulch on the garden borders scores of years had created a wonderful soil. The garden terraces are south east facing and during the height of the summer months temperatures could exceed 90°c. Which meant the plants would bake and without adequate moisture they would simply suffer from heat exhaustion and drought conditions. By adding a good layer of mulch, a minimum depth would be 20-25cm, this would keep the moisture in the soil. When it came to those sizzling summer days very few plants would need extra water and succumb to the heat.

How composting changed my garden philosophy as I worked on these double herbaceous borders at Powis Castle gardens. The hot colours are represented in the image.
Main herbaceous borders - hot colours.

The results from mulching were plain to see

The results from mulching were plain to see and certainly transformed certain soils. The mulch functioned as a blanket to trap any water that had fallen during the winter months prior to mulching. This thick layer also is a great weed barrier and prevented any weed seedling from germinating. Other than those within the mulch itself and they were easy to pluck out. The mulch becomes soaked by the rain, the water permeates into the soil and sends nutrition down to the roots. Fertilising as it decays away during the season. With the help of bacteria and fungi our garden plants feel the true benefits of mulching. Your hardy plants will make bigger and stronger root systems to withstand most pests, diseases, and weather conditions.

The Spring border is lush and the plants growing strong in the baking hot sun. Mulching has been the biggest factor the success of the border.
The Spring Border at Powis Castel Gardens
To conclude, how composting changed my garden philosophy

To conclude, mulching can have so many benefits to your garden, the soil and the plants. Let’s get mulching!

Happy gardening, Kristian

Have you subscribed yet? It’s the easiest way to delve deeper on this topic. The following articles in this series will be coming soon and I would hate for you to miss out on this! 

What I wish I Knew About Composting

Making Compost 3 Methods to Success

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