Before And After: From Compost Heap to New Bed

Stepping Stones front gardenThis morning we both tidied up after yesterday’s work on the Cryptomeria Bed. Jackie also did some planting, and completed her access stepping stones in the front garden with stones dug up yesterday.

My iMac was upgraded yesterday to the latest operating system, rejoicing in the name of El Capitain. One of the improvements was said to be to Photos. Since all my pre-May this year pictures were automatically put into that on the last upgrade, yet I have stubbornly persisted in using iPhoto, I thought perhaps it was time for me to get my head round it. This especially because, rather than search for them in Photos, I took yesterday’s 2014 photos directly from WordPress. This meant that clicking on those images did not increase their size. I trust that this problem will not apply to today’s efforts.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Passing the New Bed on the way to the compost heap with barrow loads of cuttings and leaves, I noticed a minute shield bug sharing a Bishop of Llandaff dahlia with a bumble bee. By the time I fetched my camera both the bee and a Small White butterfly had moved on, leaving the field to the little creature.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff 2

A close-up gave me an insight into what had inspired Disney’s Illustrators of Jiminy Cricket.

The New Bed did not exist when we came to Downton. Its development forms the next section of the Garden Album.

Wall round compost stage 1

On 31st July 2014, Jackie began transporting concrete slabs I had dug out of the projected rose garden, to form a retaining wall for the one compost heap.

Compost wall

She continued this the next day. (‘Not Two Peoples’ 1.8.14)

Primulas ready for planting

By 9th March 2015, we had decided to move the compost and convert the heap, which had been left by our predecessors, into The New Bed. The earth you see in this picture is the result of hours of sifting out all kinds of non-biodegradable rubbish. In the right background lies the back of the log pile

South corner of garden

seen to greater effect in this photograph taken the next day,

Heligan path

and that of The Heligan Path two days later. (An Opened Garden12.3.15)

New Bed

Today The New Bed basks in the autumn sunshine.Once a log pile

A tiny bed lies to the left of the small gravel path leading to the dead tree. The stepping stones in the background offer access to more plants. All this once held the logs.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred fish cakes, Jackie’ s piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), and her melange of onions, peppers, and tomatoes. We both drank Kumala pinotage rose 2015.


  1. Is that Jackie’s new gardening shed in the background of the big photo Derrick? It is amazing to me that all this work has been done in one summer! So much of the garden looks like it has been in place for many years!!

      1. Quite a bit of space! I have about…nil…in “close-in” Portland! But have lived in the country and loved it.Looks like you have the best of the lot. And I do wonder about the French terraced house you mention as I haven’t a clue what that is, despite a fascination wtih architecture!

  2. Building a garden can go on for quite some time and be very satisfying. You and Jackie have done some amazing things with your space. I also admired your French house greatly!

  3. Derrick, what an amazing garden and I loved the photo of Jiminy Cricket. Red is my favourite colour and while we were away I could just dissolve inside my brother-in-law’s spectacular hippeastrums. My favourite had huge red flowers and were so beautiful.
    Unfortunately, our own garden scene is rather dismal. I don’t think the Summer heat is going to do us any favours either. That said, I am planning to create a new garden bed out the front based on some lavendar plants. We’ll see. Too hot to even consider digging at the moment and even bathing the very resistant Bilbo is looking good. Hope you have a great weekend xx Rowena

    1. Thank you, Rowena. I can probably imagine the heat because we arrived in Perth at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning 2007 when in was 42% in Perth. Sam’s in-laws roses were all burnt. Good weekend to you too.

      1. Perth definitely knows the heat. I lived on the West Coast for about 18 months and spent about 8 months in Geraldton further North. There was one covered car park and I used to do battle with a bloke for it and we were getting there earlier and earlier. You’d close your house up before work and open it up to let the Fremantle Doctor blow through when you got home. You needed it. I was staying with my aunt in Perth once and a candle bent right over.
        Arriving into that sort of heat from a Northern Winter would have been a cruel shock.

  4. Bravo on braving the upgrade. I always dread an “upgrade”. Wonderful tour of the garden. LOVE the Jiminy Cricket photo. I’m busy putting gardens to bed here – and hope to get them done by the time the snow flies. Which might not happen as yesterdays rain was suspiciously heavy.

  5. What stamina and persistence you two have! But, what results. Beautiful and impressive, Derrick.

  6. This was another great gardening post with new bed of flowers with a lovely stone wall. Is this what some people might call a “raised bed?”

  7. Our crickets here are mainly black, so liked this pretty green one. We consider crickets in the house a lucky charm. We have green grasshoppers I like here, although when we were growing up they would “spit tobacco” on our hands. Now, being older and “wiser” (ha ha) I know the bugs were going to bathroom. Do you have also a book called “A Cricket on the Hearth?” I wondered if it were just one I saw here and not widely published, Derrick. Take care and don’t overdue your gardening, my friend.

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