For the past couple of weeks, an hour here, an hour there, I’ve been literally laying the groundwork for a walking path from my future parking court — a gravel square approximately 25′ x 25′, yet to be built — to the front door.
My plan is to replace the straight-ahead dirt driveway with a gradual, curving, S-shaped path of cut flagstone. And since the path will be only 4′ wide, and the existing driveway is roughly 10′ wide, that leaves lots of room on either side for generous planting beds.
Because there was nothing but compacted, sandy dirt where I hope to grow a variety of cottage garden perennials next spring, I’ve been moving leaf mold — chopped leaves piled in the woods behind my house by the tree man who recently took down several large oaks — wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow (and then, when the wheelbarrow’s axle broke, by garbage can on hand truck) from the pile in the woods to the front of the property, where I’m using the partially decomposed leaf mold to sculpt curvaceous new beds. Essentially, I’m composing on the spot.
I was inspired by an article in an organic gardening magazine that said if you pile chopped leaves and other organic matter in fall and let it break down over the winter, come spring — voila! Lovely planting medium.
I’ve run out of chopped leaves, and am now using whole fallen leaves, less desirable because they take longer to decompose. While my neighbors rake their leaves to the roadside for the town to pick up, I’m hoarding mine (and coveting theirs) to add to my newly sculpted beds-to-be.