Spring bulbs are making their presence known; the Crocus cultivars are in flower on the west slope from Inverleith House and at the east gate. Groups of Narcissus bugei from Spain and Scilla mischtschenkoana from Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus in the demonstration garden and alpine area. Miniature Narcissus cyclamineus, Leucojum and Iris in the Rock garden.
The arrival of warmer weather also heralds the appearance of the green cotyledons of germinating weed seeds. Now is the time to spread material from the compost heap as mulch over cultivated soil to smother these before flowering stage is reached and a potential further generation of seed is produced.
The diamond geezer of organic matter is leaf mould. In the Garden we collect the leaf fall from the previous autumn; store and by turning regularly produce crumbly, friable leaf mould. This is returned to cultivated areas of the Garden as mulch increasing the humus content of the soil.
The image illustrates the different rate of breakdown of the softer cellulose tissue compared to the lignin within the leaf. Deciduous leaves decompose faster than the more leathery resilience of the evergreen species. All will make ideal feedstock for the leaf heap. Check around border edges where leaves congregate over winter and rake out to allow grass to recover.