The loneliest mulch pile

This weekend I drove past the community mulch pile on the way back from some home improvement shopping and I noticed a nice big pile of free mulch calling out to me. Yelling actually, shouting "I'm mulch, I'm lonely, and I'm free!"

A short while later I was back at the mulch pile, ready to shovel up some some no-cost organic materials.


This mulch pile is usually busy, with a steady stream of gardeners scooping up the free stuff into pickup trucks, onto trailers, into the trunks of cars, into paper yard waste bags -- I've seen it all.

In the spring that is.

In early February it's a lonely place.

Especially when it's about 22ºF (-5ºC) with a very strong wind. Brrrr! Only the truly dedicated gardeners who craft daily blog posts about their gardening activities were out here today.

In other words I was the only one here, and probably had been the only one all week.

Good thing I remembered to bring the fork along with the snow shovel, as the pile had a frozen layer on top of it.  I had to really do some chopping to get into the warm stuff below.

And warm it was!

If I wasn't already working up a sweat I would have sat down in the warmth and fought back the wind chill a bit.

A car pulled in while I was hard at work -- ah, somebody else equally crazy dedicated? -- nope, just somebody turning around.

Sixty or so shovelfuls and the truck was filled:

There was plenty left for the other gardeners -- but still nobody queuing up.

When I got back home I realized I had a little problem:

The wheelbarrow was still full of firewood from when I had to move it while cutting up the driveway. Easy to get rid of though, and I soon was spreading mulch throughout the back parts of the yard. One thing about the community mulch pile: it's not the highest quality stuff you can get. It's a mixture of lots of different types of trees and shrubs, and I'm pretty sure most of it at this time of year is from the Christmas tree chipping service -- there was a nice piney scent in the air.

So I usually don't use the free stuff in my most visible beds -- for that I'll use a hardwood mulch. This stuff is perfect though for spreading over the mud that surrounds the pond:

It's also fine for the adjacent area, under this dogwood for instance:

I haven't mulched back here for a year or two, and it sure can use it. There were more weeds back here last year than I wanted.

Know what else is back here?

The surprise lilies! They're poking up their foliage a bit early this year, presumably because of the mild winter. A little blanket of mulch will help protect them from the cold that we're getting right now.

They probably don't need it though. Will this be the last cold spell of the year? We'll have to wait and see.

I did go back for two more loads of mulch, the last one on Sunday. Sunday was a few degrees warmer with no wind, so it almost felt like spring (not really).

It didn't look like anybody else had been to the mulch pile either. What are they waiting for, spring?

I can have most of this pile trucked away by then, I'm sure.


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Rock rose  – (February 14, 2012 at 6:57 AM)  

Who could resist such a steamy pile! I would have been shoveling alongside you.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 14, 2012 at 9:51 AM)  

Me too! I wish we had a community mulch pile. I would use way more mulch than I do now.

Poet Whale Studio  – (February 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM)  

Thank you for the wonderful post
"Little Problem" wheelbarrow made me laugh aloud

Catherine  – (February 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM)  

Lovely to meet you through your blog, which is great by the way. My favourite is the pile of steaming, fabulous mulch, I hear ya!

Steve Lau  – (February 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM)  

There's probably a lot more where that came from because they are cutting down trees all the time and chipping them up.

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (February 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM)  

Wow, I wish we had something like that here. I'd so be there too collecting mulch, IF there was any left!

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