It is an Enduring Mystery to Me…

… why I can spend so much time and effort digging organic matter into the soil in my veg plot, fretting about nutrient balance and nitrogen deficiency and other things and end up with the same clay-clodden stone-ridden compacted soil as I started with, whereas two and a half years of not very effective weeding of my cobbles seems to have resulted in about an inch of wonderfully crumbly loam generated apparently out of thin air, albeit with the addition of much moss, rain, fallen leaves, weeds and undoubtedly swallow poo.

This summer’s project could roughly be summed up as ‘find the cobbles’ with a side order of ‘where’s the gravel drive gone?’ while we’re at it. While, logically, it would undoubtedly have been less work to have kept on top of the weeding before it got to this stage, I find that psychologically it’s actually easier to let something like this get completely out of hand and then turn restoring it back to the bare stone into a project. It’s just more satisfying to see a completely finished bit emerge from the weeds around it than to see a fairly weed free but not perfect expanse of cobbles every day. I know. It was the same when I worked in IT – who ever wanted to do maintenance? So much more fun to chuck it all out and write something shiny and new from scratch.

Ideally, I should now be carefully interplanting the gaps between the stones with a mixture of creeping thyme and chamomile that would keep the worst of the weeds at bay while producing a wonderfully fragrant carpet underfoot rather than letting it all go back to weeds again

I’ll leave it to you to guess which of these alternatives actually happens.

By the way, the little hole in the cobbles above is another mystery to me. I can’t tell if it was a natural formation in the stone or whether something might have caused it to wear a dent in just such a place. Any ideas?

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13 Responses to It is an Enduring Mystery to Me…

  1. Kim says:

    Och, weell just sow the seeds between the sets… 😉

  2. Kim says:

    As for the round shaped dent, that probably the bottom of the hole they drilled for the blasting charge, when they quarried the setts.

  3. Ragged Thread says:

    I adore mosses – even grow them in shallow dishes and encourage them around the place generally – can you get some from other places or where blackbirds have ripped them off roofs and thrown them down on to the path? And PS I too have habit of letting things get bad enough that attacking them comes off like a major victory. As for the hole, Kim prob got it unless it was filled with a lighter stone which wore away?

  4. Lec says:

    Isn’t it a fairy bath?

  5. disgruntled says:

    RT – I like moss too and if it had just stuck with moss I’d have left it but the moss then provides a footing for other weeds. Given the state of everything else around here, there will be no problem getting the moss to grow back. Even rolling stones…

    Lec – clearly you are a far more romantic soul than my other readers.

  6. WOL says:

    I see you are familiar with the concept of “critical mess” — the point beyond which the mess becomes intolerable and gets sorted.

  7. disgruntled says:

    Oh we’re quite capable of sailing past that point

  8. […] okay, daisies aren’t really weeds. But they are a sign that we need to step up the cobble clearing. Now that they think they may actually finish painting the Forth Bridge, may I humbly suggest […]

  9. rachel brennan says:

    We have just so nearly finished clearing our cobbles from moss. Our roofer suggested we put in a mix of sharp sand and cement, three parts to one, in the grooves. We were thinking of doing only sharp sand. We’re not keen on thyme and camomile. We would like to keep them weedfree for a number of years at least. Any suggestions?

  10. disgruntled says:

    Don’t know about a number of years, but the bit of the cobbles where a pile of sand had been left is noticeably less weedy…

  11. […] summer, what with one thing and another, we never really got on top of the whole cobble weeding thing. Despite the odd feeble attempt from me and the other half occasionally tackling the job whenever […]

  12. […] cleared cobbles are being planted with creeping thyme, something I first mooted three years ago, bought the seeds for a year ago, and am now actually getting round to doing, which is about normal […]

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