Pablo Cheesecake, Hedge Wizard?

The content of this post is probably not quite as exciting as the title would suggest. Today I want to talk a bit about the joys of gardening.


Astonished wizard unavailable for comment

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been looking for something that would help me decompress. Mentally, I’ve been up and down like a bloody yo-yo. I do read a fair bit but sometimes I’ve struggled with even that. I decided I needed something a bit more physically demanding than picking up my Kindle.

We’re incredibly lucky, our home has a good size back garden so trying to make something of that seemed like a good idea. Madnad has been growing veg for a few years now and the results have been pretty damn good. We have plenty of jars of homemade Marinara sauce and more jam than you can shake a big stick at. The raised beds take up a good chunk of the garden so it was really just the rest of the plot I am keen to do something with.

I’ll insert a disclaimer at this point – I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT GARDENING. At best, I am an enthusiastic idiot who is curious to see if he can grow stuff/bend nature to my will.  With a bit of trial and error, I’m hoping I can create a pleasant space and our garden will help me learn the odd manual skill or two.


The bit of the garden I have become mildly obsessed about is right down at the far end where only some trees currently grow. It’s too shaded for fruit and veg but I dont want to leave it unloved. The plan? a bit of suburban rewilding. Ideally, I want to let this patch of wasted ground do its own thing. Now you could argue I should just leave as is but I see it as a bit of an opportunity. Specifically the chance to grow some indigenous wildflowers to add a bit of colour to offset all the green we currently have. A couple of weeks ago I started off by turning over all the ground using a deadly looking bit of kit called a rotavator.


It’s like a lawnmower on steroids with a really bad attitude. Happily, I did not kill myself or anyone else so that was good.

This leads us nicely onto what I am calling experiment one.

Using Amazon Packaging As A Force For Good

To best prepare the ground for reseeding we figured it made sense to try and hold back the growth of any new weeds and grass. Our low-tech solution? Old Amazon delivery boxes. We removed any packing tape and flattened them all out.  Then we covered the ground with this cosy cardboard patchwork blankie. Another disclaimer here – I should stress that this is many months worth of boxes from all over the place. We’ve been saving them for a while. I won’t want you thinking this is just a weeks worth of deliveries.

Some cardboard yesterday (and you thought this post would be boring. Shame on you)

Hopefully, come Springtime, this ground will be ready for planting. We want to entice as many pollinators into the garden as we can! I would also really like to legitimately be able to use the phrase “a riot of colour” in some future blog post as well.

Right what next? ah yes…

The Great Mulch Experiment of 2021

As I mentioned we have three reasonable sized trees at the end of the garden*, you can see two of them in the photo above, and at this time of year they are shedding their leaves in abundance. That gave my partner in crime another idea for a second experiment. She suggested we have a bash at making our own leaf mulch. My first question was, unsurprisingly, what precisely is mulch?

Mulch (noun)  – material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil.

Ok, I think I can manage that.

Finally, a job I can excel at

Leaves get chucked into bin bags. Bags are poked with holes and contents liberally watered. Contents are left to rot. Simples.

Do I really need to describe this photo? Ok, ok. Some bags of leaves. There, happy now?

Well, that was easier than expected. (There are more bags than this I took this photo halfway through)

Wait, what do you mean “you have to wait a year until it has all successfully mulchified”. Feel free to swing back to the blog in Autumn 2022 for the second half of this experiment –  LeafMulch 2: Mulch-a-palozza.

Additionally, we’ve added leaves directly onto our existing raised beds as well. This will protect some onions and garlic that have already been planted. Keep them warm and snuggly over the Winter.

A raised bed. Crafted single-handedly by Madnad.


What Of The Future?

In 2022 we have a couple of new projects we’d like to kick off.

  • We have a small spot in the middle of the garden where we’d like to add a little paved area. We have bought the bricks so this is definitely going to happen.
  • A brick-built raised bed for strawberries. This will replace the existing buckets. (These first two projects will be fun, I’ve never built anything from bricks before in my puff. How the fuck does cement even work?)
  • Installing a small trellis to encourage our newly planted Virginia Creeper to grow up the side of our extension.
  • Refresh the pond to encourage frogs back into the garden.

Longer-term there are even greater plans afoot

  • A new garden building built from scratch (including solar panels)
  • A brick built BBQ

Will any of these grand schemes come to fruition? Only time will tell.

To round things off, here is a picture of an incredibly colourful leaf I spotted on a blueberry bush the other day. Isn’t nature grand.

Nature, innit

Will I successfully pass Herbology 101 in Professor Sprout’s class and take my first step on the road to Garden Magician? Do I have the capacity to develop green fingers? Will I kill every plant I touch? Just how dangerous are garden tools? Tune in next time to find out!!

Hmm, turns out a had quite a bit to talk about after all. Perhaps the Hedge Wizard should have his own YouTube channel?

*Magnolia, Apple and Pear for the curious amongst you that have made it this far. We have a Plum and Quince as well but they are pretty weedy, to be honest.