10 June 2013

My Compost Heap Frightens Me

close up of contents of compost heap

At the end of the garden lurks an oozing, pulsing heap of darkness.

I try to ignore it. I smile at the innocent little daisies on the lawn, admire the pretty ladybirds, glory in the swifts overhead and am grateful for the beauty all around. But the horrible truth cannot be denied: Decay resides in a far corner. Busy Decay at that.

Edgar Allan Poe missed a trick by not making a compost heap the menacing centre of a short story. Like the portrait in the attic, or the maddening beat of a heart, the compost bin sits, doom laden, forever warning of the end that awaits us all.

I suppose you've got to get to grips with this reality if you are a gardener - a thoughtful, ecologically aware, bit of a depressive kind of gardener anyway. The cycle of life and all that. You put dead plants in, let an Hieronymus Bosch horde of creatures eat it up, then eventually get life-giving compost out at the end. Grim.

slug in compost heap 
A Yellow Slug, Limax flavus (Lt flavus = yellow)

snail in compost heap
White-lipped Snail, Cepaea hortensis (Lt hortensis = garden)