Friday, 01 February 2019 19:03

February moan

"Warning" This is a non photo blog. It's a real moan.

Apologies for the gaps between blogs. I have been busy elsewhere but, more relevantly, I have been “garden depressed” for the first time since moving here and creating this garden. Why? During this year the mid and bottom end of my lovely “Kennett” bed, down the left hand side of my garden, was taken over by ground elder, nettles, briars, bindweed and grasses.

Nettles and briars I can (and do) pull out relatively easily though it is eternally boring, needs protective clothing and generally makes me cross when I am doing it, especially since I usually get stung and pricked in the process despite wearing gloves etc. - and they seem to be coming from my next door neighbour’s garden! They take space other plants would like and they disrupt the tending of my other plants by making it generally painful and difficult. The grasses are coming from the surrounding fields, plant themselves very deep, are very invasive and boring to remove.

But it is the bindweed and especially the ground elder that are my true nightmares. OK, if one chooses to be positive, ground elder could be seen as quite attractive, plentiful ground cover and it is edible but it invades the roots of everything and I have plants such as Acers in there that hate root disturbance.

I don’t want it there but it is so hard to remove organically. It spreads underground via white, beansprout-like, roots – like bindweed does. If you even leave a trace of one of these roots when you try to dig them up they will multiply even more.

I blame the Romans

The Monty Python-esque question “What did the Romans ever do for us?” normally results in all sorts of positive answers but few know that they brought ground elder with them as a salad crop. I really wish they hadn't!

Iinitially I thought “if I can’t beat it at least I can eat it”. I tried it. Sayaka, my Japanese ward, and I ate it in salads. It's not great or very interesting but fine. However, she and I simply can’t eat the quantity that has been growing in my garden and there seems to be no market for it at the greengrocers. I need to kill it but without killing my other plants in the same bed. I am loathe to use weed killers but trying to dig it up simply isn’t working and seems to be encouraging it. I am in a tough and negative place.