With having such a larger garden now, I find my attention flitting from one part of it to another. A few weeks ago, I was working on chipping the large shrubs and small trees that been cut down because they were growing in all the wrong places, there’s still a large pile to get rid of, but I stopped doing that and moved on to making up the large clematis planters for the front, then on to re-arranging the patio pots, then sowing seeds before going back to chipping and so on. It’s the horticultural equivalent of spinning plates.
Lately, my mind has been on the north side access from the front to the back and a small corner border set into the patio by the dining room, both filled with invasive carex grass, stumps and weeds. They were highly visible and highly irritating, a reminder that I haven’t “fixed” it yet. Luckily all it took was a small window of benevolent weather and the full searing glare of my attention immediately focussed on it like the Eye of Sauron (Lord of the Rings) and before the day was done, both “issues” had been addressed.
The little border by the dining room was so stuffed full of carex grass that only the mattock was able to loosen it sufficiently for the spade to lift it out. The hoe, lawn edger and saw were all useless.
The grass had grown unchecked for a long time and developed a thick mass of tangled roots; luckily the border was surrounded by house walls and patio concrete. There were also plant labels for a Dutch Honeysuckle (long since dead) and for others that couldn’t be read as they had faded.
After working through anger management issues with the mattock, the border was cleared. It should be noted that the mattock inexplicably missed hitting the walls and the patio doors throughout this exercise.
The top layer of soil was sieved to remove roots that could have re-sprouted, a final rake-over and level and the job is done. This border is on contested ground as I have plans to place a conservatory over this section of the patio and this border would end up on the inside, otherwise it would be the perfect place to start a new wisteria, climbing rose and clematis to run over the house walls. At the moment this border will remain clear, while it is very tempting to plant into it, there’s a real possibility that we would have to cut it down and dig it out a few years down the line.
On a roll, I moved my gardening kit across the patio to deal with the weeds and stumps along the side access. A large ceanothus and two large buddleias had already been cut down, opening up the side to space, air and light, but the weeds (more carex grass) and stumps remained.
The trugs are part of the roof gutter water collection program (i.e. to catch leaks). Starting at the near end, the process was much the same, using the spade and fork to systematically move along the border, taking the weeds and the stumps out of the ground.
The end result was another clear border. This is likely to stay unplanted for some time too. The fence first needs to be repainted (with a few coats) and as the soil is poor, I plan to raise the level using log rolling along the path-side and some protective felt or plastic along the fence side. Since this part gets very little sun, it will be well suited to shade-loving plants and there’s also a climbing hydrangea that is earmarked for this section of the fence too.
Garden restoration continues. These two areas are small, but they are very visible and seeing them cleared gives me a disproportionately high level of satisfaction. Now these are done, my attention has once more shifted to the front garden and to a small semi-circular border which is another highly visible and high-impact site.