When I looked back in the blogging calendar, I realised I had left June with barely a single post. It wasn’t intentional and sadly it wasn’t because I was on a month-long break. At the beginning of the month I was ill, towards the end I went on holiday, in the middle, I was occupied with a distraction activity.
Shortly after the large discard pile in front of the shed had disappeared, we had a lovely large open area to think about turning into garden. Unfortunately, there are many other scrappy, rough and wild areas at the back of the garden that also needed sorting out, the large discard pile was just one of them. I didn’t know what to tackle next. There was a second old shed that needed to be torn down, there were the old vegetable beds and a large raised area that contained a mix of compost heap and tree bits.
I tackled the old vegetable beds first, removing the wood I had piled on them to somewhere else, taking out the old wooden frames, digging out the weeds and levelling the whole area with the electric tiller. I then levelled it and sowed some grass seed. This is somewhat of a milestone and may be the very first time (and hopefully the very last) that instead of taking up grass to turn into border, I was taking border and turning it back into grass. I had to have a good sit down and a bit of a drink to get over it.
Currently this sown area is rather bald with a few patches of green. It will take some time for the grass to come back and I may help fill in the gaps by transplanting a few daisies and clover to speed things along.
With the vegetables beds finally gone (they were in a terrible position anyway) I could feel my attention turn.
I’ve written about my attention and how nothing survives its glare. The front cherry and indeed entire border it was in succumbed to it, followed by the patio wall, the old pear tree, the rampant carex and now, like the Eye of Sauron, my attention turned and became fixated on the large bamboo that had been planted as a screen at the back of the garden by a set of past owners.
This inherited Pseudosasa Japonica or Arrow Bamboo was a large, mature specimen comprising six distinct clumps merging into each other, running several meters in a line but also several metres with runners into our garden and into next door. Despite the tall slender canes and graceful leaves rustling in the wind, this bamboo was a monster, sucking the moisture and nutrients from the surrounding soil, blocking out the light to the back of the garden and looking completely out of place. With runners visibly running along the surface and breaking out in the grass, there was no way it could be kept reasonably under control when the area came to be cultivated into border.
Once more, my attention turned, rested on the bamboo and there was only ever going to be one outcome.
Cue many evenings in hot weather with a mattock and loppers first cutting down the stems and then using the mattock to lever the roots out of the ground, sometimes following them into the grass, sometimes replacing the mattock handle. The large area that we had cleared only a short while ago sported another discard pile of bamboo leaves, canes and roots.
Systematically from one end to the other, clump after clump was removed. Most roots were dug out but there were sections that crossed into next door. With the majority of the roots gone, these weaker remaining sections will gradually die off, exhausted by the constant cutting back and mowing.
The plan is to get as much of the bamboo out and keep cutting what grows back. Meanwhile, the whole area will cleared, re-leveled and will stay that way until the bamboo stops coming back. Afterwards, I plan to replace the bamboo with beech and so continue the existing hedge onwards towards the back of the garden. It will also give us a life-time supply of bamboo canes.
I’m glad this bamboo screen has gone, it wasn’t the right place to have this plant, light now comes into parts of the garden that have been in shade for many years and I can sleep better at night, not worrying if the bamboo is going to start appearing in the shed, patio or kitchen. Unfortunately, it does mean that the area we had just cleared, has now become home again to several new piles of rubbish.