The bramble war

I’ve been spending a lot of time in our back garden in the last month. At the end of May we planted out a bunch of bedding plants, plus a gorgeous Alstroemeria ‘Princess Paola’, which is flowering like it’s got no time to lose.

Most of all, though, I’ve been getting an assessment of just how overgrown our garden got while we were busy ignoring it last year. Things aren’t too bad on the surface – some out of control shrubs that need reshaping once they’ve flowered, a clematis that needs hacking all the way back (I think) and some discoveries, like two roses I didn’t know about, trying desperately to find some light in between other things.

The biggest problem so far has been the discovery of brambles running right through the garden. I knew they were there, and had started cutting back, but it wasn’t until I started looking in between and under everything else that I saw the extent of the issue. They seem to originate in our east hedge, and the suckers have migrated right the way through the top slope and down into the big border behind the extension.

So, I’ve been waging bramble war. At the moment my main tactic has been to just cut them back wherever I see them, a job I finally completed this weekend. But I know that to really get control, I need to start digging. This post by the very knowledgeable Rachel has given me hope that I don’t need to ruin the entire garden to do it, but it’s still going to be a major job getting it under control. I don’t want to resort to weedkillers without giving it a decent try.

The other thing we have a lot of is ivy – which I’m in two minds about. On the one hand it’s everywhere, and it’s going to make it difficult to do any other kind of planting. On the upside, it’s really helping to stabilise the slope. One to ponder. I’m also facing the thought that our bergenia mass doesn’t seem to be as happy as last year, and maybe the plants need dividing. So many things to do…

Meanwhile, this evening, I planted some annuals from seed. Yes, I know it’s late, and I’m willing to take the risk of a failure – but I wanted some extra colour and figured that experimentation might be the key to success. Grow, little seedlings, grow!

This was the last pile of the bramble war - off into the green bin with you!

This was the last pile of the bramble war – off into the green bin with you!