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Battle of the Bindweed - Round 1


The right-back corner of the back garden was badly overgrown when I first saw the property

And rather crowded when it had been cut back – that “secret path” was barely visible, and could only be navigated with difficulty, sideways

The Snowberry didn’t look up to much, and it was severely crowding the shrubs behind it

There was a lot to see once I’d cut it down a bit

The shrub seemed completely dead – branches snapped when bent, so I took out more and more, testing at each step whether it was still dead – it was, all the way down.

There was the remains of a shrub behind it, no foliage, no signs of life – these branches snapped when bent too. And another shrub behind that, severely crowded and rather weedy.

To one side was another remnant – I was able to pull this right out of the ground, so it was well dead

For the first time I was able to get close to the trees beyond the fence – they’re infested with bindweed, all the way up and all the way along

Rather than just cut back what I could see, I pulled the strands to get as much out as possible – I hate bindweed with a vengeance and want to destroy it all. There must be tons of it in the trees – apart from the added weight, it must be choking the trees’ own growth.

Thought I’d done enough for one day – this is not going to be a short-term battle!

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Hard work Fran but you can certainly see where you've been!

1 Jun, 2014


Pleased to see you getting into clearing away the growths you don't want in your garden Fran. All that dense dead stuff. Even if you start from scratch in a garden, it is only 3-4 years before it looks as if it was always there, if you plant wisely.

1 Jun, 2014


Wow lots of hard work there. Such a difference in that corner, any idea what your going to do there?

Ooh I don't envy you with bindweed. Definitely not a short battle. Good luck with it.

1 Jun, 2014


I admire your determination Fran! Well done on getting thus far.

1 Jun, 2014


thanks Pam and Dorjac and Sam and Scottish. lol someone advised me not to be so cautious about cutting shrubs back, but to go for it, and I've taken their adnice on an industrial scale!

it took me about three days, working in short sessions, to clear this much - the sun was blazing down and I wished I could wear less! but i wore joggies, long shirt and strong rubber gloves to give myself some protection.

I've found yet more plants stuck and stunted behind the big 'uns at the front - no idea what most of them are, either, but at least they've got a bit of room and light now.

The green wheelie bin was filled up several times - I kept pushing it all down so I could get more in. And I cut the bits into short lengths, so they'd nestle more closely. They only empty them every fortnight, so that limits how much I do - could do more, but got to stack the stuff somewhere till I can refill the wheelie - then stuck for another fortnight!

But I've saved a lot of wood, have a respectable woodpile now; .if I burn it a bit at a time, should have a good amount of wood ash to add to the composter.

@ Sam - I don't really have much idea of what to do with this corner - at first I thought of a secluded "hide" where I could watch the birds from fairly close without scaring them off; then when I'd cleared a bit more I thought about a "quiet corner", somewhere almost surrounded by greenery, to sit and chill.

but while i was doing more clearing I made an interesting discovery, which I'll keep for the next blog ...

1 Jun, 2014


It is bindweed I suppose? Look a bit like mile-a-minute which you would have to be really quick to keep up with! Have you seen it in flower?

1 Jun, 2014


Agree Honeysuckle. I vaguely wondered what that white frothy flower was. It could well be mile a minute. I cannot think of its other posher name. It used to grow on a fence near us and it was overwhelming. As it may source from over the boundary,not an easy one to get to grips with. If it is, then you are pretty good at tackling something with determination and persistence Fran. Who owns the land at the back of you I wonder?

2 Jun, 2014


It looks a bit like Russian Vine to me it does creep and grow into things but you will have a job to get it out if it is. Persistent plant - if it is it has a white flower on it and the bees and insects love it. I have it and it grows at a phenomenal rate, I pull it and chop it and try to keep it under control. Another plus for it is the birds love building nests in it and the baby birds can climb up into it and hide.

2 Jun, 2014


Oooh keeping us in suspense are we. I'll wait with interest for the next blog then :-)

2 Jun, 2014


hmm, now you mention it, I did get some pics of the trees apparently covered in white froth earlier this year; did'nt know about the weed then, so assumed it was the trees doing it. but now, I wonder.

someone gave me a Russian Vine cutting years ago, and truly is it called "mile a minute" - that was so long ago that I don't recall what exactly it looked like now.

if it *is* Russian Vine, the birds and insects can have what's on their side of the fence with pleasure!

lol Sam, I'm sort of getting around to the next installment, but only sort of

2 Jun, 2014


Oh Fran, I hope you dong keep me hanging on too long. It's a cruel and unusual punishment that you know lol lol.

3 Jun, 2014


as soon as I can, Sam, hopefully this week, or what's left of it - got part three going as well, but got to do the last of it bnefore I dan write about it!

3 Jun, 2014


Sounds like your really busy in the garden. I'll look forward to seeing what you've done.

I'm still busy clearing roots from the lawn. Feel like we must be digging in place it's took that long. Be so very very glad when it's done. Fingers crossed only a few more days of work and we can get it levelled and turfed (May need the soil level topping up first). Now if it would only stop raining .... Lol

4 Jun, 2014


taking up roots sounds painful - what was growing there that you didn't want?

The rain is a bit of a pest, but we'd soon complain if it stopped for very long!

I'm thinking of getting rid of my lawns completely, having gravel beds put in - once the soil is levelled and weed sheets put down, it should be easier to maintain. But on the other hand, walking barefoot on grass is a lovely feeling ...

4 Jun, 2014


Mares tail Fran, lots and lots of mares tail. It's a blinking pain. I'm just hoping that digging so much out will give us a fighting chance at defeating it.

Lol true we would winge if it didn't rain for ages. Still could do with the weekends staying dry so we can finish the lawn.

Gravel would be lower maintenance, but not as nice to walk on. Is there anyone locally you could hire to cut the lawns for you?

6 Jun, 2014


I found a gardener, recommended by my window leaner, who was recommended by a nighbour - local contacts spread themselves!

not sure what Mare's Tail looks like, so not sure if I have it, but from what you say, if I had it, I'd know!

the gardener came today - late - and he said that the weather here tomorrow includes hurricane winds, hailstones, thunder and lightning. dunno what cyrstal ball he'd been looking into!!

Gravel wouldn't be so nice to the feet indeed. lol thought about a small patch of grass, just big enough for me to lie on and maybe a border between the beds at the edges and the plants in the middle. but won't do anything in a hurry - my bro had gravel and it kept getting walked into the house, which would be equally annoying

6 Jun, 2014


Easiest way I can think of to describe mares tail is a green bottle brush. They can get quite tall and have thin tuberous roots which seemingly go for miles. The roots can go several meters deep and also spread. Mares tail has a thick waxy coating to it which resists pretty much all commercially available weedkillers and even the smallest piece of root will turn into mares tail. Its a mare to get rid of.

Glad you found a gardener, was he any good (even though he was late)?

Minus the hurricane winds and hailstones sounds like he's predicted our weather quite well. We apparently had a doozy of a thunderstorm this morning (I must had slept straight through it) and a power cut at some point. The last thunderstorm here knocked the lights out for a few seconds.

Gravel can look really nice, but can be a pain the in the proverbial. Its also not good to walk on in heels. Going to a friends wedding a few years back, the car park was deep gravel (which I struggled to get the car through in places) I had to walk across the gravel in 4 inch heels. Not good on my shoes and really bad for my balance. Thank god for my OH lol, he practically carried me lol.

Depending on funds you could consider having artificial grass (your landlord may agree to partially fund it). No maintenance but all the comfort of proper grass.

7 Jun, 2014


ah, "green bottle brush" rings a bell

Gary the gardener seems very good - of course I don't have any basis for comparison! but he and his sone spent a couple of hours mowing and strimming both lawns, taking it down a level at a time, and taking time, rather than setting the mowers at the lowest level and just shaving it bald.

he's going to help me pruns some shrubs next time - I said if he could do it as they "should" be, i can take pics and use them for reference - he also said about getting a tall ladder and cutting back the trees at the back, which would make the sun rise a bit earlier, lol. One thing he did do was stand in my green wheelie bin to stamp the contents down! it usually gets filled within a couple of days of being emptied, and the bins only get emptied once a fortnight, so I have to do cutting etc in bursts. i'd tried pushing it down, and it went a bit, but he got my stepladder and climbed into the bin and gave it a jolly good stamping!

I've seen stone chips of various sizes and colours, which might work as mulch-ground cover, and make pretty backing for the plants - not all over, cos of walking on it, but in patches or splashes.

I've seen artificial grass, was looking for that in the old place, to make that grotty paving at least look green - i'd found a site that had artificial meadow grass, taller than usual and with grass flowerhead stems, but typically, not been able to find it again. *s* did think of writign to companies to ask it they had offcuts of rolls etc, would very likely would be cheaper, and it's not as if I'd need a lot.

7 Jun, 2014


Sounds like you've got a decent guy there then.

Lol watch out when leaning in the bin like that. Nan did that and one day fell in head first lol lol. Can still picture it.

Ooh the meadow grass sounds quite nice. I've not come across that one yet. The gardeners world mag had an article about artificial grass a couple of months back. I can scan it and email it to you if you like.

9 Jun, 2014


oh, thanks, Sam! the grass sites obviously want to sell their stuff, so their write-ups aren't exactly impartial. trying to search for "artifical meadow grass", even in quotes, turns up all "artifical grass" results.

I certainly fell on my feet with this gardener

the hins are chest-high on me, so I can't lean over much to exert pressure, certainly not enough to fall in! whew

10 Jun, 2014


My bins too smelly and mucky to fall into and I'm too short as well. I saw a programme on laying artificial grass a long while ago. Lots of attention to the underpinnings seemed to mean it costalot. It was for people with dogs and it wasn't all that large either.

10 Jun, 2014


Very expensive to get the base correct. The cricket club had an artificial pitch laid for playing on when the weather was bad, brilliant but so expensive because of the preparation etc. but so useful for playing on when the grass is stood in water.

10 Jun, 2014


I've read bits about how the ground has to be compacted with a power hammer thingy, and then sand has to go down and be compacted, then ...

bu that was for "proper" greens, cricket or bowls; i was thinking of a grass "broder" betwen the beds at the sides and the gravel garden in the middle. maybe even that would cost too much and be too fiddly to prepare, so maybe just paving would do, though that would probably need ground-stablising to stop the slabs shifting and tilting.

Might be easier just to go wiht a natural grass border after all!

10 Jun, 2014


I love grass pathways and as you like to walk barefoot on the grass you would love that Fran. I would save myself some money and go with the grass, much more natural looking even if you do have to get a man in to cut it all for you. I always think the artificial stuff is such a false colour too.

10 Jun, 2014


agreed, Olive. also read taht if you slip on arti-grass, it can cut, or graze - that might have been the old hard stuff, it might be softer now, but I do like grass to walk on, and if I had a border maybe a couple of feet wide even I might be able to keep it in trim!

10 Jun, 2014


Have you seen the hockey matches they play now on Astra turf, they are constantly watering it, of course not to make it grow, to keep the friction down, slipping and sliding on it causes horrible friction burns.

10 Jun, 2014


i hadn't, Olive, but I'd heard of the time when it was new in football - certainly discouraged sliging tackles!

lol think i'll get some green wool and crochet my own!

10 Jun, 2014


lol what a good idea Fran. I cannot crochet, wish I could, but I can knit and I can sew if I put my mind to it. lol :O)

10 Jun, 2014


when i went into hospital as a teen for a thyroid operation, i was determined to learn either crochet or shortand while i was in. turne dout to be crochet - one of the cleaners showed me the bit i was getting wrong. don't like knitting so much - forced to do it as a kid and kept pulling at it to make it grow faster; of course it shrunk back to size later. crochet grows faster, it's mostly holes anyway!

10 Jun, 2014

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