Sunday, July 17, 2011

the root of all evil

You'll remember my attempts to wrestle the garden at our old house from an impenetrable jungle with pterodactyls nesting in it into a useful herb garden (despite the best efforts of an army of gastropods) - well, I've started doing the same at the new place. The enemy here, rather than a warehouse-engulfing plague of ivy and bindweed, seems to be an infestation of buddleia; I had a go at trimming them down to ground level a few months ago but they grow astonishingly quickly, so they were starting to blot out the sun (see below):

This time I wanted to do the job properly, so I decided to dig them up by the roots. Simple, right? Well, it turns out buddleia (and these may have been here for a while) grow really deep roots - check these mothers out:

These bastards had grown right under the decking, and it took a good deal of trowel-work and hernia-inducing yanking to get them out. Some of the others were equally deep:

Anyway, having done that, and then having had to leave things to their own devices for three weeks, I was unpleasantly surprised on my return to find a couple of buddleia shoots poking up through the earth. I yanked them out, but check out the root length - in three weeks! It's either going to be a running battle to keep the stuff at bay, or take off and nuke the entire place from orbit.

Anyway, undeterred by all this, I've now put the first couple of herb plants in, specifically some thyme and some chives. Here they are:

The other pre-existing plant infestation we've got is a huge expanse of mint - obviously this is more useful than the buddleia, but we'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't take over the whole garden. What I need is some recipes requiring a huge quantity of mint, ideally less time-consuming and messy than the mint jelly.

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