So, I started to write a blog post and then the sun came out, whereupon I decided I had to go into the garden and do some gardening. And that has prompted me to do another blog post about WEEDS before I get back to the original post about politics, language and conflict! This one will have fewer words and more pictures. The first pictures here are simply some of the lovely flowers that are out today. Aint spring lovely!?
As most of you will know, I spent around five years in Brazil, almost full time, coming back to the UK and my house in mid-2015. Sadly, the garden was very much overgrown and needed a lot of TLC (tender loving care) as well as a lot of brutal pruning and cutting back. Everything needed doing at once, of course, so concentration on weeds, and the ridding thereof, was not necessarily the highest priority. For me, one of the most dispiriting things was to see how overgrown the old veg patch had become with weeds, including brambles, nettles and thistles as well as quite a large array of annual weeds. VERY LARGE WEEDS, too, they were!
Fatima was here as well and helped me to reduce the scale of the weed problem before she had to return to work in Brazil. I had another go at the veg patch weeds in the spring of 2016 but went to Brazil over the English summer and, of course, the weeds took advantage of me not being there. I had organised with a guy who was visiting the village and doing someone else`s garden to try and keep the weeds down. He does gardening, but chiefly as a sideline to his farming business and sadly he fell off his combine harvester roof (don`t ask!) injuring himself in the process. I am pleased to report he is all right now but he was hospitalised for a couple of weeks and, thus of course, my garden did not benefit from his attention. The weeds, naturally, knew this and ran rampant.
Sighing deeply, I tackled them again in the autumn of 2016 and again in the spring of 2017, making inroads to the biggest bunches of nettles and quite a few thistles and some of the brambles. Also during 2017 I managed to cut the surrounding hedges back to their allotted positions, if not yet their proper heights.
Then I went back to Brazil during the English summer of 2017. As far as the veg patch was concerned this was, again, a foolish move. I came back to an autumn of weed removal and even managed to harvest a row of potatoes which I had planted in the spring. The weeds were becoming a little easier to despatch by end of 2017 and their roots were a little less entwined with each other, so I could pull out quite a few of them and get most of the root out, but the thistles, particularly, remain a problem and it is these blighters that have caused my angst THIS spring – not helped by the wet and snowy weather we have been having recently, stopping me from getting out there.
Let me show you the problem with thistles using thesepictures The first picture shows where I was digging today – the bit on the right shows what I had been digging. The bit on the left shows what it looked like before I took my fork to it. Doesn`t really look too bad, though, does it? a few little weeds, hardly worth bothering about, just a few fresh bits of green where I had hoed a couple of weeks ago.
OK – next picture, – this is all you see; the NEXT picture below shows what you CANNOT see, the long tough root and then the next picture shows the real problem – the broken root. And any gardeners amongst you will know that a new plant will shoot from the bit of broken root still in the ground.
The final picture, below, shows just the bits of broken root I have accumulated by my deep digging. And these are the bits I found and picked up. For each one of these there are bits left in the ground. When they grow again, if I am careful, I might get most of the plant and its root out of the ground. But it is going to take quite a few years yet to get back on top of the veg patch allowing it to become fully productive again with relatively minor attention each year to getting the weeds out of the way.
At least I have now got all the hedgerows back in order and even have some lovely spring flowers, including a fabulous display of forsythia in one corner of the garden. It does make the work seem worthwhile and it must be beginning to keep me fit again… I just wish I could dig a bit longer before I feel knackered! When the sun comes out again later in the week, just think of me digging again, and bending over picking out long bits of thistle root.
Nettles will also grow from bits of root left in the ground, of course, but are not quite so persistent as thistles – but if you turn your back on them!! Watch out!! Let me leave you, however, with a lovely picture of the forsythia in the sunshine – one of the joys of the garden in the springtime!