Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cold war kid

As I write, I'm taking a break from dealing with collateral damage; the clean up from a brutal fight last Friday that was the culmination of a two year stand off.

Upon moving in I was faced with a vine that although lush with white flowers decorated the back wall, it was strangling the mature pear tree and the buddleia that had leant their shoulders on the brickwork. Like a spy befriending these hard working warhorses of the garden, with only one intent - to intimately understand the very workings of the trees and then deny them their existence. Espionage of the highest order.

All the while I watched on, intrigued at this relatively attractive specimen, but suspicious at its insidious young shoots. Still, I let it grow. A kid in the art of cold wars...

So my tactic has been to allow it to be, but keep it trimmed well away from the pear tree. The height of the buddleia meant that it had to fend for itself. For a year or so it seemed to work, but this winter I realised something was up. Faced with what appeared to be a dormant, and therefore vulnerable beast, I took advantage of the lack of distracting leaves to really cut this thing back.

And it was on cutting through the really tough established dark vine that it revealed life within it. Dormant it may be. But it was plotting.

I was doing well this spring, out there most weekends keeping it within its own territory of the wall, or so I thought. Then, bam, it went Cuban! It started not just encroaching but setting up its own base right where I couldn't reach and far too close to the pear tree for comfort. And as you may be aware, my gardening time has been limited this summer and I've struggled to look after simple veg beds let alone handle this fundamental territorial battle.

Then last Friday General Sarah Coombes came in. No Dove she. Landscape architect with the skills and tactical knowledge to handle this formidable foe. Not so much Shock and Awe but Go Nuclear. And so we hit the red button.

The buddleia took the biggest hit, and all that remains are remnants of a once proud flower nation. But tough in character we left it healthy at the base and are confident it will return happy and healthy, even if it will take time to reach its former glory.

In the meantime the clear up operation continues at a pace. Hampered by a landlocked garden there is no side alley to take the waste straight through to the car. So saw, shears and secateurs in hand I've been gradually filling the heavy duty bags ready to take to the garden waste tip. But this truely is a mammoth task. And I've already filled 12 bags...

So, whilst I crack on I'll let another creative outcome of the Cold War entertain you


Foxglove Lane said...

Lovely post and photos. I love the way you write! Waiting with baited breath for the return:~)

Hapless gardener said...

Foxglove Lane, that really means a lot to know that, thank you and I hope you like the follow up too

Poolcue Poker said...

A couple of years ago I had the same problem but I got there in the end and the russian vine is no more.

Hapless gardener said...

Hi Poolcue, thanks for the comment and good to know that it is beatable! It has proved a challenging foe!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.