22 May 2024

Weeding woes

It’s been nice to see the sun at last, hasn’t it?

I’ve finally been able to get out into the garden and start clearing the weeds that went absolutely crazy in May.

It seemed like I turned my back for five minutes and then everything was 6ft high. I must have taken to the tip at least a dozen garden bags filled with nettles and brambles, and I have the scars to prove it…

It brings to mind a poem called Garden Waste, by the late, great Les Barker, which I would love to reproduce in full here because a) it encapsulates perfectly my experiences, and b) the printers are breathing down my neck again and it’d fill a bit of column space. But the poem is way too long and an extract wouldn’t do it justice, so you’ll have to check out the original online.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re rural that we are completely beset by brambles popping up in every border, but it’s an excuse I like to bring out. I mean, I love the fruits they bear (and don’t get me started on the brambles/ blackberries north-south divide), but boy, the plants they grow on are vicious.

I’ve long accepted, though, that they are a part of my garden and I just have to try to hack them down now and again to keep them at bay, and not lose too much sleep over them. Everything looks great, from a distance, and anyway, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place, as they say. There’s just perhaps a few too many of them.

But ever since Monty Don said, “Don’t be too tidy” in the garden for the sake of our wildlife, I think Him Indoors would say I have taken that rather too literally…