There is a flower bed outside and just across from, our back door. I KNOW it’s a flower bed because over the years I have planted out and sown seeds for a whole variety of species, from campanulas to wildflowers, lupins to forget-me-knots and yet, with the exception of the straggly looking Buddleia which I grew from seed a few years ago, up until this morning, you could have been forgiven to thinking that this bed was nothing but a weed patch.
You see whilst the flowers which SHOULD be on display in this bed have, as a result of the long cold wet spring and long hot dry summer, struggled to make their presence known this season, every weed known to man has not only coped brilliantly with the extremes but appear to have thrived, relishing the challenges Ma Nature has thrown at them.
And so where there should be brightly coloured primulas, campanulas, delphiniums and lupins, not to mention a selection of colourful wildflowers we found only weeds …… not the pretty, flowering types that you don’t mind too much but the plain green and messy looking type.
Clearing this bed is one of ‘those‘ jobs! The kind that you know needs doing sooner rather than later (I’ve seen ‘Day of the Triffids’! I know what happens if you let the weeds take over!) but that you always manage to avoid starting, identifying more pressing jobs which simply HAVE to take priority …… until one day you look at your completely over run flower bed and wonder “How did that happen?”
So this morning I donned my gloves, gathered my tools and set about clearing the weeds and grass, hoping to find and rescue some of my beleaguered flowering plants in the process. It was very hard work which took all of three hours but section by section I dug, loosened, pulled and binned huge clumps of weeds.
Every now and then I’d come across a strawberry plant, numerous shoots from the black ornamental grass we planted one small clump of 12 years ago but which has spread remarkably well, bulbs, primulas and campanulas. Where possible I removed as much soil and weeds as I could from these ‘rescued’ plants putting them to one side for replanting. In some cases the weeds were just too well imbedded into the root systems of the plant and I took the decision to consign it to the compost bin, as when these plants are finally replanted into the bed (or OTHER beds) I want to minimise the chances of transplanting weeds with them – a clean sheet if you like.
That’s my next job, planting the rescuees into new tubs and pots for over wintering but right now I need a coffee.
I will feel every muscle in my body tomorrow but at least we now have a bed which is clear of all but the Buddleia, ready to receive manure, topsoil and a weed suppressing layer of bark and next year …… next year we will once again have a colourful, mood lifting flower bed.