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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Through the hedge backwards!

When we bought this house 4 years ago one of the things we liked about it was the fact that on one boundary of the triangular garden was woodland.  There was a post and rail fence with rosa rugosa bushes along it and in the spring hundreds of primroses bloom on our side of the fence.  This side of our triangle is probably about 100 feet in length and the part you can see in this photo is about 40 feet of it as it continues alongside the house and down the side of our driveway too.

In previous years we have been able to get through the fence and behind the roses to trim them back as needed but this year although the tomatoes have blight, the French beans are looking decidedly poorly and sparse and the cucumbers are refusing to grow in the chilly wet weather which has been this year's summer the nettles and brambles on the other side of the fence along with the roses have gone mad!  Look at those nettles in the above photo they are about 10 feet tall.

The roses have completely taken over the fence and are tumbling down the bank towards the drive.

It's a total jungle out there this year and I said to Mr Marigold that if we didn't do something soon people would begin to say "I wonder whatever happened to that funny old couple who used to live in the house by the wood - haven't seen them for a while" and we would just disappear under the overgrowth!  I don't think it is the right time to prune the roses but I don't think we can be picky here!

Mr Marigold is not well just now - he has shingles poor lad and is feeling very sorry for himself and spending quite a lot of time having a lie down (not unnaturally) so I thought maybe it was up to me to do something about the boundary before the brambles completely took over our garden.  I peered over the fence in the bottom corner of the garden and thought "No way can I do that" - swiftly followed by "Every journey starts with a single step and if you don't try you'll never know what you can do"

 So on Tuesday morning I managed to clear a gap big enough to climb through the fence and made a start on trying to clear a narrow path behind our fence.  After lunch I had arranged to go into town to meet a couple of friends for a coffee and a chat so I dusted myself down and changed my clothes and walked into town - it was a lovely sunny day here - I came back on the bus and after making Mr Marigold a nice cup of tea I changed back into my old clothes and donned my thick leather gloves and clambered back into the wood to continue.  It was pouring with rain yesterday and I thought that rain would stop play and it would be indoor games but the sun came through in the afternoon and I was able to do a bit more and today I have again been at it.  I feel like some intrepid adventurer back here - pity I don't have a machete!

One advantage of clearing a pathway is that now I can actually pick the blackberries which I couldn't reach before and tonight we had blackberries and apple for our pudding.  So far I have done about a quarter of the length and I am hopeful that if I do a bit each day I will actually get to the other end before the beginning has become all over grown again!!  And when Mr Marigold is better he can help me to keep it clear so we don't have to do this again in the future!

After a shaky start our sweet peas are going like the clappers - probably in competition with the brambles - and I am picking a bunch every other day to have on our table.

Another of Summer's pleasures along with sitting in the sun with a cup of tea and a good book is to bury my nose in a bunch of just picked sweet peas each bloom reminding me of ladies in delicate swirling tea dresses and their fragrance is so delightful it makes all the scrambling in the wood getting scratched and stung fade away and I am in heaven for a moment at least!

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my previous post - I do hope that if you read the Snow Child you will enjoy it - you might also like to know that the author has a blog called Letters from Alaska which you might enjoy reading too if you like the book.

By the way can anyone tell me how I can stop following a blog - I sometimes come upon a blog via another blog and want to look at it for a while but then can't figure out how to stop!!


  1. I think you're doing a great job Jane, goodness knows what you would do if you had a machete!! ;)
    I did laugh when you said about finishing before you had to start again, a bit like painting the Forth Bridge!
    I hope Mr Marigold feels much better soon!
    Re the unfollowing of a blog, I'm assuming it's in blogger dashboard. If so there is a gear beside 'view in Google Reader' at the top right of the page, click on it, it then gives you the blogs that you follow, click on the settings beside the blog you want to delete and you will be able to remove it.Hope this helps.
    Vivienne x

  2. All my friends in England tell me the wet summer has made everything grow amazingly - and nettles are always the first to take advantage! I make mine into garden feed - but I guess you don't need that!

  3. Oh lucky you to be able to pick fresh berries from over the fence, still you deserved them after all that hard work. And what beautiful sweet peas such pretty colours. Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures :)

  4. This is the first time I have read your blog and I enjoyed it greatly. The climate where I live in the Pacific northwest is very like yours. Every year my tomatoes get blight - yellow like yours. They are doing a bit better this year because somebody told me to take off all the lower leaves. But even with a cool wet summer I have big cucumbers and the beans look hopeful. I hope Mr. M feels better soon and can help with the jungle project. Shingles is a nasty ailment.

  5. Well done on tackling your jungle, sounds like you've been rewarded with some lovely berries! I do hope MrMarigold is feeling better soon so he can join you in the jungle action.

  6. Poor Mr Marigold, shingles is a horrid thing to have.
    Well done you for tackling the "jungle", it's the same here, weeds growing like mad. I found some blackberries too and commented how fat and ripe they seem to be (and much earlier than other years). Keep at it Jane.......

  7. Best wishes to Mr. Marigold, and to you for your continued adventures in the jungle. I have the same problem here, but my 'wood' is a railway embankment, dense with bindweed, nettles and brambles with stems nearly as thick as my arm. I rely on the badgers to beat a track along my boundary, which they do effectively. It's only a narrow track, but it's like cement!

  8. Do hope D is feeling better. Shingles is awful and he will feel very unwell for a week or maybe two. I hope he has managed to get the wonder drug that shortens the attack if you get it in the first 36 hours or so. It makes an enormous difference.
    You've done a champion job over the fence. Look out or you might come face to face with an early rising badger !

  9. Often the hardest part is actually getting started! You are doing a great job clearing along the fence with the added reward of all those lovely blackberries:) Hope Mr Marigold Jam soon feels better. Those sweet peas are gorgeous by the way.

  10. You have done really well - and I think it is going to be a good year of blackberries - it has certainly been a good year for thistles here!!

    Pomona x

  11. Thank you for your blog visit! My goodness, you have done wonders with your garden jane. Like you I have a jug of Sweet Peas in the kitchen at the moment... just wonderful! Lizzie

  12. Goodness me, what a trouper you are, probably a good job you don't have a machete with all your energy and enthusiasm!
    Sorry to hear Mr M is not well, shingles is quite painful I hear .. I hope he's better very soon.

  13. Those sweet peas are so pretty. I love them and we have none this year :(

    Go you re. the hacking back! Very intrepid. Those must be some of the hardest won blackberry's in the land!

    Growing up we had a patch like that at the end of the garden and one year in despair Dad borrowed a flame thrower and took to it with that! That's what he has used ever since for hard to reach overgrowth.

  14. Well done on all that clearing, that is a real achievement! I wanted to pop over to tell you that I've just finished reading The Snow Child and really enjoyed it.....thanks so much for the recommendation!
    Hope poor Mr Marigold is feeling better.
    (And I loved seeing those beautiful sweet peas.)
    Helen x

  15. It's the same here - minus the woodland - we even have nettles in the garden for the first time 'ever' this year.

    Well done you though - a single step and a journey...I do like that.

    I hope Mr M is on the mend - shingles can be the pits.

    Nina xxx

  16. Oh...what I wouldn't give for a garden like that. Mine is a small walled garden - couldn't be more opposite!
    Hope your DH will soon be on the mend ....shingles is not a nice thing to have!


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