Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Dainty Plant

Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

This poem is, apparently, by Charles Dickens, who obviously knew nothing of trying to pull up ivy from a flower bed or 'ruins old'!  We spent the weekend pulling up the stuff from the flower bed by the gin terrace - yes, again.  You pull and you pull and you pull and you end up with a rope of ivy about ten foot long.  There is nothing dainty about it.  Look - here's a root!

 At least, I think it's an ivy root.  It might be part of the sycamore tree...

If you remember, this flower bed looked like this:

Which I suppose had its own particular charm.  

One of my pet names for S is Agent Orange because of his defoliation skills in the garden.  There is nothing he likes better than to chop something down.  I paid for him to go on a pruning course at David Austin Roses a couple of birthdays ago in the hope of curbing his tendencies.  It didn't.  However, his skill is now coming in useful.  If we want to plant anything then we have to remove this ivy.  So now this 'flower' bed looks like this:

It takes ages to dig as there are multiple ivy roots, some small and some huge.  I'm about a third of the way, if that.  And the weather forecast is bad again so that will be that for another week or so.

We're also clearing the ivy off the walls.  With the wall having fallen down further up the garden, we're keen to see how bad the rest of it is.  So the wall now looks like this:

Time to start looking for a repointing course, I think.  The good thing about doing this was that we at last met our neighbours who seem very nice.  We're their first proper neighbours for 35 years apparently!

We've created an ivy mountain and will need to get a skip to clear it.  

We have also removed an enormous pile of stones from the flower bed and from beside the log shed.  These we will keep.  The wall might need them!

S did further ivy removal after these pictures were taken.  The shed is now bare and I must find some 'before' shots so that you can truly appreciate quite how bare it is!

So, we're well on our way to ensuring that ivy is a rare old plant in this garden: only appearing where invited and discouraged where not invited.

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