3/52: minimising english ivy

woven ivyTrying to yank out huge hunks of ivy doesn’t really work, because with years of growth the vines are interwoven and become stronger and almost impenetrable. You need to tackle it in stages and small quantities.

The way I do this is to sit on a cushion and work in the area immediately in front of me, which saves stress on both the back and the knees. Headphones for my music and a sun visor complete the image.

think ergonomicallyTaking up a small handful of vine, I snip both ends, and put them into a bucket or bin. Do this a number of times and then you can pull up the roots more easily. Continue the process until you have had enough and the recycling bin is fed.

tools of the tradetools of the trade

take hold of a clumpgrab a handful

cut at each endsnip each end

sometimes thicker secateurs are requireduse secateurs for older, thicker vines

a handful to recycleanother clump for the recycling bin

then dig out the rootsdig out the roots

off to the recycle binthat won’t grow again

Countless hours have been spent by me working on downsizing the ivy population. I have equated managing the garden with eating an elephant before, and once again, little by little is the key.

break on thruthe last part made me think of the lyrics “break on through to the other side”

the path is clearthe finished path

mulchedanother area completed

It has been worth the effort, with a good sense of achievement at the end, but why can’t we manage to just keep on top of things in the first place? Because:

1) we are human and

2) life gets in the way

Perhaps we should be a little more gentle on ourselves and our expectations.

115/366: spot the difference

Look at the picture below:

Now cover up the picture and look closely at the picture below. See if you can spot the difference.

How observant were you? Considering there is a glaring great gap where one of the main branches used to be, I hope it was relatively easy for you to work out that we hired someone to get rid of the top of the Evergreen Alder, which had succumbed to the drought and died. Well, perhaps you couldn’t work out all that information, but at least notice that a branch had disappeared. You could also add that the cloud formations are different.

Peek-a-boo! Better him than me; I don’t think I’d like to be up that tree, which is why we paid someone else to do the job. Because the ivy looked pretty on the trunk, we decided to leave that as some greenery to obscure the fence and provide contrast to the variegated pittosporum situated next to it.

23/366: one section at a time

Sometimes I look out at the garden and feel slightly overwhelmed, as there is always a lot to do, but then I remind myself to tackle it bit by bit. Remember how to eat an elephant? – one bite at a time.

Long ago we planted a little cutting of ivy as a ground cover and of course it has taken over in some areas. However, nice greenery is provided by this ivy, so I am keeping it. Just like giving our kids boundaries, so too must we limit where ivy can grow. We don’t want obnoxious, spoiled children, or excessive ivy.

I remember many years ago thinking it would be lovely to buy an established house with an overgrown garden in which you could make wonderful discoveries, and now here I am in my own garden uncovering personally-designed treasures!

In this case, the upper steps with bluestone edging look quite striking when they are neatened up, and provide a grand entrance to the top tier.