THE BACK GARDEN
Apparently, we missed the super summer in Ireland this year. We returned to massive growth in the garden and comments from everyone on what a summer it was. Indeed, the best summer ever!
I am sure there is truth in that statement. A great summer in Ireland usually means a rain-free week every three weeks or so, or a least three consecutive sunny days. The summer of 2018 boasts days of records high temps in the 80’s and a drought!
Here are some pictures of the back garden and the north garden wall bed. Every year I cut these beds down, especially the north wall. Our north wall gets very little sunlight, and I planted shrubs. However, I made a visitors mistake and put in “hedge plants” instead of smaller varieties.
This picture shows the lower section where the hydrangeas, which were cut to two feet last year, are now almost over my head. They do hide the water filtration system though.
But this summer’s growth actually looks good and must have looked luxurious this past summer. So a lesson learned, I will let the plants stay tall and trim minimally this spring.
The south bed by the back door has a lovely miniature crab apple, seen in the far left of the photo. The two white flower shrubs, which have a sweet order, but I can’t remember their name, and the rest is filled with lilies and glads past bloom
Last year a storm snapped our willow tree off at mid base. But in just the five months of record heat the tree grew to a great height; almost as tall and when it snapped. John loves the willow tree and is pleased with the plant’s progress. Other hedge like shrubs are also planted in that bed, including an evergreen and a Japonica.
The south side of the little garden has a small bed, a terrace for the sweet peas I planted last winter’s end and an apple tree sampling. For some reason the sweet peas did not germinate on the one side, so John planted his favorite garden plant- the geranium. I wasn’t here for the growth spurt, or I would have tied the sweet peas to the terrace, but I am quite happy to have them still in scent and blossom.
I’ll show you the rockery, the hydrangea canopy, and the east wall later.
THE NEMESIS-Ground Elder/Goutweed and Knotweed and Bramble
When John and I first put in these gardens over five years ago, we had to build the soil up from the gravel – yard that has once been part of the country house stables and carriage house. We use to live in the carriage house John restored but now live in a smaller cottage, a granny flat as they are called here, on the grounds. John had tons, and I mean, tons of soil dumped. We shoveled for days and days to build a backyard. |John then put raised beds all around the grassed yard, and we went on from there.
The north bed was probably the last bit of soil we got and it was not in the best of condition. We now believe the provider scrapped that soil off an old field and that is how goutweed contaminated the garden.
There are a few invasive plants in Ireland. We have a nasty bit of works called goutweed.
“Goutweed, also known as bishop’s-weed and snow-on-the-mountain, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It is one of several species of Aegopodium, native to Europe and Asia. Most leaves are basal, with the leaf stalk attached to an underground stem, or rhizome. The leaves are divided into three groups of three leaflets, making it “triternate.” The leaflets are toothed and sometimes irregularly lobed.”https://changinglifestyleblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/weed-of-the-week-aegopodium-podagraria-l-ground-elder/
We have pulled and pulled this weed for years now. John actually dug the soil out of one part of the bed and shifted all the little rhizome pieces out before he put the soil back in and that didn’t stop the spread! I am unable to plant any flowers in the lower front bed as the weed chokes them out, and we are unable to find any solution. We could have the entire north wall area excavated and new soil brought in, but that would cost a fortune. It seems allowing for the overgrowth of the hedge-plants is my best bet.
The other common but nasty weed we have it called Bramble over here. It is a thorny vine that creeps along the ground and up the plants- choking them. You have to make sure to have on a thick long glove, like a rosebush glove to deal with these nasty noxious weeds.
Another pathological plant that has invaded Ireland is the Japanese and Himalayan Knotweed. There are signs all over the roadway forbidding the cutting of this weed. If cut, the plant is encouraged to spread laterally along the ground as a rhizome, making it impossible to contain. There are a few different varieties of this devil. Some knotweed are large; some have a rounded leaf while the Himalayan knotweed’s leaf is more pointed. I thought that was what we had initially, but the knotweed leaves grow in an every other pattern and out weed leaves grow parallel on the stem.
If you have an invasion of goutweed, there is very little you can do. Pulling doesn’t eradicate, Roundup can help, but I will not use that dangerous chemical. Sadly a local Gardner’s advise on their website is to move house.https://laidbackgardener.blog/2016/05/20/getting-rid-of-goutweed/
I have resigned myself to just pulling the weed to keep it in check somewhat. I spend a lot of time playing in the gardens when I am here in Ireland. It entertains me and I love to sit out on the back patio in the afternoon and watch the birds and blossoms of the gardens.
I hope you are enjoying your gardens as they start into autumn. My next project is to put some ornamental cabbage, pansies, and other flowers in my pots. I’ll be able to enjoy color in the garden far into the winter here. No snow or heavy frosts hopefully for a few months yet.
Thanks for visiting. Leave a comment and share what have you planted in your garden.