Saturday, 15 September 2012

In It Up To The Elbows.

Late summer sunshine, an unexpected day out 'here' in a wonderful garden, and I find myself unable to resist hauling hanks of blanket-weed out of someone else's fountain.

Of course, there is something quite fascinating about blanket-weed, an algae which floats and bubbles and strangles and spreads itself throughout a pond, and which can cost gardeners a small fortune to control. There are lots and lots of remedies, from floating a bale of barley straw to staining the water black.
I favour the RHS's nicely worded remedy of 'twirling it out with a cane'. I'm sure there are many cane-twirling members of the RHS (the black-tie-and-tails image fits wonderfully) and I have my own plentiful supply of canes from my bamboo grove.

At the same time, I have to admire an organism that can colonise so rapidly and effectively, turning a garden pond into a vat of pea-soup, and spreading its silky hair filaments into a thick blanket.
I know of someone, equally fascinated, who thought the stuff might be spun and woven.
It can't be.
Perhaps there is someone who has tried to cook and eat it?
Please let me know.

So this was a day off from gardening for me, and within a couple of hours I am up to the elbows in blanket-weed, hauling heavy, irresistible ropes of it from this beautiful fountain pond, never even thinking that the owners might be cultivating it for a purpose. Sorry, Spetchley Park owners, if you were!

Then I realise, of course, that my companions, both avid gardeners, are at it as well, tweaking out the odd dandelion, the occasional metre or two of bindweed. Gardeners cannot keep their hands to themselves, dead-heading without even realising that they are doing it.

Some days in my own garden I go out the take some melon peel to the compost bin and an hour passes before I realise it. Suddenly I find that I have a great canvas bag full of prunings and weeds and I will have to make yet another trip to the tip. But then I can't justify using petrol to take just one bag full, so I stay in the garden and fill two more giant bags........and then I realise it's getting dusk.
And I only went out to the compost bin.

A few months ago I thought I could no longer manage my garden, and was seriously considering downsizing. It was news of a coming grand-daughter that changed everything, and made me determined the keep the family house and the family garden going.
Somehow, the garden creates its own energy and passes some of it on to me.
The growth rate this year has been phenomenal, all that heat; then all that rain, then more late warmth. If I have time to sit in the garden I can hear things growing, especially the bamboo.

And the grand-daughter is growing too, for now she is nearly here, and the (blanket-weed-free) pond will have to be fenced off fairly soon, and somehow I have the energy to to twirl a cane and not only weed my own pond, but get involved in someone else's.


The Elephant's Child said...

I began as a casual gardener and it became an obsession before I turned around. I love (and recognise) the dead heading and tweaking which goes on - and the itchy fingers when for some reason it can't.
Lovely post - thank you.

Relatively Retiring said...

Elephant's child: thank you. Everything grows in the garden - especially the gardener!

Zhoen said...

For the first time this year, I can begin to understand this. My little eden draws me out, demands to be cared for like a cat, leaves me smiling at being so used.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: ah ha - the bug has bitten! Now you have so many busy and happy years ahead....endless interest and backache.

Jee said...

Our garden is heaving a sigh of relief as yet another hedge has been cut and it's actually getting some light and air. I've put in the things I cadged from you so it's beginning to look less like a forgotten shrubbery and more like a flower border down by the new fence, thank you. Perhaps the codgers on the other side will get a fit of conscience and cut their tree - preferably before they start taking slates off our roof in the windy weather. Hope things go well for you.

Jee said...

That should say trees plural and it's the trees which might take slates off our roof not the codgers - though I'm sure they'd be delighted to demolish bits of our house given the chance :-)

Relatively Retiring said...

Jee: so glad the bits and pieces have found a new home. One of the joys of gardening is passing things around (hopefully not ground-elder!).

pohanginapete said...

Could it be composted? It might have to be left to dry a little first.

I no longer have a garden to maintain, but have plenty of natural wildness to enjoy. I certainly appreciate most gardens but if my input's required I much prefer the self-maintaining sort. ;^)

Relatively Retiring said...

P.Pete: yes, I usually find that compost is the answer to most of my problems.

Isabelle said...

Thank you for your baby duckling comment on my blog. I have now definitely decided not to become a heron.

Ooh, the coming grandbaby!!! You're going to be so happy! On the other hand, I'm currently listening to Nicholas, our baby grandson, over the baby monitor, as he snuffles and coughs in his cot during an unusually early nap. I'm wondering - was it my imagination that he seemed hot? Should his cold be lasting this long? Should I buy some Calpol? Argh, the responsibility of looking after him while his mum is at work...

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: yes, the responsibility must be frightening. I haven't fenced the pond just yet, but will do so, although the heron will still be welcome!