Removing bindweed in Autumn

I have been perched here at my desk, keys poised over the keyboard, contemplating your keenness for pictures of dirt.

Lots of dirt.

Neat dirt. But frankly, not the most picturesque subject.

But I am a completist and I left you last week with a threat / promise to show you the finished results of the herb garden work.

It took a day.  Two half days really. There was a fun interlude driving over to the architect around the valley.

And most of that time in the dirt was spent levering out the huge roots of rosemary. And trying not to get euphorbia sap in my eyes when taking out the euphorbia x wulfennii plants.

This euphorbia. Talk about a memory stab. It was one of the very first shrubs I bought for this garden. A dozen teensy euphorbias from the alpine section of the giant garden centre at RHS Wisley garden outside London.

Eleven years on their time had come. They were inside the orange cordon of potential building work.

Luckily they have self-seeded merrily about and I won’t miss the ‘parent’ plant. But they didn’t go without a struggle. In fact I was levering so hard on my garden fork that I sent the stone wall just in front tumbling to the ground.

Oops. But the prospect of the whole area being redeveloped in spring means I feel a little less dreadful about the damage.

And then once the beasts were out and taken to be composted, it was down to the fun of the whole adventure.

Hunting bindweed roots.

Did you ever know teenagers when you were one who confessed they used to love squeezing pimples? Their own or anyone else? Pause while you all shudder and think back.

I have discovered the garden equivalent. Those of us who just love hunting out bindweed roots and removing them.

I wouldn’t go near anyone’s pimples, but sifting through twenty feet of dirt just so I can hunt out and pull out long white tendrils of bindweed root. Now that is just satisfying stuff.

The whole area is riddled with them. And the charitable person in me might just have contemplated clearing this whole bed just to remove the bindweed and planting up again.

But it’s bare earth now. the herbs have been transplanted elswhere, all is raked and lovely.

And now I can see that the elephant in the room needs to be addressed

The roses.

Let me plunge back to late spring and summer to show you.

I get the feeling they will have to go.

I can send myself to sleep each evening trying to work out where they should go if they can’t stay on these gorgeous stone walls. I’m narrowing it down to areas where I know there are underground springs that might keep them from expiring.

Water. That’s the challenge. I need to move them somewhere they might have a chance of a bit of a soaking.  I have five plants to move (note to self, repair gauntlet gloves).  And for now I have just cut them back. Hard.

And I was chuckling as I was reducing this enormous amount of sharp thorny growth to armfuls of wheelbarrow loads that can get sent to be composted.

The builders are going to have to come to terms with the impossible when it comes to building work.

Trying to dig out the ornamental quince shrubs which are entrenched in this area and defy all attempts at lifting.

Loathsome inherited beasts. Here is what I found a decade ago. I have tried to remove them every year since.

I have no idea how they are going to get them out. A small stick of dynamite might do the trick.

So I leave you with the last shots of autumn colour. Snow has already fallen this week since I left the farm.

Farewell glorious russets and orange.

Hello winter.