The enemy in my sights

verbascumVerbascums.   Some people actually grow these plants in their gardens. Deliberately. Here, sadly they are a weed. And of epic proportions.

And the plants are pretty epic too.   These things grow to about a foot and a half in girth, and if I don’t get there in time, they throw up a huge flower stalk (garish yellow) that is another few feet in height on top of that.

And once they reach that height and girth you can’t cut them easily with a strimmer and their pretty seeds blow merrily all over the mountain.

If ever there was a candidate for glyphosate around here, this would be it.   But it’s way too windy to attempt the chemical attack today. So instead it’s the trusty sharp kitchen knife and kneeler pads and gritted teeth. verbascum field

The tricky thing is I wrote on my To Do List – cut verbascums lower terraces.   And what I should have written was; cut one terrace of verbascums each day.   They have rooted everywhere.   I’m just back from finishing just one terrace which took an hour and a half, and I have seven more terraces to go.

It’s most dispiriting as I really had planned more creative things today.   But that’s the balancing act. You have to maintain what you create.

But the petulant part of me claims that I create nothing on these acres of lower terraces, so it’s all drudge. I’ve even given up mowing the first two terraces which we see from the house.

I just let the horses do their work.   I get horse manure for free, but they don’t quite create the perfect sward one would hope for; lots of divets and bald bits and uric acid circles where they pee.

verbasums slaughteredAnd even with the horses’ help, strimming has to take place or it will become a forest of yet more chestnut seedlings, brambles, thistles and of course, verbascums.   What a shame the horses are picky eaters.

Would I worry so much about the verbascums if I wasn’t so allergic to the flowers? Perhaps not.   But short of getting in a few goats, there’s not much I can do about it.

It’s a windy day, chill, and I have Prunella Scales reading from EF Benson’s Lucia series in my ears for entertainment. So a good walk, on bended knee with a sharp knife will have to be the entertainment for today.

That or lying here in front of the sofa reading a book and eating chocolates. Get thee behind me, Satan!