And back to the garden! After removing all of the crazy paving on the bottom right hand side of the garden, it became apparent how much of a nightmare job it was going to be ridding my garden of the dreaded Muscari bulbs!
They were more entrenched in the garden than I had originally given them credit for (swines!) and it was obvious it was going to take me days if not weeks to get rid of them. You can also see from the picture above the damage they were causing to the stone walls, completely collapsing in places 😦
Due to the time of year I was trying to remove the Muscari, they were in fact dying back and were not always easy to spot on the surface. Once I started digging under the surface of the soil, which I am very pleased to report is a lovely light, easily workable soil unlike my old garden which was solid clay, I was gob-smacked by the quantity of the little blighters under the surface. They must’ve been breeding like rabbits for the full 4 years and I could’t get over the size of the clumps I was pulling out.
Now due to the fact that I have a weak back (I coughed when I was 19 and popped a disc!) the majority of the work I have done in the garden has been done using hand tools. Being on your hands and knees for hours on end digging through soil with your bare hands might sound like hell to some people, but for me, this was pure pleasure. It gave me the opportunity to assess the soil closely and there were 2 things that stuck out like a sore thumb. The first was the volume of stone that was in the soil. Now, I am not talking small to medium sized stones that would be great for aiding drainage, I am talking mini rocks! I knew I had to try and get some of them out if I was ever going to be able to work the soil properly. The second thing I noticed, and in my opinion, the most worrying, was the complete lack of worms in this bed. I think I found 3 in the entire area and I was digging down a good 2 foot in order to remove the Muscari.
To strip the whole area took me approximately a week and I must’ve filled 3 large garden waste bags full of just bulbs. The patches of grass that had grown through the crazy paving was relatively easy to remove due to the softness of the soil so that helped, but I swear by this point I was literally dreaming of Muscari when I went to bed at night – my new nemesis!
Whilst trying to remove my ‘nemesis’from underneath the stone wall as they were literally coming up everywhere, the wall started collapsing. So, with trowel and fork in hand, I had no choice but to start making my way up the garden and start work on the second bed.
Due to the fact that my garden is on a slope (not something I have had much experience of, but as always, willing to learn!) all of the weight of the soil and plants were pushing forward onto the already unstable wall. My only option was to dig a 1 foot gulley down the entire length of the wall to relieve the pressure on the stone before the whole thing collapsed. Seriously, you only had to touch it and another section would fall down. This also meant that I would have to tackle to area under the pylon which didn’t fill me with joy because as I have mentioned previously, it was just an overrun jungle of bramble and weed.
It took me a full weekend to tackle the area under the pylon alone, but the soil was lovely and the area was full of healthy, fat worms 🙂
Once I had cleared away the area under the pylon, removed the unhealthy Clematis and Honeysuckle, I was able to access the second bed much easier and could start on the mammoth task of removing even more Muscari.
The whole area took me about 3 weeks as I had to dig down (using a hand fork!) by about 3 feet to ensure I got all of the dreaded bulbs out. You’ll notice from the above picture that the first wall is now half of its’ original height at the poxy thing kept collapsing as I was working near it.
What took me approximately 3 weeks to remove, took my long suffering Husband about 4 trips to the skip! Couldn’t believe the volume of bulbs that I had removed!!
On the plus side, I had finished this area and was able to move onto the next! 🙂