Barking Mad

Perhaps it’s memories from my childhood, but there are a few plants grown by my mother, which instilled a fondness for them in me. Hollyhock, lupins, red-hot poker, roses, aster, gypsophila and many others come to mind. Her collection of plants had many origins from either exchanging seeds or cuttings with friends – and visits to botanical gardens were usually very rewarding.

In my last house, I spend a lot of time digging and weeding the garden and it was still disappointing. The only produce which seemed to be happy in the vegetable patch, were leeks and kale. Herbs seemed content enough in what appeared to be lifeless soil and we could grow a wide variety of them. I now like to find easier ways to deal with gardening, digging and weeding are still chores. So when I moved to a very small, damp, dull garden, I grew produce in containers. There is also a small garden at the front of the house which is more like a shrubbery. There are a few perennials for the sake of the pollinators and the bees must be happy at that, having moved into the space between inner and outer walls, they are living in my house!

The shrubs are spreading out and making it more difficult to cut the grass round them, so there isn’t a lot of room. I decided to cover the area with cardboard, then some landscape fabric and spread bark over it. Hopefully it will kill the weeds, grass and moss and I can add some planters along the border which catches the sun first. I hope my solution works, at least it should, one way or another.

Front garden bark

I have already removed crocosmia (Lucifer) from the border next to the window. It’s a beautiful plant but it was so tall it could never stay upright and always fell over, covering the path. I filled that area instead, with tulips and alliums. There were two resident penstemons which were struggling to survive under the crocosmia so they may perk up a bit for next year.


The other side of the bay window is the home of agapanthus, the name of its variety has long since been lost but it’s a beautiful blue. Quite a stunning flower. Alas the area is not weed free so there will be some work in trying to remove long-established weeds which have no intention of giving up their home easily. Peeping through the agapanthus leaves is a pink hollyhock.


The answer for the borders is to add bark as a mulch and the answer to the area around the shrubs is to use it to kill the unwanted vegetation but if that doesn’t work, the bark will provide some healthy nutrients whilst ridding the area of weeds. I think!

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