At some point in mid-Spring, the garden goes from looking a little bare and forlorn to being suddenly taken over by great green monsters in the form of overgrown shrubs, hedges and climbers.
This is certainly true in our front garden where the plum cherry hedge, planted by our neighbour to prevent unwitting people from holding onto the unstable handrail between our houses, was threatening to prevent anyone from entering through the front door. We were at risk of becoming a veritable Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
So this week’s Six begins with some of the monster jobs that await me in May – and one I have already tackled.. As ever I am joining in with the Monster of Propagation himself, The Propagator, and his legions of
little seedlings followers. Do check him and them out.
- Cutting back the plum cherry
After blossoming beautifully early in the year, the plum cherry had gone bananas and sprouted an enormous rusty green wig. It was time for a haircut, making sure not to take off the fruit.
There, that’s much more manageable. We can actually get to the front door without running the gauntlet of spiky branches and now this ornamental fruit tree can put more energy into growing its fruit (which are allegedly edible if we get to them before the birds).
2. Dr Franken-Spirea
Our Spirea has gone from being a beautiful, frothy white just a few weeks ago to this mad, zingy lime green. If ever there was a shrub in need of good hard prune this is it. I just need to summon up the energy to tackle it – a bit like wrestling with Medusa.
3. Crazy Campanula
Now I know what you are thinking. This is no monster of a plant. But this little fragment of Campanula sitting so demurely by our front door is just the outer tentacle of a mass of green and purple which takes over the walls of our front garden at this time of year. I can pull out great handfuls of it, not a jot of difference will it make to this delicate thug. Just as well the star-like flowers are so pretty to make up for its smothering nature.
4. Bronze fennel
Another prolific self-seeder in our front garden is this bronze fennel, at its best at this time of year when its feathery fronds are burnished red gold. Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ is an edible herbs with many uses – it can be chopped over salads, or its seeds can be used in breads and cakes.
5. Broad beans and bindweed
The broad beans are now in flower and looking healthy. Behind them are peeping some of this year’s sweet peas. But in the middle you might just spot the biggest monster of them all in this part of the garden. The dreaded bindweed.
I know that summer is on its way when the Phlomis russeliana starts coming into flower. I cut our Turkish sage back hard last year and it looks all the happier for it. Not a monster at all, but you’ve got to admit there’s something sort of sci-fi about those flowers.
I hope all you SOSers out there have a productive weekend, vanquishing any monsters in your own gardens!