A Closer Look at the Herbac…(ahem)…the Fence

IMG_5559I had just started taking photos of the main herbaceous beds with the intention of posting a ‘Closer Look’ at them, when I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming urge to attack the fence. The neighbour whose responsibility the fence is has been talking about replacing some of the panels for a little while and we had already ensured the two most urgent panels (just coming into the left of the picture) were accessible behind the bothy.

We were, however, a little concerned about the rest of the fence as it has ivy and Clematis montana growing up the trellis we had attached to our side – and these of course would be affected should these sections need to be replaced. The trellis, painted in my favourite Wild Thyme, was our solution to relieve the brashness of the panels when they first appeared – but as they in turn had replaced rather large, gloomy  and nutrient hungry Leylandii I was more than happy to see them. The clematis was probably planted about 1o or 12 years ago but has flowered poorly in the last few years, and although the ivy no doubt began as a single plant in a 10cm pot it now sprawls, dangles or clings tenaciously to whatever it gets a toehold in, more than happy to squat in the same home as my herbaceous friends.

IMG_5565I had already begun to snip back ivy in the section on the left before starting to take photographs of the borders, disturbing many long since vacant nests and other dry vegetation and triggering an afternoon of tickly coughing – but this close up view of the ivy’s takeover bid was already stimulating my ever-willing creative thought processes… The photographs stopped, the secateurs and loppers were picked up again and the pile of ivy trimmings grew larger and larger as the newly created task of clearing this whole section of fence began. I can already envisage happier plants at the back of the beds and a nice new rose like ‘Paul’s Himalyan Musk’ clambering along the new fence…

IMG_5569It will not be the most straightforward of tasks as once the freshest ivy is removed it reveals the older and drier and thicker stems underneath, which will probably need to be picked or pulled out individually – and it is too early to say whether the trellis can be saved and reutilised. It would certainly be advantageous to us if the fence panels were replaced as this would reduce the degree of thoroughness of ivy-removal required, but at least the quantity of ivy decreases as you move to the right, although conversely this is where the bulk of C montana vegetation is – and a few unseasonal clematis flowers! As you can see in the photo below, some reciprocal snipping has already taken place on the reverse of the fence – perhaps an awareness of action on our side will now prompt faster fence replacement, especially as two new fence panels have been mere spectators of the proceedings for the last month or so…


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15 Responses to A Closer Look at the Herbac…(ahem)…the Fence

  1. Amy says:

    There’s nothing like snipping jobs to produce mission creep for the gardener 😉 Taking out ivy sounds like quite a project, but Paul’s Himalayan Musk would be lovely along there…!

  2. rickii says:

    Ivy can be a marauding beast. More power to you.

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    This is the time of year to be brave with the loppers, Cathy. I hope your neighbours take the hint!

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, I noted he had recently painted the reverse of 2 of these panels, Brian, so perhaps he had changed his mind – which would be a shame 😦

  4. Sam says:

    Secateurs, loppers, saw, hatchet, chainsaw – we use whatever we can to try to keep ivy in check here. It’s a full-on war of attrition. Good luck with your ivy. I’m sure it’ll be worth the effort.

    • Cathy says:

      I am very fond of ivy though, and there is room for the ‘natural’ look in parts of the garden but it would be a good idea to give it a regular trim every so often, even in those parts

  5. croftgarden says:

    It is amazing how a simple maintenance job can turn into a total garden revamp. More power to your elbow!

  6. bittster says:

    Seems to be the season of trimming back and editing. Ivy can be such a thug and the dark heavy color of the species seems gloomy in a small garden. I think you’ll be happy with the change!

    • Cathy says:

      Definitely trimming season! I do still like ivy though, and there is still room and an appropriate place for ivy elsewhere in the garden, I am pleased to say.

  7. Which reminds me: My list for today includes trimming, and it’s already almost 1:30 pm. What a lazy slug I have been. Off I pop……

  8. Ivy does that, a bit if tidying up and two hours later you’re still snipping. The birds love ivy as do the snails who will hide behind it. Did you find there was a dust as you cut? Did it make you sneeze? I always sneeze when I cut it back. Hope panels appear soon, D.

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