- John Sankus
- 18 Sep 2012
I have recently got back on my feet after 15 months due to a bit of a bump in the car, and the garden is naturally looking a little worse for wear. To paint a picture:
The garden borders an old mill stream to the north - there are a few conifers and laurels between the water and the garden... This border is about 140 feet long. At the furthest point west from the house, a wall begins and curves around the rest of the garden, giving a shape kind of like a right-angled triangle, but with a curved hypotenuse. The wall is extremely overgrown with ivy and bramble.
Anyway, there is a lot of grass, which I have cut - the garden is very uneven and it will never be a lawn again, I fear. In the north eastern corner there is a patch around 5m x 8m that was snarled up with dock and nettle and some kind of ornamental grass that takes over if you let it... anyway, I have mostly cleared that - that will probably end up covered in something - bark mulch or gravel - don't know yet.
There was once a large sycamore tree a few metres from the wall. That was cut down before we came and the bits of it lie against the wall, rotting away covered in bramble and ivy. I'm happy for them to be there - they provide a habitat for all sorts of things. (Now we get to the problem bit... :-))
The area immediately in front of the sycamore stump was a strange sort of wilderness - thistle, dock, but mostly a carpet of ground elder which no doubt moved in as soon as the sycamore came down and before grass had a chance to take in the newly unshaded spot.
I want to put a pond there. No fish - just whatever decides to make a home there. So I am digging it all up. Naturally, I am having trouble with roots - the sycamore stump is easily four feet in diameter and threw out a fairly large network of roots - but I will work through that. There are no other plants there at all, so it is a fairly easy matter of digging up the ground elder and getting rid of it (I say fairly easy - I realise that one square millimetre of root could see it return, but it wil be under two feet of water and a pvc liner soon enough...
Anyway, I am finding lots of bulbs under the soil - two types mainly. One type is very small, and has a brown furry husk. The other varies from the size of a silverskin onion to the size of a small onion. They are pure white, and many have short (about 10mm) white roots sticking out of them. The small white ones are teardrop shaped and don't usually have the roots. The larger ones are almost round with this frill of rootlets. I wondered what they were. I also dug up a mass of tubers that look a bit orangey-brown on the outside, white on the inside, and smell strongly of turnip.
Any ideas gratefully digested! Thanks