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A place for my Workings, my Weavings ...
oh, and my more mundane crafts as well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gardening: Medb vs. Japanese Knotweed ...

Round 1, fight!

Oh my goodness, suddenly I understand what my Mother used to mean when she'd talk about her startlement at finding that moving the chesterfield was suddenly harder than she remembered ... without taking into account, of course, that it had been a decade since the last time she'd tried.

Two days ago, you couldn't see the tops of the Knotweed above
the line of the retaining wall.

So, I went out today armed with a sharp pair of telescoping cutting shears with the intention of doing battle with the invader which has suddenly sprung up above the level of the retaining wall. This stuff grows horribly fast and, as the only way to really get rid of it is to dig up every last bit of the rhizomes (root system) this will likely not be the last time I will do battle with it.

The North-facing group already towering over my
Rosemary and Uva Ursi.
The East-facing group which also gives you a brief look at the slope
of the cliff going down beside the retaining wall to the truckyard below.

I started with the East-facing group as it was actually the harder of the two to get two ... requiring me to sit on the edge of the retaining wall and drop approximately 2.5 feet to the slope. That's about the point where I started to realize this would be harder than I'd initially thought as there is a 50% angle to the slope and very little solid purchase. It took a while to hack through the stems and I had to balance myself so I could stand in a crouch, leaning forward and reaching with my arms to reach to the back of the grouping ... all without toppling myself down the cliff. Once that was done, I then had to haul myself back up the retaining wall and over into the yard (harder than it sounds when one is out of shape :-p )

I then approached the North-facing group warily, getting down there seemed at first to be a much simpler prospect than what I had just accomplished. I quickly discovered, as I made my way down the grassy slope  of the yard along the retaining wall, that the fact that the damp grass extended in large patches a fair way down the cliff was going to make things tougher, not easier. Like standing on ice, it was ... but I persevered doing yet another insane balancing act and refusing steadfastedly to allow my thoughts to wander in the direction of what I would do if I lost my balance and fell. I stubbornly hacked my way through that grouping.

Shot of the same scene as the first picture after the
invasive plant battling has been accomplished.

By the time I finished and slip-crawled my way back up to the yard, I was trembling like a leaf from the combination of adrenaline and exertion but the job is done. Suffice it to say, the next time I undertake this task (and I know there WILL be an next time), I'm going to avail myself if some climbing rope and approach it a bit more safely/intelligently