Trench Warfare

It was a fairly modest ambition, as I thought. Just dig up a patch of the Crocosmia (aka Montbretia – you know when plants go under an alias they’re bound to be trouble) that was taking over the front bed – and get rid of those little nettles springing up while I was at it – so I had somewhere to plant a wider variety of annuals, maybe even discover something that rabbits didn’t like to eat.

About half the corms I dug up in total

You would have thought a decade’s experience in IT projects would have warned me to be very wary of all those little jobs that start with the word ‘just’. Especially if they continue with the word ‘while’. Two weeks, and a barrow-load of corms* later, and I had cleared my first patch, at least provisionally. I’ve a horrible feeling that it was the Crocosmia that was keeping the nettles in some sort of check – for some very small nettle plants, they had an awfully large amount of root. Perhaps, like Iran and Iraq in the eighties, I should have just left them battling it out so they couldn’t get expansionist anywhere else. And there were definite signs of bindweed root in the soil too, just waiting for a bit of space and light to spring. I think I’ve got it all out, but you never know…

Two feet down, many more to go

Two feet down, several more to go...

Still, that’s a couple of feet cleared, which will have to do me for this year. If I manage to hold the territory (and it’s by no means certain that I will) I shall use it as a bridgehead for next year’s campaign and press on.

Actually, this particular battle is no more than gardening karma. Many many moons ago when I had my first garden, I happily planted a pack of Crocosmia corms along the fence I shared with my neighbour. He – despite being both a man, and actually extremely knowledgeable about gardening – was a genuinely nice person who didn’t believe in putting off beginners by patronising them with well-meant advice, so he didn’t say anything to stop me.

I expect he’s still digging them up even now.

*I wonder whether anyone has considered using Crocosmia for carbon sequestration? They certainly manage to bury a huge amount of vegetable matter in the soil.

9 Responses to Trench Warfare

  1. R::B says:

    I can sympathise…

    We also have a few crocosmia that need lifting.
    Of course, when I say “a few”, I mean a hundredweight. The thing is, they actually look quite nice in all their speary greenery and orangey floweriness…so I put it off for a few months. Of course, when I say “a few months”, I mean three years. I never learn!

    The best thing to do with them, I reckon, is indulge in a spot of guerilla gardening… They’ll look much better on the verge of a road, or a traffic island. And also become someone else’s problem.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I’m working on the assumption that I’ll never actually get rid of them, just keep them in check somewhat. So we get the flowers and all that, just not EVERYWHERE

  3. Dom says:

    So you’ve decided to declare war on Crocosmia and I bet you never found any WMD’s in all your digging. You’ll now be embattled trying to keep the last of it under control suffering from waning public opinion while the Nettles get more and more belligerent and stop bowing to pressure and sanctions. People will never learn ūüôā

  4. disgruntled says:

    Look, this was a perfectly legal conflict, on the grounds that a) they started it and b) er, it will annoy the French.

    If it’s good enough for Lord Goldsmith, it’s good enough for me

  5. Sarah says:

    I have ‘guerilla gardened’ a large number of crocosmia from our garden to the verge in the lane. My neighbour said they’ll look nice – and has done the same…

    There is a large number to go a similar way this spring as well…

  6. disgruntled says:

    I’d be worried they were just regrouping, ready to reinvade. I suppose if you have a very stout wall…

  7. Anne says:

    Um, Montbretia is bad? Yours in anxiety, v. nervous amateur gardener.

  8. disgruntled says:

    It’s not bad exactly, as R::B says it’s got the nice spiky leaves and the orange flowers, but it does spread and once established it’s hard to get rid of. OTOH, it’s probably quite good at suppressing bindweed.

  9. […] compels me to state that I wouldn’t mind finding someone willing to pay me cold hard cash for crocosmia corms or, come to think of it, ground elder roots, especially if they’re willing to dig them up […]

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