A New Garden

Welcome to 'Alan's Boring Garden'!

We moved into our first home in December of last year. It's a really nice place in the suburbs of our local town, with a front and back garden. It's great to have a proper house, rather than renting an apartment as we've previously done. I still have to admit that I prefer the area where we were renting - it was a very exclusive private estate in a village a few miles from our local town. However, it was out of our price range for buying a house, so we've had to move closer to town. That said though, we're still living in a fairly affluent area, and we now have an upstairs and a garden!

At the moment though, the garden areas are nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, the previous owners were unable to tend to the garden, and so it's a little overgrown and 'weedy'. The front garden is tidy enough but needs work, but the back garden is a mess. At the moment, it's covered in ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria). This is a non-native invasive perennial introduced into England by the Romans. Unfortunately, it grows from rhizomes and that makes it pretty resilient. It gets everywhere, and really needs to be sprayed to kill to foliage and the roots need to be dug out. I'm not a fan of chemical control in the garden, but if we want to create a wildlife friendly garden, this has to go.

The offending weed in question is in the bottom-middle to bottom-right of the above photo. Thats not the only place it is growing either. It seems to have spread from a neighbours garden, and currently covers the area in the foreground of the photo, as well as the narrow section at the back of the garden. It also grows all the way down the hedgerow on the right - which goes from the front garden through to the back. That is an awful lot of ground elder.

The other problem we will have is that the entire front garden is covered in weed mesh. For some reason, the previous owners chose an older design, which is completely non-porous. That means the only places where water gets through are the holes cut out for the few limited plants in the garden. It also blocks light penetration. This means that the soil in our front garden is effectively dead in most places. If we remove the mesh all at once, the soil will gradually come back to life. This will create a perfect environment for the ground elder to thrive. So, first we need to get this horrible weed under control (and removed to the extent that is possible) and then we can begin to work on the front garden.

All in all, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Well, I see we but I really mean me, as my partner will most likely prefer that I do all the work! I want a wildlife friendly garden with lots of natural and safe spaces for as many species as possible - she just wants a place with lots of pretty flowers where she can sit with a glass of wine at the weekend! I'm sure I can find a way of achieving both our goals.

So this is what Alan's Boring Garden will be all about. The journey our garden takes from a weed-infested mess, to a fantastic habitat for all sorts of wildlife, whilst remaining a nice place to just 'be'. There will be a few photos of the development and little bits of information along the way. It's going to be an ongoing project, rather than have a fixed end date. This will enable us to change things around as the garden matures, add and remove plants as we see fit, and hopefully vastly improve on what is a very poor space.

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