Major removal work at The Garden House May 13 2015

Today at gardening club, Kate and I spent most of the afternoon trying to contain hundreds of snails. It was our job to massively cut back the enormous Acanthus, which was taking over a huge section of the garden right next to where the broody chicken is staying. Acanthus leaves are a great shape and were commonly used in Greek architecture on ornaments and friezes. They’re still grown as ornamental plants nowadays and the striking colour makes a great impact in the garden.  The leaves of this one weren’t quite so ornamental as most of them had been munched on and the plant had grown out of control. So we spent the whole of gardening group today chopping it right back (and chatting), leaving only a few small shoots of new growth.

As an added challenge, the plant was harbouring an entire kingdom of snails which were crawling along the leaves and stalks and sliding around underfoot. It was gross but important to remove them otherwise they were going to multiply and eat everything in the garden, they were literally all over this plant.

Because we were both too squeamish to squash any of the snails (especially as the baby ones are v.cute), we put them in some plastic trugs for Bridge to despatch later (she mentioned boiling water and salt but we chose not to dwell on this too much).

We accidentally trod on a few, which was kind of devastating, but most of them went into the buckets where a modern day version of whack-a-mole ensued. The snails would all try to climb out of the trug, and we would knock them back in. As soon as we poked a few back in, some others would have reached the perimeter on the other side so we were kept very busy indeed. It was SOO disgusting though I now know a great new game to keep my little brothers entertained next time they come to visit. I’m toying with slug-in-a-trug or snail-in-a-pail as a name for it. Either works quite well methinks. We both went a bit soppy when we noticed that some of them were carrying the baby snails on their backs (shells) in their bid for freedom. Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Ehem. Don't think about it. 


Here’s how the plant looked by the end:

So while we were keeping ourselves entertained on the far side of the garden, the rest of the group covered loads of ground…

They dug up a Phormium (Also humungous) involving a lot of hard graft.


Look at what they dug up!


Then tied in the Clematis Armandii against the wall where the Phormium used to be.

Here’s Aniseed seeing what’s occurring.

They removed a load of Alkanet (weeds in the borage family) and planted some Acidenanthera (a gladioli) from the corms saved from last year.

And then potted on lots of dye plants, that is, plants that were traditionally grown to be used for dyeing fabrics. These included woad, weld and madder and perhaps we’ll use them at a later date to try out some natural dyeing. That sounds like my kind of gardening… getting my craft on and not a snail in sight!