Each summer, I've generally been on top of the pruning back of some of our backyard monsters... the combination of rain and warm weather usually means that some of these larger plants grow like crazy in the space of a week or even days! However, this summer, we have been house-sitting and only dropping by our own pace very briefly. Which means that some of our plants have had a good month or so to grow out of control... (thankfully, the blackberry infestation appears to have mostly been dampened... and so, it only had a couple of small shoots here and there!).
The worst of these fast growing offenders was our grapevine... which I had already pruned back before we went to house-sit. Now, it has really escaped it's space and is steadily encroaching upon the neighbouring yard... and it is a thick tangle of leaves and vines and fruit... and a lovely little buffet for wasps!
Now, the original design plan from house head-office (still in progress...) is to grow the vines along the stone wall by attaching a wooden trellis. It's something that is often suggested... but I think, until I go and do it myself, it won't get done! Either that, or I'm being subtly ordered to go and do it... I'm a little dicey on picking up on that!
So, the vines have already taken it in their own hands (leaves...) and started to grip the stone and wrap themselves around the corner and along the stone seperator! Interesting... I didn't know that they could grip on that little a foothold, but apparently it is possible! However, it isn't really a lasting solution... when winter comes, the grip won't be strong enough I think!
One nice benefit of the overgrown vines is that the basil plants underneath have been shaded from the direct glare of the Sun. Which means that they have started thriving again! So, we have a replenished stock of basil for cooking and for pesto making!
Hidden behind all the leaves of the grapevine were about 15 large bunches of grapes... which would have been really nice if I had been on top of it and picked them in time. Now, they are starting to rot and are attracting large amounts of wasps (which thankfully haven't built a home nearby...). This means that I have to reach in and push away the leaves, and try and cut down the bunches of grapes so that they drop to the ground without pissing off the wasps too much! I'm a bit of a chicken, so I'm using a hedge shear for additional distance between me and the wasps! I don't really want to use the secateurs as that means that you really need to stick your hands right into the danger zone!
After cutting a few of the bunches, I got into a nice rhythm... push and trim the leaves aside to get a good sight on the fruit stem, target the shears whilst moving it slowly into position... cut and jump back as the fruit falls to the ground and the wasps starting flying around like crazy! Yes, yes... I know that getting stung by a wasp isn't the worst thing that can happen to someone... but I would still prefer not to get stung!
So, after a little while, all the fruit bunches were on the ground (I had to shake to shake the vine a bit to get some to drop... which further annoyed the wasps...). I had thought to leave the fruit down on the ground until the next day so that the wasps would have time to clear... or at least get chased away by birds (do birds eat wasps?).
However, it was subtly suggested to me that it would be a GREAT idea to clean it up straight away... so, with a long handled shovel... I gingerly picked up the fruit bunches and got them into the disposal bucket. I have no idea why, but once the fruit was in the bucket, the wasps all flew away... does anyone know why that happens? Was it too exposed a position for them?
Anyway, all through this little punishment for procrastinating on a job... a nice little butterfly was just sitting on the wall near me. Just sitting and watching... seemingly unbothered by the spectacle and the wasps... I am really really really thankful that I didn't discover a wasp nest or anything horrible like that... well, not that I had noticed. Perhaps they have made a house in our attic roof... or in the neighbour's yard! I hope not... finger crossed!
I do love gardening... but this was a none too subtle reminder that it is an ongoing job! The growth doesn't stop for anyone! So, time to get back on top of the little list of garden chores... I had better dig up those annoying little blackberry shoots before they turn into a similar sized monster.
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