Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hedgerow update: Rubus fruticosus - encouraging a thug

When I took on the plot, there were already several brambles growing. They were quite out of control: mostly growing around the boundary, and giving fruit, but I regarded them as more of a nuisance than anything else. A few of them I dug up completely and consigned to bonfire piles.

As the allotment's edges began to be tamed I started to merely cut them back, relocating some of them. This year, they can come into their own.

I've made a blunder with the gorse. I was over-keen to get it into the ground. The dogs, when they were still permitted at the allotment, would run around the fringes of the plot where the gorse was planted, and a lot of them got uprooted.

Over winter, grass has been growing on those that remained, and I'm going to have to do a lot of weeding. It's preying on my mind, every day makes the weeds worse, but and old injury to my knee cartilage has flared up, which makes getting down to the plants' level for a good weeding problematical, so I'll just have to do what I can with the hoe, and let nature take its course. It'll be interesting to see who wins a fight between grass and gorse at this early stage.

I still have 40 or so gorse plants in modules. They are much bigger than their siblings in the ground. So, the lesson learned is: keep your gorse in modules for their first year. I'm going to put those plants into pots and wait until they are definitely big and ugly enough to outgrow most weeds before putting them into the ground.

But back to the brambles. The dozen or so around the boundaries will put out their massive runners soon. I'll train them along the hedgerow line, pinning them down, either with stones, or these artificial grass pegs. Plants propagated therefrom I'll either leave in situ, (especially where they are supplementing gaps in the gorse), or replant, especially along the Southern boundary. Which is worthy of another blogpost.