Of Brambles and Composters

the Bramble Jungle after day 1

even though I did not write anything for some time, we were quite busy in the garden. Mostly with weeding. We attacked the area where our old composters were. One was completely engulfed in brambles, the other was still useable. And boy, was that a fight!

Compost and Brambles

The area where the old composters were has nice soil. One composter was there since before our time (we are currently in the year 3 of our time). And since the old composting area also served as a dumping ground for an occasional maintenance it was completely overgrown with the weeds and brambles. The first year of Our Time we cleared as much of the garden as we could. And also cleared that area as well.

But in 2020 the Covid 19 struck and so we could not do a full maintenance. This area has again gone to the brambles. And by this spring it was completely covered by them. They were quite happy to be left to fend for themselves. Fuelled by the rich soil they have gone wild, creating a “beautiful” bramble jungle as a result.

New Year Resolution

As the New year arrived, so did the New Year resolutions. We were adamant to fight the brambles and regain our composting territory. After all the 3rd year of Our Time (aka 2021) has dawned. So we gathered our tools and heavy duty gloves, and prepared ourselves for the battle. We knew it was not going to be easy, and that the brambles won’t go without a fight. But we knew their weapons well, and with the newfound resolution in our hearts we prepared ourselves for the battles ahead.

The First Bramble War

On a hot and sunny weekend, we made our way to the garden. With a slight dread in our hearts but also big determination, we prepared for the battle. The gloves were sturdy and could withstand the rose thorns, we knew that from the time we transplanted our roses. The shears were sharp and the containers for the branches were ready.

We made our plan. I will go in with the big telescopic shears, and cut the big branches, while Grumpy does the harrowing work of chopping them up and putting them into the containers to be later taken to the Green Waste Yard. The sun was hot. And their thorns were sharp. Every once in a while you could hear a cry of pain. The Brambles were bitting. Their branches were so tangled up, that I would cut one, and then try to pull it, only to find out I am pulling on the wrong branch! But by the end of the first day, we have cleared most of them. We were winning!

The next day – hostages of the Bramble Horde

Even though we were exhausted, sunburned and dehydrated from the previous day. We decided to finish as much as we can, and started the second battle with the Brambles. We were certain we will be able to clear the area of the rest of the branches, and manage to even evict them by digging up their roots. Yeah, right! If only it were that easy!

What seemed to us to be the lush and big Elder tree, turned out to be a dying Elder. Absolutely smothered in brambles. The cut that freed most of it from the Brambles, revealed how little of it is left. While there are still blooms on it, and we will probably manage to make some Elderflower cordial this year as well, I am worried that it is too late to save it.

The bramble, that is tangled in its roots is taking up most of the nutrients and water, and was at the same time screening the leaves from the sun. The leaves are now freed, but the roots are still tangled. The only way to completely free the tree is to take it out together with the bramble. An action we will have to do and that will kill it. The only thing that I can do to salvage the legacy of the Elder tree is to take the cuttings and root them. The tree will die, but its children will live on.

The Elder trees neighbour – the Grey Willow has already succumbed to the Brambles, and is now completely dry. We could not save it. We will remove it completely at the same time we free the Elder Tree. The dream of drinking afternoon tea on the small deck beneath its canopy is now long gone.

The aftermath

By the time we had cut the Brambles out, it was already midday. And we were tired. We cut all that we could see, but there were still some left behind. Since we still had a bit of strength left in us, we decided to uproot as much of the Brambles as we could. So we started with the area around the old overgrown composter.

We knew that the Brambles have rooted in the composter and around it as well. What we did not know was how big their roots really are. We thought we will go fast through the entire area, and that the clearing of the roots will be mush easier than cutting them up. Wrong! Again!

We pulled out only the small section that was in the composter, and we were done for the day. We were too exhausted and could not continue. The new battles with the Brambles lie ahead of us. But until then, here is a little video of our endeavour:

Take care!

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