following meanwhile in Clissold Park…
They’ve been dumping mounds of horse manure over the beds by the house in Clissold Park, the beds I wrote about last year which were being overwhelmed by bindweed, nettles, thistles and buttercup. Mostly bindweed, the others were bit players.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much shit per square yard. In places it’s a foot deep. There were four people working at it. It took them several days. One guy with a mini-bulldozer loading it onto two little dumper trucks. I asked one of the guys if they were planning to dig out the bindweed. He said, no. I said, you’re putting that on really thick aren’t you? He said, that’s what the boss told us to do. He’s over there, ask him. I asked the boss. He said, I’ve been trying to get rid of the bindweed for twenty years. He said that when the lottery funded changes were made, the contractors who turned the old rose garden into herbaceous beds were supposed to have got rid of the bindweed, but they only went a few inches down, and planted on top of it. He said they’re not allowed to use weedkiller. I said, the bindweed is going to love all that manure! He agreed.
It’s all very well to renounce glyphosate but you have to deal with the consequences. You have to do lots of weeding. The RHS can do it, so can the National Trust and some private garden owners. You have to have money, to pay for lots of labour. It’s a sort of return to the past, an abandoning of labour saving technology. The Borough of Hackney has three digger/tractors involved in carting the manure, they’re well up on mechanisation, and they’re not able to do any weeding.
Or you have voluntary labour, people working for themselves in thousands of private allotments and gardens, or giving their time freely in community gardens. They spend hours and hours cleaning little patches of soil. So why don’t the Friends of Clissold Park, who seem to get a good turn-out at their meetings, organise weeding sessions? I’ll go, although I can’t do much. Busy in SE1 and growing older all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing some world-class weeds in the park next summer.
footnote. If the contractors didn’t do what they were supposed to do – prepare the soil properly and get rid of perennial weeds, doesn’t the council have some sort of come back? It seems that when it comes to gardening, you can get away with shoddy work.