It’s not my favourite job, I can say that! But somebody has to try to keep the nettles at bay, and now that it’s relatively dry, and yet with damp ground in near-perfect conditions to release the root tangle, it’s time to yank ’em out around the place.
I’ve developed a strategy for the job: full John Deere overalls tucked into big wellies; plastic hand gloves covered with semi-disposable work gloves and finished off with large marigolds to protect my fore-arms. Brimmed hat against the sun, and I’m ready to attack the stinging leaves, flowers and stems.
I’m not the slightest bit interested in nettle tea, or nettle soup, or special nettle compost (except to see the plants wither and die on the capacious heap along with everything else I’ve thrown on). I just want to get rid, so family and visitors alike can walk safely around the garden without coming into contact with the fierce stings. And so I can hang out the blessings without recoiling from the shock as I brush against the drooping flower heads. The new shoots grow up so fast! It only seems like a week or two since I last cleared them, but here they are back again.
When the job is finished, I can move on to other easier tasks, so I’ve put the nettle-pulling as my first priority. Get the onerous things sorted first, and the easier ones almost take care of themselves! But after an hour of fierce nettle pulling, with interludes of careful pruning of various shrubs that are threatening to grow into trees, I’m beat, and ready for lunch.
Suitably fortified for the next foray, it’s back to the fray, and another wheelbarrow load piled sky-high with stinging leaves. Give us another nice day of sunshine, and I might even persuade myself to get the strimmer going on the edges. Better leave sufficient time in the day though for some reflection on the work around the garden, trying to see it through the eyes of a visitor due later this week from Philadelphia, who has her own courtyard garden of delight deep in the urban ambience. I hope ours is not too wild and woolly — I can’t trim the rampant hedgerows until all the nesting is finished, maybe in September to be safe.