Pulling the nettles

Ouch! The nettles are overwhelming the clothes-drying space!

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.


  1. Nettle removing has one satisfaction to me – in light dry Allendale soil a two handed pull often brings out a complete plant with many budding roots that you know would have made more nettles.

  2. Wild and woolly gardens are the thing now Larry for all the bugs, beasties, and birds, so don’t strim and chop too much!! See the blue heart campaign on FB!
    Hope to get up to visit both soon. !

  3. There’s never a problem with lack of wild and woolly places in our garden 🙂 but if I can keep the stinging nettles down so the grands, or other casual visitors can safely walk about, I’m happy! The duck section is left wild, anyway, and all the corners and perimeters are havens for invertebrates and even larger creatures! But like David, I’m always delighted to get as much of the nettle root system out as possible, forestalling further encroachment in their next growing effort.

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