The great thing about a bit of – what my mum would call – “slash and burn” is the misguided sense of power at the end of it. But even though I know this is a job I will have to repeat – again and again – the temporary transformation from swampy jungle to clear waterway is deeply satisfying.
To be honest, I’m not that good at being a Dictator. Not with the garden, anyway. I like things to ramble and go a bit wild at the edges. I love the wildlife it attracts. So I was a bit concerned that clearing the stream would take away some of the variety of habitat… I do want to encourage it as much as possible. But this man-made channel was built to help take the run-off from the hills above the village and, this being Somerset, we know all about flooding. So I’m not taking any chances.
Near the little waterfall, I notice this sprawling plant, which looks a bit like watercress but smells pungent when I touch it. It’s both sweet and stringent at the same time. MNM, who has set up the lounger to watch The Dictator at work, takes a photo and goes off to research it.
Meanwhile, I tackle the brambles, ivy, grasses, dock, old man’s beard, elder, hawthorn, hazel, vast quantities of conkers and their husks, twigs and leaves. It’s amazing how much there is. Heaps and heaps.
Before……and afterThe ‘mystery’ plantSporting my “through a hedge backwards” look, with every excuse.
MNM returns from the cottage (and wifi) with a big smile on his face. “Mentha Aquatica!” he proclaims, then sits down and sips away at his “restorative” cup of DMV mint tea. I look on from the trench, bedraggled.
I’m still not 100% what this plant is, as the water mint I’ve found online has hairy, serrated leaves, and purplish stems… Perhaps you know what it is?
PS. MNM is still alive and well
PPS. I’ve left a good bit of the mint, so it will recolonise. Apparently it’s loved by hoverflies, and bees. Fantastic!