Yesterday, I was sick. Unable even to creep out into the garden to supervise the new Engineer and his assistant. I may have been laid low by one of the many nasty seasonal bugs doing the rounds, or quite possibly by my own vegetarian cooking. The cause is immaterial. The effects are dire.
It was previously agreed that, this week, the Engineer would spread the compost (more properly, fertiliser, I think, but there is confusion surrounding the use of the word “kompoost” here in Egypt). That was why I had cleared the herbaceous borders, pruned the shrubs, moved some baby plants. And it was also agreed that we would start work on a second raised bed.
After 24 hours, I had to be out in the garden again. Really, a true gardener is lost without her plot!
The truth dawned. Not just herbaceous borders but all areas of soil remotely resembling a border had been buried under a mound of black “kompoost”. To add insult to injury, it was around the trunks of every single one of the Indian laurels in the hedge, spilling onto scrubby patches of grass, even feeding the odd comfrey plant (that is supposed to be there purely to provide….er, well, compost of the liquid kind).
Of all the plants we might have intended to feed and encourage to grow, the Indian laurels are probably the last. Their invasive roots are everywhere, upwardly mobile even into the top of the raised beds; they rob the soil of nutrients; they tower over lesser members of the plant kingdom with domineering arrogance; even the odd branch, chopped down in the summer and left by mistake at ground level, has taken root exactly where it fell.
The odd thing is I can’t find any more bags of compost for the raised beds in the kitchen garden , which – I thought we had agreed – are a second priority for the stuff. We seem to have come full circle…after cutting them right down to size during the summer, the Indian laurels have won!