Removing enormous ivy roots


Presumably you know the story of Jack and the beanstalk? If not shame on you, and maybe you should look it up. These old amoral fairy tales are perfect for our time. They are truer to life than the sugar coated stories that children are reared on nowadays. There is no messing around with right, wrong and undue moralising. It is left for the reader to decide, and think about.

In Jack and the beenstalk the giant was a bully and thief. Jack kills him. Was Jacks response proportional to the theft of a magic harp committed by the giant or not?


The definition of murder in UK law is ‘one person kills another with intention to cause death or serious injury unlawfully’.

Jack cut the beanstalk down when Gogmagog was on it. There is intent, and it would be very difficult to argue otherwise. He knew the giant was on the beanstalk. He knew the beanstalk would crash to the ground when chopped down. He knew that death or serious injury would result.

I used to love academic law.

Behind our shed something akin to the beanstalk had sprouted. Not as quickly, for sure, taking more like twenty years as opposed to the days required when magic beans are planted.

Gogmagog might have been at the top for all I know and ready to roar:-

I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

In case you hadn’t guessed, back in the real world, English Ivy had sprouted, unreachable and untouchable growing as it did behind the shed inches from the fence at the Back of Beyond.

The shed has now gone. The ivy hasn’t.

Wondering if there was an easy way to remove english ivy (Hedera helix), I chanced across a post suggesting that it would be possible to gently remove ivy and brush away the leaves.

After smiling to myself about this for the briefest of moments, I moved on, checking my L & S for the meaning of Hedera. I discovered that Hedera is the literal Latin word for ivy, so zero out of ten for the botanists originality quotient.

L & S also told me that Hereda was sacred to Bacchus and hence wound around the thyrssus. Thryssus being a bacchic wand tipped with ivy.

Ignoring the wise words whispered by the internet, I started to gently persuade the ivy to leave the fence with an axe and saw.

The roots are thicker than my arm, and are not keen to be persuaded. Dark and deep they go into the earth, grown and entwined around small pebbles and larger bricks. And this linked to the vulnerable fence is making them difficult to remove.

I’m sawing the roots out in chunks. Good for me physically and probably helping me to develop mental fortitude as well.

I’m digging down to below ground level, removing as many roots as I can, and will spread poison over the stump. I’m not entirely chuffed, in fact distinctly dechuffed with spewing venom in the garden. There is no other way of removing enough of the roots to stop the ivy, resurfacing under the woodshed (and fence) like a phoenix or more likely Hydra.

I have nothing against hedera which is good for wildlife and in the right quantities adds a certain dark something to a garden. Despite our gardens small size (13metres long and 6 metres wide), there is plenty more on the run so its not going anywhere soon. I will keep enough for wildlife purposes.

It gets dark early at this time of year, and when it did and the temperature dropped, it was time to do something inside.

More ivy removal pix coming soon …

Besos, baci and Pax,


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