I’ve blogged about our garden a few times in the past; it’s a really decent size with a large lawn and a patio area and it’s one of my favourite things about this house. There’s more than enough space for a massive trampoline, the girls’ paddling pool in the summer and various other slides/tents/swingball-type things, without ever feeling cluttered. However, although it might seem like a big blank space would be easy to manage, we still find various common garden issues which make it harder to maintain. We’re not afraid to get stuck in and get our hands dirty to sort things out ourselves, but sometimes you have to admit that you’re beyond your level of expertise and pass the job to someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Here’s a few of the things we’ve struggled with:

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is probably one of THE most common problems here in UK gardens and although it might seem tricky to deal with for the average gardener, there are companies out there who have the expertise to deal with japanese knotweed eradication with relative ease. Knotweed can look unsightly but if it’s left to go wild, it can even cause structural issues with your buildings, so asking the professionals to deal with it is a really good idea!

Slugs

Last year, I thought I’d have a go at growing some tomatoes, strawberries and a few herbs. They were all doing really well, until a bunch of slugs came along and made a very quick meal of them! I don’t like using strong chemicals, but my mother in law swears by putting crushed eggshells around her seedlings as the slugs don’t like to crawl across them, and so will leave your plants alone.

Ivy

Our next door neighbours seem to have a love affair with ivy – it grows over almost their whole property and they seem to be quite happy to let it do so. This was fine, until the burgeoning growth started to push one of our fences down. The trouble with ivy is that it’s seriously hardy and even harsh chemicals don’t always kill it off. Ivy needs to be attacked from the root and some people advocate using a mixture of boiling water, white vinegar and salt to kill it without using pesticides.

Mosquitoes

Living by a body of water, as we do, means that we have mosquitoes buzzing around for about 9 months of the year, and only the super cold weather kills them off. Lots of people use citronella but the sheer amount of them here would never be put off by a candle. We also don’t like spraying DEET on the kids because it’s such a harsh chemical and they’d need to be showered in it on a daily basis to have a decent effect here. We’ve invested in an electric fly killer, which sits in the hallways and also deals with other flying beasties, and it’s the first summer where we’ve had a moment’s peace!

Wildlife

Living in the countryside means that as well as the usual cats and foxes that everyone has to deal with, we also regularly encounter moles, voles, badgers, bats, egrets, herons and many more animals on a daily basis! We love them usually, but they do sometimes bring problems. Largely we let them go about their business, but it does get annoying keeping our lawn in good order only to wake up to a dozen molehills over the grass! We haven’t come up with a kind solution to this yet, so for now we’re just trying to live peacefully with them.