Yesterday I decided to divide and move the venerable lovage clump which has been obscuring my loganberry trellis for the last few years, as well as providing a summer hideaway for the cats.
It probably wasn’t the ideal time to move it but I’d suddenly realised I couldn’t stand another year of grappling with it and the loganberries, and anyway, the bed it currently occupies could be put to better use growing tree onions and parsley. (So far the cats have not ventured an opinion, but I shall have to build them a new shelter of some sort.)
Getting the clump out was a struggle. It’s been there a while, it’s put down huge roots, and the clump was pretty gnarly generally. By the time I finished, I stank of celery. Lovage is effectively celery on steriods, with a very powerful smell.
But finally I managed to extract enough material to replant on the other side of the compost bins, in a good rich soil I hoped would encourage it to do its thing.
And then I decided to dig a little more in order to make sure I’d got most of the root out.
Spade went in. Chink. Scrape. Must be a half brick down there (I was over a foot down by this point).
I put the spade in again and levered out a thin terracotta pipe, about a foot long, with a couple of inches diameter. Fine.
Put the spade in again. Chink. Scrape. Another identical pipe.
I put the spade in again …
At this point my husband fetched a trowel and I discovered there were another three identical pipes at the bottom of the hole, lying parallel to one another.
I have no idea.
I’m fairly sure they’re not part of some eccentric sewer system. The house was built in 1903 in suburbia and while the local sewage system struggles on occasion it was conventionally built.
I can only conclude that a former owner put in some sort of primitive garden drainage scheme, though given how thoroughly this garden has been dug over in the twenty years we’ve had it (and that includes digging out the edgings from flower beds hidden under a former patio and having the middle of the garden turned over to build a new patio) I’m surprised that we’ve only just found evidence of this.
What did we do?
We hastily reburied everything and are pretending we never saw it.
Today I shall weed the patch, dig in some compost and then start sowing parsley seed in pots, in between hoping the lovage survives the trauma.