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Shingle/membrane border dilemma



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,864
    Lived on a farm near Stowmarket as a child ... lived and worked in Halesworth when I first married then moved to a village between there and Framlingham when I had children. Relatively recently transplanted up here but I’m still a Tractor Girl (and hoping for better things) 😎 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Just occurred to me that I have a spade with a pointed end. If the membrane is getting delicate then maybe just scraping away a circle of gravel then attempting to dig up clumps of anything perrenial might be tried.  
  • IlikeplantsIlikeplants Posts: 894
    edited May 2021
    I have the same problem in a border at the front. It’s a nightmare. Why would anyone do that when weeds land on the top anyway. The membrane I have is like very thick black plastic like a compost bag and it does break in pieces when you pull at it but so heavy to lift up due to the gravel, roots and soil in top and plants catching it, growing through it. I’ve only managed to get rid of a little as it’s back breaking work before giving up as it just takes up too much time and I have too many plants and bulbs there now. Not much help, just commiserations.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,426
    I think the first thing to decide is which plants you want to keep and what to get rid of. Then take out anything that you definitely don't want to keep so it will be less to work around. Any perennials that you want to keep (eg the bugle,  the one with the blue flowers) can be lifted and potted up temporarily if that would make things easier. For the membrane it's really a case of working your way gradually along the border, brushing the gravel aside and lifting pieces of membrane, cutting it (a sharp knife is easiest) as necessary to get it out from around plants you want to keep. The gravel can go back on and it'll gradually get worked in or you can gently fork over the soil to mix it in if you prefer. Then comes the fun bit of deciding what else you want to plant. I think the whole thing would look instantly tidier if you cut a nice clean edge on the lawn as well.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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