Adventures in Hugelkultur: a sad tale.

I made a terrible mistake when I started the hugelkultur mounding project.
Backstory: Between the house and garden spot was a bush that buzzed with happy bees and hummingbirds. There was a viney plant intertwined and little pop-up lilies beside it. It was a mass confusion of overgrowth. The little birds loved it, but the flowers were few and far between. Half of the mess seemed to be dead branches. In winter I decided to chop it down and fill the spot with dry root strawberries and pineberries (hopefully to grow and flower next spring).

I didn’t know what the bush and vine were, but there were tubular red flowers which the hummingbirds hovered to drink the nectar. I love hummingbirds and didn’t want to lose them, but I figured pruning back a big, half-dead bush would be a good thing in the long run.

Original bush thing. Notice the trumpet flower.
Winter post-pruning of the bush/vine.
Ugly spot where I should’ve left a bush. I sure hope my strawberries come up.

Here’s where I went wrong: I was simultaneously building my hugelkulturs, the mounds for my garden. As I pruned, I put the dead branches in the bottom of the mound, thinking they were, um, dead.
Imagine my surprise when every single mound began sprouting trumpet vine!
The bush I’d hacked down was indeed dead, but the flowers the hummingbirds had loved were from the vine which had taken over the bush. And here I was, replanting it in every single spot of my garden. Ugh.

Prolific trumpet vine babies having a heyday near the Brussels sprouts.

Along with crabgrass, I’m picking out whole branches of trumpet vine. I’ll probably have to dig up all the mounds in the fall. Boo to not doing my research. Only rotting tree material and vegetation in the bottom of the hugelkultur, friends!

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