I’ve been working on that ruddy chicken fence some more today. I’ve had to start on the section I’ve been avoiding all season. The HONEYSUCKLE. It’s probably about 25 or more years old. I brought it home from a friend’s garden in Vancouver as a gift for my Dad, who used to get all nostalgic about English honeysuckle in gardens when he was a child. The three or four cuttings I brought all thrived under his TLC and became rampant creatures that took over entire fences, and in the past couple of years, have begun demolishing the fences board by board.
The problem for me is that in the chicken run (Run #1 for anyone keeping track of where I’m at with all this fencing) the honeysuckle affords wonderful shade and shelter for the hens when they’re in that run. From the house side of the fence, it’s just so darn pretty. I really don’t want to take it down. I want it to be there. Plus, it’s under the walnut tree, and walnuts are well known for exuding juglone, which lots of plants don’t like and won’t grow near. Honeysuckle apparently thrives on it.
On the down side, I have to get in there and cut it back pretty hard every spring anyway because it has big ambitions to take over the walnut trees and sends up huge runners every year, that twine themselves around the branches of the tree. Also, the fence under the honeysuckle is falling apart. And somewhere under there, there is a hole in the wire. I know this, because the last flock of chickens used it as their entry to the great beyond for their free ranging forays, pretty much daily. Also, I see the cat emerging from somewhere in there occasionally. I hate to cut off her access to the rat population, but I do want to contain the chickens, so…the fence has to be re-done, and the honeysuckle has to be dealt with.
My plan is kind of fluid. I’m hoping that my destruction is not complete enough to stop the honeysuckle from starting again, so to that end, I decided to just clip back one side at a time, so that I can see where the main trunks are coming out of the ground, and so I can get the wire off, replace the boards and hopefully leave a few stems of the honeysuckle to come back and take over again. I don’t know if it will work. My neighbour and I cut one back pretty ruthlessly about 10 years ago so he could put in some fence on his side, and despite his care and attention, that honeysuckle has never really been as strong again. Well, maybe that’s a good thing.
Having finished clipping one side today, I have learned that the hole the chickens and cat were/are using is not under the honeysuckle. Bother. So why does it look like that’s where they’re coming through when I’m watching from the other side? I guess I’ll find out eventually.