Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I know a bank where the wild buttercup grows

Our neighbours have shamed me into doing something about the front garden. Gardening is not my thing. We had a gardener for a while; he didn't do very much but he did mow the lawn and strim the edges and hedges once a fortnight in the summer. For the last two summers though I've had a builder's yard in the back garden and a builder's van in the front. Strangely enough, the gardener got disheartened and moved on to pastures (or lawns) new. Since then, the grass has grown, the dandelions have flourished, and the silvery coloured hedge plant of mystery has been slowly choked by goose grass and buttercups.

Our neighbours are mostly retired or semi retired (except the neighbour who makes my garden look good by using hers to store empty beer cans, broken buggies and stained mattresses. I am grateful to her). Gardens are immaculate, polished, worthy of a far wider audience than the eight of us and the scores of school children who pass this way each morning. With regular mowing, my garden doesn't compare to theirs, but still passes as acceptable. I have tried convincing them (and myself) that I am creating a butterfly meadow, but unfortunately the schoolchildren seem to mistake butterfly meadow for dustbin, and use it to file empty crisp packets, etc. Lovely.

Since Bob chased off the last gardener by effectively removing the garden, he offered to find a replacement. So far this has meant that on the rare days he visits himself, he brings a mower and does several hours in the garden before deciding there's no time to get on with his building work. I am attempting to discourage this, but with minimal no success. So, no more gardener, it's down to me. No problem, I have a trusty rusty lawnmower, I have hands, and I'm not afraid to use them. To the back of the house, where my nice manual mower sits protected by the overhang of the roof. No mower. To the garage, again no mower. Apparently Bob has taken my elderly but perfectly functional mower to the tip with the many bags of landfil. Marvellous.

OK, so, no mowing today (sorry neighbours). I start on the flower beds instead. Two hours later I realise that it is time to take Little Fish for her swimming lesson, and I have cleared approximately one metre of bed. We don't usually have buttercup like this, I don't know why it's suddenly appeared. Actually I think it's quite pretty, but the neighbours disagree. I have also within that one metre discovered a nesting slug (shudder), and a tribe of red ants. And assorted other minibeasts. Little Fish is intrigued.

Tomorrow then to finish clearing the flowerbeds and to try to track down a lawn mower. I need advice - what can I plant in this particular flowerbed (sunny in the mornings, shady by 2PM, right outside my bedroom window, on display to the world and his wife) that is completely maintenance free, will grow to window height but no more (and preferably without needing pruning), will choke out the buttercups and goose grass, and will generally look absolutely marvellous and fantastic? I don't think garden gnomes and statuettes would cut it somehow.

I am additionally debating whether to remove the lawn altogether and go for a 2nd parking space. But the only person who ever parks on the lawn is Bob, and I can't quite overcome my lingering vestiges of hope that one day he will finish and there will be no need for a space for him anymore.

Whether or not I swap lawn for parking (immediate neighbours have just gravelled the lot, saves a lot of effort but is horrible for wheelchairs), I have a further issue. Our upstairs neighbour's front door is to the side of our house. There is a little footpath beside my lawn leading to her entry. No one uses this footpath, everyone cuts across my lawn, as do at least 30% of the children making their way to school. Putting a low fence up to mark my boundary would either keep people off my garden (I don't actually mind them walking on the grass, I do mind them dumping their rubbish on it, exercising their dogs on it, parking their bikes on it, sitting and having a fag on it) or just irritate the people who are going to do this anyway, who will then take pleasure in destroying any fence or shrub type thing I put up. Thoughts?

I'd post pictures but a) the camera batteries are still charging (did find the charger though, yay me), and b) it's dark.

Gardening and Swimming, that's two lots of exercise in one day and definitely too much for me. Despite sitting up until ridiculously late last night Mog was still awake by 4 this morning, so I am off to bed. Exercise needs rewarding though, and I'm pretty sure I have some chocolate somewhere. I was hunting for chocolatey goodness online and came across this - what do you think?
What does your chocolate say about you?

What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You

You are sweet, mellow, and easily satisfied.

You don't like anything too intense and dramatic.

Deep down, you're a kid at heart... and you're nostalgic for the past.

You are honest and straight forward.

You have a distinct personality, and you make your opinions known.

And while people like that you keep it real, you can come off as judgmental.

You love being by yourself and thinking. Developing your own theories and ideas is fun.

You feel lost when you're forced to be social. Being with other people can be lonely for you.


1 comment:

Michelle said...

Use lavender in your garden. It starts small and then grows up into a bush that you have to tame once in a while. It smells great and doesn't care how much sun or shade you have. Ours is in our shady area and it is doing well (except for the area my husband dug up to fix the water pipe. But that is another story).



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