Disgrace

IMG_3009Our garden is a disgrace.  Sincerely, a disgrace.  Not a “fishing for compliments” disgrace but a “hang my head in shame” disgrace.  When we bought this house eight years ago it certainly wasn’t for the garden.  We had left a narrow but very long garden at our last house which, over the 25 year we lived there, had been transformed from a long narrow nothingness into an extension of myself.  It was the place that I discovered my love of, nay obsession with, horticulture.  It was my creation, my schoolroom, my solace.  Every spare hour of daylight was spent out there and a fair smattering of crepuscular ones.  I found a new friend in my equally devoted neighbour and we enjoyed mutual encouragement and mischief.  When eventually I walked away I didn’t turn my head, excited by prospects of new projects.

We searched our new home town for many months before we found, and bought, the kind of house I never imagined we would live in.  Sea views, large bay windows, period features, all too wonderful for the likes of us.  There was one downside to this dream, what lay behind; small, reached by treacherous brick steps, heavy on the hard landscaping, over-generous on the planting, measly with the imported topsoil.  It was a compromise but we convinced ourselves that bijou was good, it would make life easier, taking the pressure off.  But we have not bonded, me and the new garden, there is no love, no loyalty.  I have soothed my hortie itch by working for another, I have lived vicariously through other people’s masterpieces.  There is guilt, there have been promises, there have even been short-lived flurries of work.  As a wise man once said, perhaps the only answer is to “Rip it up and start again”.

Every piece of wasteland must have a buddleja and we are no exception.  Not quite the usual invader of nook and cranny as it is a cultivar planted by the previous owner, probably “Black Knight”.  Today its felty, icing sugar-coated leaves mocked me as I once again resolved to sort out this wilderness.

13 thoughts on “Disgrace

  1. My own experience has been the opposite of yours. We left a place with wonderful sea views and an impossible garden (clay, salt spray, deer) and moved to a lovely, sensible house with a large garden, beyond my wildest dreams. Now, the problem is: how long will I be physically able to keep this garden up? I went to an arthritis education session yesterday and learned a lot about the types of exercise that are helpful in maintaining mobility and staving off pain. Standing on one foot while deploying a spade with the other was not one of the “good exercises” and taking an ibuprofen before venturing into the garden was not one of the “good strategies”. At the very end of this upbeat session, another message was delivered: “Acceptance”. It struck a chord with me, as my objective had been to learn how to keep on gardening well into my nineties. Hmmm, probably not realistic on my part.

    p.s. I’m sure “Black Knight” isn’t really mocking you.

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    • I have a cunning plan. As you undoubtedly know, exercise is great for arthritis so you must continue working as much as you can. Next you must find a willing and able young person to help you. To this character you will impart knowledge, experience and art, in turn they will give you vigour and strength. Result!

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  2. Firstly, think of the fun you’ll have tearing out all the old stuff and replacing it. Then, to add to mrsdaffodil: I totally “get” what you are saying. These physical problems do creep up on us, and make it hard to do what we have always done. I’m happy that Dr. A. at 88 is still able to put a foot on the spade, my contribution now is some trimming, the roses, and crawling around under the bushes , while he spends his days finding garden work to do. Isn’t it ridiculous? It took me a week to get ready for a small Thanksgiving dinner!

    Our main problem is leaves. Dr. A considers it a crime to have them stay on the ground more than a few minutes, so it does keep him busy at this time of year. But it’s great that we are still upright isn’t it?

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  3. Don’t be too harsh on you; it’s happening to other people who are gardening for a living that their garden will look nothing close to the ones they are building/taking care of. I am sure that when the right time will come you’ll have a wonderful garden.

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  4. We would dearly love a house with picture windows and sea views, I’d swap a decent sized garden for the bigger picture tomorrow and not be a maintenance slave. I garden for other people and my own is often cobblers shoes. Whats nicer too than a buddleja covered in Butterflies.

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  5. Yes, It is a common source of angst for those who garden for a living, their own garden never seems to get the attention it deserves. My own garden is exactly the same ie. a bit of a mess! You can only imagine my stress levels when the other gardeners from Sissinghurst came to a party at my house and requested a tour around the garden! I plied them with alcohol first then whizzed them round super-fast! Helen

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