Our 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.