On the whole builders and gardeners don’t go. Far be it for me to generalise, but in my experience they are counter- rather than productive partnerships. They are not “cheese and pickle”, “strawberries and cream” or, let me wrack my brain for another, oh yes “gin and tonic”. They are more “the black death and 14th century Europe”.
Ends however must be reached, and the means are not always negotiable. There is a new lodge at The Farm and very smart it is too. Installing it involved preparing the area, soil shifting and lots of JCB action. Craning this new structure into position necessitated a huge amount of nerve and skill by the driver. And a certain amount of spontaneous hedge pruning in the lane. The upshot of this operation was that the large border in front of the new building was repeatedly driven over by the digger, had shillet subsoil spread across the top, assorted builder paraphernalia buried throughout like a perverse treasure hunt and lots of general steel toe-capped stomping. None of these actions are Royal Horticultural Society approved.
Through all this, the sapling magnolia has held firm. Mrs G threatened pain of torture by pruners to anyone who dared come close. It worked. And it has rewarded us by flowering its little heart out. A rose in the desert.