Our new house is situated at the top of a large new estate. So new, in fact, construction at the lower end of the site is ongoing, although Ein Cartref Bach is a relatively mature 7 years old. As a couple we have never owned a newish house before. In fact we have never lived in a house built after the end of the 19th century. ‘Til now. And to be honest, it is a curious experience. Towns and villages usually evolve over a period of time, this, in relation, popped up over night. Which must bring problems with it; creating a near instant community is tricky, it takes time.
The Estate does have many good points. These are the things that swayed our decision to buy. There are copious green spaces, with sections of ancient boundaries, hedgerows and matures trees left intact. Saplings have been planted and areas of scrubland left to provide havens for wildlife. The architecture is varied in size, form and materials, making for a varied aesthetic. There is a network of cyclepaths that lead to the school. As estates go, I would say it is a good one.
Yesterday I went for a lone explore, to nose about and try to glean what I could with a little entry level nosiness. I found a postbox, a prison, a wooded area, a birdtable, some children on Christmas bikes, a few dog walkers and a lot of front gardens that to be polite “could do better”. To be fair, there were a few exceptions that had made an effort, but mostly they were deserts of lawn or gravel or slate or, horror of horrors, artificial grass.
What is needed is some widespread horticultural-bombing. For some goading and cajouling and inspiration and damascene conversions. Perhaps not in that order. But whether that can be brought to fruition is another thing. I doubt whether garden maintenance is a priority for most of the residents who are, I am sure, busy folk. These people all have lovely homes, and take time and effort to furnish them beautifully. Their cars are washed and polished and preened regularly. But why not their front gardens? On the whole they are relatively small areas and a similiarly small amount of effort would greatly enhance not only their own, but their neighbours’ and visitors’ environment. This is not a criticism of their choices, but an acknowlegement that if they wanted it could be so much better.
So what to do? What I need is an ally.