Posts Tagged ‘Garden Joy’

So: after almost twenty months, more Estate Agents than I ever hope to encounter again in the rest of my life, an architect, a team of builders and a deep immersion in the auction houses of London, I am moving into my new house this weekend.

The children have already seen it and given it their unconditional approval, which is heartening, as I chose it largely with them in mind – as you would, of course. When I saw it, I wasn’t completely convinced – in fact, I was quite anti: but the endorsements of Sister, Parents, Old Friend at Work and Best Friend all brought me round and now I am enamoured with it. This is probably due, in no small part, to the fact that it no longer has mahogany floorboards, a black quartz kitchen floor and blue and white tiles in the bathrooms (one of the reasons I have spent so long not living in a house that I have owned for six months is that I decided to bite the bullet, do ALL the work – and spend ALL the money, rather than do it in drips and drabs, which would be disruptive – and I think everyone’s had enough disruption to be getting on with…), and is now exactly as I would want it.

It’s also the first time that I’ve lived in a house of this style: very modern and open-plan, rather than old and self-contained rooms. Again, I am now delighted with this way of living, and it’s also quite therapeutic to be living a new life in a new kind of space, rather than in a version of the houses that I shared with Ex Wife.

So: good times ahead. The children are excited, and I’m excited. If I can put up with the navy blue front door until the Spring, when I shall re-paint it (and there’s more than enough woodwork to be painting in the meantime), then all shall be rosy in the garden. Assuming some cunt hasn’t planted bamboo in there…

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You wouldn’t fucking BELIEVE it, would you?

After the lengths that I went to to cleanse our garden of the horrors of Bamboo (including digging a trench so deep and wide that Wife actually accused me of having joined a Somme re-enactment society), the shitting stuff has returned! Much like that other plant that we seem to be nurturing throughout our garden (Convulvulus), it seems to resist everything known to man. I wouldn’t be surprised to learnt that the four survivors of nuclear holocaust would be germs, cockroaches, Convulvulus and Bamboo…

Anyway, I have decided to make my peace with it. I am channelling a new, more peaceful, “roll with it” strain of my personality – and it’s making me much happier over all, and so I see the return of the Bamboo as God’s final test of this determination to be a better man – and I shall rise to the challenge, by tipping the Bamboo a cheery wink, as I prune it down to the ground, but fall short of tearing it out of the accursed ground with my hands and then setting fire to it…

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The Garden

I have, according to Wife, many virtues: but it seems that planting is not one of them.

I had decided that I had re-created the great Gertrude Jekyll’s principle of planting huge drifts of plants all in the same colour, great beds filled with tulips, others over-flowing with hellebores, others with lavendar and rosemary. It appears that what I have done is created a garden that Wife is “depressed to set foot in. I can’t really see why: the tulips look fantastic (which, given that I got over-excited and spent £70 on bulbs is just as well), and there is a fuck of a lot less of the old over-grown rubbish that had been suffocating the plants – but there is still much to do, it’s true.

For a start, that cunting Bamboo that I worked so assiduously to destroy is creeping back, like a disliked school-friend who has just discovered Facebook; and the Convulvulus that I spend every Spring ripping out is its usual buoyant self, returning in persistent green twists to strangle whatever it can reach. Ah well: I love it. I love sitting and drinking in it, without being overlooked by anyone. I love working in it, and I love the prospect of moving things around until it is deemed that I have added planting to my many gifts.

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Sunday, 27th May 2007

The bamboo is no more. It has been taken to the communal tip, where it can spread its misery before being incinerated and turned into compost (which is apparently what they do: which is pleasingly green). 

My WWII trench remains, however. I couldn’t be arsed to go to that haven of middle-aged men in tracksuits that is B&Q to buy the poison necessary to stamp out the evil root before filling the trench, re-shaping the lawn and adding the Royal Worcester tree. That is tomorrow’s rain-blighted treat.

After the tip, I made a detour to my parents’ home to TRY and pick up Eldest Son. He decided he was having none of it and has negotiated himself another night chez Granma and Grandpa: not that they’d have it any other way.

So, now Wife and I and Daughter and Youngest Son have just finished making biscuits. Daughter made Angels and Teapots (which sounds like a gift shop in somewhere chi-chi like Harrowgate), and Youngest Son made Sharks: sharks being what he would ideally populate the world with, paint his bedroom with and spend all his time looking at. He’ll either be a Marine Biologist or a cold-hearted, cold-eyed killer…

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Sunday, 3rd June 2007

Just before the end of “Fatal Attraction”, poodle-haired mirror-frightener, Glenn Close (whom we have believed dead), shrieks out of the tepid bathwater to launch another assault on Michael Douglas and credible acting.

Playing on the belief that something evil (Close – and, I suppose, her character, Alex) is dead, the horror comes from seeing the evil scream back to life (and to realise that this means it will soon appear in “The House of Spirits”).

The bamboo, with the learning above in mind, is dead. As the weather this weekend has been beautiful, I borrowed Dad’s saw and finally hacked the last couple of metres of the stuff out of the earth. We now have a Royal Worcester tree, a couple of Hydrangeas and the Nina Roses in there instead. Today, I am sowing the lawn to make it wider – as well as mowing it.

Wife’s Best Friend is coming over today for a picnic with the children (either in Ravenscourt Park, or if we really can’t be arsed, in the garden), so I’d better slide myself over there toot sweet.

Milan in the morning. And by “morning”, I mean a 5.00 am reveille…

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My Big Man Tool

Sunday, 3rd June 2007

I am aware that this blog could, of late, have been subtitled “Memoirs of a Pissed-Off Gardener”, so I will try and move off the subject shortly. But, oh the joy of a brand new lawnmower! Picked up today and assembled by me, we have a billiard table smooth lawn now, on which the three children have installed a Pirate Tent, into which they fling themselves with horrifying abandon. All is well.

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Saturday, 18th August 2007

Well: it will be. I spent three hours this morning digging over a bed that we can re-plant (once Wife gets back: she has let it be known that any attempt on my part to do this as “a lovely surprise” would be as much of a lovely surprise as a dose of pubic lice), ripping out the Alstrumeira and (more pressingly) the sodding Convulvulus that runs rampant throughout the entire garden.

It was heavy work, and I filled eight bin bags with the weeds and flowers and (rather disconcertingly) what looked like crop after crop of potato tubers. I’m sure that’s not what they were, but they utterly choked the soil.

Tomorrow (if I can be arsed), I shall dig out the other large bed nearer the house. That will be rather worse: partly because it’s about three times the size, partl because there is some stuff in that bed (Russian Sage and Lavendar) that we actually want to keep – so I can’t go galumphing in there with my Size Elevens with such impunity. There is also the fruit tree that Eldest Son planted (I dug round the one that Youngest Son planted today – and suddenly missed them all terribly).

Happily, it also necessitates a shopping trip: I need a rake, an edging tool and some more gardening gloves (I left mine out in the rain and they are now set to the consistency of poured concrete), so I get a chance to go to B&Q, which (alongside Smythson and Penhaligon’s) is absolutely my favourite shop.

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