Monday, 22 April 2013

Battle Garden

Since we moved to our house eight and a half years ago, we have had a bit of a battle with our back garden. It was all bushy shrubs, grass and a dodgy shed when we arrived and has been through many a change since. I almost typed 'transformation' there, but transformation suggests something Cinderella-ish, something caterpillar-to-butterfly, something drudgy-to-diamanté, and by those criteria, transformation it has been not.

The thing is I have always been a bit frightened of back gardens. Now I know that sounds a bit weird (I can hear you all shouting 'weirdo' right now) but I have been giving this fright-of-back-garden some serious thought and here is my (weirdo) theory...

...I think it is that whatever house I have lived in as an adult (there have been 6 including this one) I have never felt it has belonged to me. And this means that I haven't actually yet found the home (and hence the house heading its way back to the market any moment now, but that is a different story) where I am meant to be.

House number one was a rental property and didn't have a garden. It had a shared space which belonged to the landlord. House number two was my grandparent's place, where I lived briefly whilst work was being done on the first mortgaged house I lived in. So that was Gran's garden. I didn't touch that because it was so 'right' already. House number three had a short, thin garden which was half concrete, half scruffy lawn and a rickety fence overlooking a dodgy alley. The house was surrounded by hundreds of other houses. I didn't feel safe in that garden.

House number 4 was a semi-detached. It had a pretty garden, but the garden had a pond and the pond was my ex-husband's domain. Wasn't allowed to take any ownership of THAT garden because if might upset the FISH - go figure that one if you can, because I never could. Bloody fish.

House number five was a post-divorce move back home to Mum's place. I tried gardening there a bit, but it wasn't my garden really. And then Andy and I got married and bought this place.

And the garden still feels like it belongs to the previous owner. Despite the fact I deforested it because I don't like overwhelming shrubbery. And a succession of hens have done their best to excavate their way to Australia via the game of 'Dig Like Your Little Feathery Life Depended On It.' And we've planted two trees, removed an enormous eucalyptus, added a greenhouse, moved a fence and built a herb garden.

Yesterday, I marched into the back garden.

'Now look here,' said I, legs akimbo and digging fork in hand. 'You belong to us, do you hear? You are to do as you are told. You are to stop behaving like a stroppy teen who doesn't want to grow up. You, garden-me-lad, need to sort yourself out!'

And that is why I am finding out about getting the patio re-laid. The patio - that's what has been bugging me all these years! It is made of mismatched slabs. Its lines are wonky. It grows weeds where it shouldn't grow weeds. And then it is a bugger to de-weed. Bits of it wobble. There are odd colours. It is a stupid shape. The whole aestheticness of it offends mine eye and it is driving me nuts!

And after that, the lawn. Okay, I feel slightly sorry for the lawn because it has been ransacked by a series of hens over the last 5 years, and the grass has struggled to stay alive, but it is the North Sea of a Lawn in a Force 10 gale. It needs seeing to also.

And now I am heading front gardenwards, to plant up some violas and osteospernums I bought on the way home from work. I can deal with the front garden. The front garden is much better behaved.


Vera said...

I remember house number three, because we were neighbours. And I remember that 'garden', and it wasn't a space that you ever went out into apart from when you had to hang the washing out! Crikey, that was years ago! And by crikey again, thank goodness we got out of that street and moved onto better times in our lives.

Denise said...

Hear, hear Vera. And do you remember the saga of the bathroom? I even remember the colour - Flamingo Pink. Say no more!

Vera said...

...that was your first step towards Andy...