Monday, 16 April 2007

Success in the garden

Tra la la! Tra la la! We have a gardener! Tee hee! Tra la la! I've finally got one! I got one! I got one! Whoop de doo! Sing out loud! WhoooOoooH!

As you can guess, this comes with a history. Once upon a time I could shout out the Latin names for all varieties of Hosta and Euphorbia and tell my ficus from my viburnum with my eyes shut. Hours, weeks, years, I probably spent fussing over Edwardian planting schemes and the best cottage garden colours for Hollyhocks.

And then, all of a sudden, there were babies. And dribble. And sick and more more dribble. And there was no time for any gardening beyond hacking the privet hedge to within an inch of its life once a year, but only the bits I can reach.

This was very all very sad. The Ranunculus repens went bonkers and slaughtered everything in its path. Then came the brambles and the ivy, and down came the perenial papaver and clematis. In fact all the land that was once all of the colours of the garden became like a brambly twisted mat of thorns and grass and ivy and dandelion. For several years I made the best of it, and we had a wild garden, where we could harvest all the blackberries for bramble jam and hold Ranunculus repens under our chins and say we like butter, even when we don't.

Not surprisingly, secretly I have harboured a desire for a gardener to help rescue me, just once a month, from the thorns and grass and ivy and Ranunculus repens. But because I am quite into this wild garden thingy, what with the cute hedgehogs and frogs and birds and bat, I want a gardener to help make something of a compromise here, with talk of planting plans and colours and smells like in the cottage garden days, but with a stern finger towards those brambles and ivy and Ranunculus repens.

You'd think I was asking the planet Venus to come round and have tea. The first bloke I got said Japanese gardens were very popular and he could do a lot of pink gravel cheap. The second bloke suggested he and his mate could clear the garden in one afternoon and he'd take it down the tip. The third bloke wasn't interested in anything under a relandscaping commission of several thousand pounds and the fourth one wouldn't come in further than the gate. I pleaded for a quote on bramble maintenance but it was all no good.

And now I've actually got one. He visited yesterday, declared my Fatsia the biggest one he's ever seen and he's put in the quote today. I'm holding it in front of me, and for cutting the hedges and pulling back the ivy to free up guttering and pipes it's flipping reasonable.

And guess what, he's written 'Care of nature areas.' Aaah. He's my man.

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