I moved back into my flat two years ago. The garden has never quite recovered from my not being here and taking care of it. Those of you reading this who have ever had your own garden may understand what I mean when I say that you really can’t leave it for too long before it gets out of hand. Well imagine 3 years!
In 2005 I paid some friends (who were also gardeners) to dig out areas, turf, plant, landscape and generally make it fabulous. It was. But it matured and looked amazing when I was living in the country near Mum and not here. By the time I came back the shrubs were dead (or dug up), the roses dying, the lavender hedge out of control, jasmine clambering everywhere and pulling down a fence and the lawn full of weeds and moss. I can’t explain in words how disappointed I was and saddened that shrubs that I’d taken from Mum’s garden and also from my childhood home had now perished.
Since returning to London, I’ve done heaps in the garden but somehow the weather or busy-ness seems to take over and the garden lapses once more. It’s hard. If it was just maintaining it and weeding it, it’s somehow easier. But because I’m left with a garden that is barren from decent shrubs and flowers but still full of weeds and a lawn that is patchy and unattractive, I know it’s a chore to bring back to beauty. Each morning as I look out to the garden I see weeds and rubble and unlovedness. Although I have got so much better at looking at eyeline to see only the brightly coloured fence and sheds that bring sunshine into my garden. But sometimes I remember to look down. I also want, on the rare days with sunshine, to enjoy the garden and long to be able to pull the sun-lounger out of the shed and lounge!
Today however a friend of mine, Maria, gave up her day to come and help me. What a joy it was to spend the day digging and weeding whilst chatting about life, universe, everything. We managed to get two of the bigger flowerbeds weed free. Only things that remain in one is the small conifers with really big roots. I think I can manage to dig around the roots and perhaps to yank them out. Then I can turf that section. The other section I am going to build up with soil from else where (weed free soil) and then to set different levels and plant pots. Granny’s pots. I can’t wait to see them used again and to grow some vibrant coloured plants (easy to maintain ones).
I’m so tremendously grateful for an extra pair of hands today, good company, great work and importantly a little bit of headway toward regaining my garden. But boy does my back ache.
(Oh and of course, we finished the day with a bubble or two!)