It hasn’t been easy but I may today have started relaxing with the idea that a garden doesn’t always have to be neat and tidy.
I think it may have been my Dad’s fault as I can vividly recall him weeding beneath a beech hedge (which he trimmed using a spirit level) at our home at Brightwalton on the Berkshire Downs . He in turn would probably blame his Dad who had the neatest box hedges lining his vegetable garden in nearby Chaddleworth. Perhaps it’s to be expected with a family called ‘Hedges’!
The obsession with a tidy garden has haunted me ever since. But the end result is that I still eradicate every daisy in favour of a lush, universally green lawn. And I deadhead my roses quite manically.
But then today I had a mental breakthrough when, on one of my many visits to the shed, I looked up and spotted a profusion of ripening blackberries hanging above my head.
Relaxing with brambles
Has this happened a month or so back, the juicy fruits would simply have been “brambles” and they would have had to go. The invading suckers had stolen in when I wasn’t fully concentrating and established themselves in the one still substantially wild part of the Flintstones garden.
Its a place I have been putting off tackling because it is so inaccessible and boasts a half-dead tree growing on a steep bank. Its doesn’t look good but it does act as a screen between us and our neighbours on the higher ground.
My first instinct was to pick the blackberries and then eradicate the thorny stems. But then I had an uncharacteristically loosened-up thought: why not create a ‘blackberry tree’ by winding the stems of the invading fruit around the branches of the dying and otherwise naked hornbeam?
Relaxing at last?
So that’s the plan. Previously untamed hooligans are forming an unlikely alliance that allows them both to survive.
But is this, I ask myself, significant psychologically? A year into retirement am I finally starting to become relaxed? Time will tell but right now I have a lawn that needs its stripes renewed…