Sunday, June 03, 2007

Green Fingers

Visitors are always telling me how lovely the garden looks, and they're right.
Here's under our kitchen window:

"The key to it," I say,"is to make sure your gardener is over eighty. Because by then they've learned a thing or two."

It's my mother who does all the gardening for both our gardens - about a third of an acre in total. She has been working on the soil since about 1959, initially with the help of her own mother, who lived with us, and who remained very active well into her late eighties.

Every last banana skin goes on the compost heap and is fed back into the ground. Any seed that hits the soil thinks it's in the Garden of Eden and grows mightily (hence my fig tree, see recent post).

My mother likes informal borders with lots of different shades and textures, and so do I: here's one of ours:

There are lots of characterful corners:

My parents' house, at the bottom of our house's garden, was only built in the year 2000, and at that stage their garden was a heap of rubble.

Here it was this afternoon:

There are many kinds of flowers and also lots of fruit and vegetables in their various seasons - plums, pears, blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, tomatoes, sprouts, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage - -

I claim no credit for any of it. All I ever do is say "Garden looks great, Mum."

Sometimes, on a cold February day, at dusk, my mother goes past the window with a trowel.

"Just doing another half-hour."

This could, of course, be why she's so fit, at eighty-three.

I get annoyed when I occasionally see television gardening programmes which imply it can all be done in an afternoon with a few pots and a bit of decking. A proper garden takes a lot of work and many years. A garden should have history as well as beauty.


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