Hints & Tips
I was having a chat with Drew a couple of days ago and I posed him the question of what he does of a Bank Holiday. Of course, as you would expect, he spends as much time as possible in his beloved garden, avoiding Mrs Drew, pruning bits of innocent twig or up at his allotment encouraging flourishing growth in his rare breed tomatoes by reading Wordsworth to them… or something. Anyway, he absolutely loves his garden and plot and he’s genuinely enamoured of them. When he asked me the same question I had a similar reply, except it involved less pruning of shrubbery and encouraging verdant growth and more nibbling water biscuits and cheese and sipping prosecco while friends tell you how amazing you look since you came back from holiday.
The point is, Drew sees his garden as a labour of love, a project, a laboratory of horticultural experimentation whereas I see mine as an extension to my little house. It’s an outside space, an external dining/kitchen/living area.
Of course, I don’t ignore the upkeep. I just need help. My friend Brody (who incidentally is looking more and more like an extra from Carmen or a David Essex video, – I fully expect him to get his ear pierced one of these days) has been around as ever this summer to trim my hedges, mow the lawn with his fabulous new toy (it’s called a Redback E137C Cordless Lawnmower and it’s battery powered and so quiet you can almost hear him breathing as he mows) and do his usual pond maintenance, very important if you want to keep your fish alive. As opposed to Drew’s worked and hardworking garden, mine is more of a decorative, outdoor party room, and that’s how I like it.
This is especially useful on those days when things don’t go so well, when I’m a bit blue as, indeed, I was yesterday as my usual Bank Holiday celebrations did not go as planned and everyone I wanted to see was either away on an extra holiday, shopping for mattresses and kitchen cabinets in the sales or had fallen out with me over some trifle or other. (Well, I say trifle but actually I did end up, during a particularly sensual piece by Dvorak, kissing some guy at the proms last week. who it turns out my friend B had her eye on but, to be honest, she wasn’t quick enough on the draw and I’d never kissed someone in the stalls at the Albert Hall so that was a box ticked. She’s forgiven me now but she didn’t turn up yesterday and I was, to be frank, a bit alone (can you be a bit alone? No.) I was alone and sad. I had the Bank Holiday blues. I’m sure that is a proper, diagnosable condition suffered by lots of people whose expectations of this gift of a Monday off are sadly let down by the traffic, the queues in that Swedish furniture warehouse, the yawnworthy TV scheduling and the inability to cook a sausage properly on a barbecue.
So, as I was saying this is where the decorative, restorative power of a garden can pay dividends. With the design led help of his wife Brunhilde, a super landscape gardener and one of my best friends, Brody has planted some pretty stunning summer flowers so I have had a profusion of colour to brighten up even the greyest of the days we had earlier on in the season, and yesterday, as I nurtured a glass of very good chilled rosé champagne and tried very hard to stop feeling sorry for myself, and not blub, I gazed on my borders full of Gloriosa Daisies, Zinnias, sunflowers nodding like sages offering me worldy wisdom and blue, purple and white Asters, like little coloured stars whose sole reason for living seems to be to cheer one up.
And if you add that to my couple of little fruit trees, my fairly happy carp, Fish (yes, his name is Fish after the singer of 80s rock band Marillion who I met once at a party and mistook for Christopher Lambert from Highlander… it’s a long story) ) and the various other bits and pieces, I really do love my garden and, more importantly, it seems to love me back. I ended up feeling much better yesterday, then B called and we made up everything was totally jolly again. So. I hope you enjoyed your bank holiday. See ya. Holly.