Gardening is not really my thing. I love my garden but get deeply frustrated at the continual need for weeding and the like.
The irony is that I have green fingers. if I plant it it grows. My mother has emerald digits and my father was a good navvy when it comes to shifting earth from one place to another.
Jim knows his peas from his cues but also has very little time pulling a bind weed here or taming a clematis there.
So between us we have hired and fired various gardeners. Let me just reveal that my garden is about 80ft long and wide enough to stand approximately fifteen people shoulder to shoulder.
The south hedge overlooks fields and oast-houses whilst the two ends and the left side are fully shrubbed up.
Wally was our first gardener. He was a retired milkman from the North East and had more knowledge in his little finger that Alan has in the whole of his Titchmarsh.
Wally took a nominal fee and planted up tons of veg that he took the lions share of, we were still left with enough greenery to feed a kibbutz in Jordan. Wally left when we got Jackson. Our green fingered guru from Gateshead left a hand written note on the kitchen table;
‘I’m not doing your garden any more I don’t want a dog piddling over me brassicas.’
That was the last we heard from the fastest growing milkman in the west.
Then we had a terrific Lesbian couple who built a brick path and a brick fountain and four quadrants to make it look Elizabethan. They emigrated to the Lake District, bought a cattery then split up. I don’t know who kept the pussies. My fountain is a great memory of them.
We had the slowest gardener in the world who I swear counted one seed at a time.
She went the way of the gardener with a baseball cap, a big mouth, a permanent tan and more front than Jordan.
We had a boy with green teeth, a man with BS instead of horticultural knowledge, he was the one to go to if we ever needed compost…
I wrote a comedy drama inspired by two women who ended up living a far funnier life than I could ever have written, talk about truth being stranger than fiction. They ran off with each others husbands and took their strimmers with them. I had an ecological, single mother of four and a retired spiv who couldn’t tell his aspidistra from his euonymus. He came and fought with me to find out why I sacked him, I didn’t tell him why, but the truth is I sacked him because he kept digging away at the edges of the lawn. If we had kept him by the time I had reached 70 I would have had a postage stamp of lawn and the biggest flower beds this side of Chelsea.
I now have a lad to cut the hedges and a dot of a thing – who is studying horticulture at university – She is thorough and maintains my well established garden. she has just planted up courgettes, squashes, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, blackcurrants , raspberries, chives and acres of mint and rosemary. Anna is neat, tidy and knows all the latin names which is always bonus, bona, bonum….
I took my nephew to the Chelsea Flower Show. There were canapes, Pimms and a guided tour of the winning gardens. Iris’s of the prettiest downy blue, delphiniums, Silver Birch’s, Japanese gardens that have to be looked at from the inside out, Ecological gardens and a teenagers garden with a pizza oven and plunging pool.
Tickets were being hocked four up to four hundred quid each. Given the nature of the demographic I can’t imagine any of those wise ones putting there hands in their pockets.
Generosity was the name of the game though, Dan I waited at the bust stop, me getting colder and colder. We stopped and asked a cabbie how much it would cost. for him to drive us to Royal Hospital Road. he told us to jump in, he would turn his meter off and takes us to the gate as he was on his way home anyway. Ex MillWall footballer Steve Brown regaled us with tails of the beautiful game, why Elaine Paige was not welcome in his cab again and why he went to the caff in Ebury Bridge Road since having his heart attack and how his wonderful partner Angie saved his life.
We arrived on time, told a copper our story who was also amazed, and in we went to the Chelsea tractor drivers spiritual home.
But now I am back in the flat, I left dan with a handful of pamphlets, a head full of ideas and a journey back to St. Albans. The CHFS has inspired me to get out there and create my very own gold winning plot, yeah and pignut trees might fly.