We have a small(ish) garden, laid to lawn (as estate agents like to say) with ornamental shrubs and…plants in the borders. When we first moved here I thought that having lived in flats most of my time in London that I would embrace gardening and proudly exhibit plump tomatoes and dazzling rose bushes on my Facebook page. But now I cannot for the life of me see what the attraction is in trying to control something that quite obviously wants to go wild.
Watching gardening programmes gives you a false impression that gardening is a creative activity: you idly browse through garden centers, picking out plants to fill out borders and give year round colour; maybe choose some vegetables to put in a vegetable patch and a compost box to put your grass cuttings. Circle of life and all that.
Well, I’ve got news for you: gardening is graft. Mowing the lawn is just like hoovering a crazy golf course. Weeding is a form of mental torture (pull it out and it comes back, pull it out and it comes back, pull it out and it comes back…)and some weeds (ground elder) are, as far as I can tell, invincible. If we lived in a city no one would bat and eyelid if we concreted the bloody thing and put in a couple of basketball hoops. But no, we’re in the Cotswoldsso it’s all about natural stone walls and climbing roses.
The thing, however, that frustrates me most about gardening is that our garden is like a bloody screen saver and practically grows in front of your eyes. Vines loop around rose bushes,bindweed curls towards the sun yearning for UVs and ground elders sprout like cress in a toddlers first gardening experiment. But can I grow something that I want?
No. When I try (because I had to try and live the dream) to grow a bloody tomato plant it’s ravaged by slugs and caterpillars march on it like the Russian army on Berlin. Grow some sunflowers? Eaten by snails. Re-seed the lawn? Eaten by birds. Apple Tree? Wasps. Lillies? Slugs.
Two words: genetically modified.
I want a garden center that supplies genetically modified grass that is a cross between grass (I dunno if that is the proper name, but most people seem to use it), Ground Elder and Miracle Grow. Looks nice, you can’t kill it and you can sprinkle your grass cuttings over the rest of the garden without composting.
What is it with technology? We are well on our way to making tigers extinct (that are big, vicious and clever) but can’t make weeds extinct…that blows.