No peace in my garden in Wandsworth!


Summer is now the time when you can sit back and enjoy your garden.   Listen to the sensational blackbird song, enjoy the evening sun after a hard day’s grind, look at your beautiful nail clipped lawn, enjoy the smell of your jasmine and honeysuckle and look at your chosen kaleidoscope of colours or your restrained palette of white and green … 0r so you might think!

Gardens of course ARE very very beautiful at this time of year; herbaceous borders are reaching their peak but they are not overblown and bloated as they can be later in the year, fat flower heads of all your perennials are burgeoning with petals but are still looking fresh on their stems and very often their colour is at its purest and their fragrance at its sharpest at this time of year.  But this isn’t just the plants of course – the weeds are reaching their peak too!  There’s still a lot of work to be done so sitting back and enjoying your garden just isn’t an option – it’s down on your hands and knees with the small fork digging out those nasties that spoil the look of all your beauties around them.   You’ve got other work to do as well; some of your roses and shrubs are hoping to come into a second flowering – you need to dead head for England and cut out those bad boy runners.  Your shrubs and small trees will annoy you by shedding all sorts of cornucopia in the shape of berries, dead leaves (this shouldn’t happen until Autumn?) and dead buds over your well hoed and weeded flower beds.  And then what about your lawn?  We have been putting down a lot of new lawns this summer (I’m talking real lawns, although sadly the trend is increasingly for artificial.  I can see the appeal, but what about our birdlife – only recommendation can be a more peaceful garden perhaps?) and they have taken quite a beating.  But EVERY year your lawn takes a beating: frost, sun, torrential rain, wind – and then the table tennis, cricket or football games.  I remember years ago I lived in a house where my landlord was obsessed with his lawn and he would read the “Lawn Expert” over his coffee and cornflakes (admit it you know someone like this). Lawns have a mind of their own.  Grass  – given a patch of dry, unprepossessing, less than fertile earth and a dink of sun will grow rabidly  anywhere but not on your lawn.  You overwater it and it goes yellow and you underwater it and it goes brown.  There is only one answer to this and that is to become obsessive yourself – you have to water every other day (in times of drought) and twice a week out of drought and oh yes and all that mowing –  oh dear no peace in your garden either.

Pests?  Slugs, snails, ants and vine weevil etc etc – do you pellet, do you spray, don’t you pellet, don’t you spray?  The answer is you don’t so do ask a “green” expert before you start using chemicals;  you will get good advice but it will make more work of course as it won’t be the easy option.  However the work will be worth it and  you will feel happy that you haven’t killed off some of the oldest creatures on this planet.  To complete the there’s “no peace in my garden” theme why don’t you give yourself one last bit of work?  A raised vegetable bed!  Whether in your small courtyard garden, your medium suburban garden,  acres of walled garden or your roof garden – this is wonderful work.  You will give yourself huge inner peace and satisfaction even if that blackbird is still waking you at 3.30 in the morning and the bugs and weeds are still about!

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