I do not like gardening. My paternal grandfather was a talented gardener, and he passed that skill and joy on to my father. My mother loved her garden and loved to create a beautiful (if eclectic and unusual) environment. I do not like gardening. Don’t get me wrong; I love flowers, I love plants, I even relish the pleasure of nurturing a seedling or managing to keep a pot plant alive, but I really, really do not like gardening. I don’t like the back breaking hard work of it, I don’t like the dirty, chipped finger nails, and I don’t like the humidity and heat of the garden on a summer’s day unless I can lie in my sun-hat and read a book while someone makes sure my gin and tonic is topped up.
When we bought our house one of the selling points was the garden. Ours is a 1930s house, on a Birmingham council estate. It was built at a time when the powers that be believed that all social housing should have its own green space. Most of the gardens near us are larger than average and ours is almost on a corner, and is a little larger still. It didn’t occur to us at the time that it’s too big for one person to cope with. The Bloke works hard at his paid job, so his tiredness and my apathy have resulted in a garden that is, at the best of times, a little overgrown.
We have decided this summer that we’re going to deal with it. I have helped. I have nodded and made noises of agreement when he’s told me what he’s going to do. I went and bought a box of grass seed. I spent about an hour digging over a flower bed which is going to be turned back into lawn. The Bloke did the other five hours of digging to finish it off, but he would never have done it without me, right? At some point over the next few weeks he’s going to make me help fill a skip so we can move on to the next part of the garden. He also needs to build his new shed, mend the broken greenhouse, trim back the shrubs, seed another section of lawn and put some new bedding plants down. I’ll be glad when it’s finished so he can resume his proper work of topping up my G&T in between mowing the grass and trimming the hedge. Then, and only then, will I be able to enjoy the garden.