Z is a fool, as ever

We attacked outside this morning – I can’t really call it a garden and ‘the grounds’ sounds absurd and pretentious for what it is.  Two hedges, box and privet, have been pruned quite hard (I wasn’t there when the box was being cut back and it’s twice the height I’d said.  I expect I’ll do it myself next year and cut it to the ground because it is now at the height we want it to be eventually, which allows for no growth), a fence has been taken down and burned and some general tidying up has happened.

I’m not the ruthless type, in truth.  My natural inclination is live and let live, look before you leap, choose your cliché or your proverb.  But I’ve not kept an eye on the Sage and he is a hoarder, and somewhat slapdash to boot, nowadays.  He loves a new project and so do I, but I complete them and he loses interest and goes on to the next thing.  But I have had to give in, take it on board that I have no say at all in the most important areas of our life, so have to make the best of things.  It’s a losing battle – those of you who, like me, are fans of Saki, think of The Mappined Life.  Decision-making and choice are so often a delusion, but one is happier when one doesn’t know it.

In short, as you’ll have gathered, the outside gets me down but I’m trying to make the best of it.  A good deal has been done and I’m going to make a list of the most essential jobs this month.  I’ll attempt a rule that if it’s not on the list it has to wait unless it has been discussed, though the Sage doesn’t follow rules and, on the infrequent occasions we have help in the garden, he says what goes.  He calls me out, asks what the priorities are, I say there’s no point because he’ll do something else, he insists so I say – and nothing I say gets done and I wish he hadn’t gone through the false consultation.  It did today because I was mostly there and I got stuck in, I like hard work and it’s far better for me to do it than the Sage because he takes medication for his heart nowadays and I won’t have him working too hard.  I take a lot of care of him, drive when it’s more than half an hour or so, carry anything heavy, go upstairs if something is needed – all the obvious, but he’d be oblivious, if you’ll excuse the play on words.

Fed up?  Oh yes, not at the work but at its overwhelming nature.  Every year we start out with good intentions, but it’s too much.  Frost all year round might stop the grass growing but, even after the winter (and spring so far) that we’ve had, I can’t see that happening.  Many tons of concrete is a serious temptation.

23 comments on “Z is a fool, as ever

  1. Z

    Well, there’s about an acre round the house plus the fields, but most of it is just rough grass. When I enclose the whole area with a brick wall, that’ll be the time to call it curtilage!

  2. 63mago

    Coming to the party is a very nice prospect. If the rulers of the bookmine allow me to keep on digging a visit to the UK should be possible. If the gentlemen prefer to waive my work I wave from a distance.

    The concrete community [sic] knows about coloring concrete. A well designed pattern would be nice.

  3. janerowena

    Hmm. I am an ex-gardener, but can’t keep up with my garden any longer, let alone do anyone else’s, but concrete isn’t the answer. I would suggest thick permeable membrane covered in shingle through which you can plant. Any areas where shingle is not an option should be covered in a thick layer of bark chippings, and it would be worth your getting in someone to do it (now) this year and then topping it up yourself in future years. I know how you feel, my arthritis is getting worse and I have been ill as well, so my garden is running away with me. We are starting to think of having a lorryload of bark delivered. As for the Sage – I love Saki and found that story quite awful, I preferred the one where the husband thought he was in charge, but in reality his wife and mother corralled him gently! I think you will have to employ a gardener yourself, and tell him that any order the Sage gives him must be run by you first. I have employed men to do heavy work for me, but never allowed them anywhere near my plants ever since my ex-husband employed someone to do our borders without asking me while I was away, and I came home to find that he had dug them out and turned them over completely and killed off all the perennials – he had thought they were all weeds. This year however I think I could do with him and blow the perennials. My mother was all set to move ten years ago until I discovered that it was only the hedges and grass and orchard pruning that she couldn’t cope with, now they have a couple in to do it all and even all the greenery is taken away for them, for really very little money.

  4. Blue Witch

    The RHS’s research has concluded that box cut back too far gets box blight more than that cut back just a bit. Cut every year, it should be possible to keep it to a defined last height.

    I’m still convinced that there must be people in your area who’d love use of some ground in exchange for some garden work.

  5. janerowena

    A sort of private allotment scheme? Quite a few large gardens have started to adopt that idea. The potential problems are secure storage, loos and access to water. It could be a bit of a headache to set up a workable scheme, unless the area is given over to someone else who is very keen to manage it. One of my elderly friends now has her veg garden worked by another of my friends and her husband, they share the crops which suits them all.

  6. Z

    I wasn’t serious about the concrete! There’s no question of an acre of concrete – nor of an acre of gravel, though we have a substantial area where we have just that.

    It’s a bleak story, Jane, but only because it’s so perceptive and horribly true – in some circumstances, anyway. I’m glad to have found another Saki lover.

    It hadn’t been cut back at all for several years, BW, so drastic action was needed, whether knee height or twice that isn’t going to make a lot of difference. It’ll have to take its chance. Assuming it survives, and I don’t care too much if it doesn’t because it looked a mess, it’ll have to have another heavy cut next year: unnecessary if a proper job had been done yesterday. But this is the Sage’s house, I just live here.

    There are allotments in the next road and I don’t know anyone who wants to take on our veg garden. It’s not that which will be the problem this year, but everywhere else. So much grass, brambles, nettles and general growth.

  7. mig

    Sheep make a nicer lawn. We borrowed some once and they were brilliant until the electric fence failed and then they were just tangled up.

    It must be a real pain not being able to just get the work done the way you want to. Good luck with your list!

  8. Z

    Sheep and goats, then. It’ll be fun to separate them. Oh, and my mother used to have a pet goose that kept the grass down in his run nicely. And a donkey.

    Shall we just have a menagerie and no garden at all? 😉

  9. Z

    Yes, and their little hooves do no damage. But no livestock, I’m simplifying life. Sheep are a lot of work, what with fly strike, black udder, foot rot, shearing and so on. And they get ticks.

  10. Z

    I’m afraid not, it’s not one clear area where you could get a combine harvester, and there’s also a brick septic tank that couldn’t take heavy machinery driving on top of it. The field at the front is cut for hay. In addition, a large area which had been wired in for the chickens is, as a consequence, full of nettles and docks because they ate all the grass and not the weeds. It hasn’t recovered in several years, probably because it isn’t mowed frequently enough. I do need to try to puzzle out a long-term answer – though I’m not sure there is one for our particular circumstances. If I were willing to give up my outside work and devote myself to the garden … but I’m not.


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