Monday, 25 February 2013

Weeds in Winter



I love winter.
Icicle growth
Icicle growth (Photo credit: thievingjoker)
Well, I don't love the cold - there are icicles in our bathroom thanks to the price of heating oil, and I'm not too keen on the whole rigmarole of sorting out hats, coats, gloves, boots etc for herds of children just for a short walk to the shop.
And I'm not going to wax lyrical about sharply frosty blue-sky mornings or crunchy snow.
Nope. I love winter because I don't have to feel guilty about the garden.
I was just standing gazing out of my kitchen window looking at my back garden. Well. Let me be totally truthful now. I was standing at the sink guiltily shoveling the last remaining Krispy Kreme doughnut from last nights birthday party into my mouth, whilst invoking the rule that if you eat something standing up it has no calories and the "if no-one saw you eat it, it has no calories" rule." So by my reckoning that doughnut actually was the equivalent of a work-out.
Whatever, while I was doing it I was looking at the garden. At the patchy, muddy, overgrown lawn. At the brown and dormant grapevine. At the dead brown things in my assorted pots. And feeling grateful that because it's winter I feel able to leave it all alone.
I know there are those of you reading who will shout in protest that there are lots of jobs you can do in the garden during the winter months.  But because I'm not in the garden trying to enjoy it I can quite happily leave it to fend for itself.
Frankly I'm not exactly Charlie Dimmock ( though have a strange inappropriate crush on Alan Titchmarsh- what's that about?)  so even during the spring, summer or autumn you won't find me gagging to get out there and mow, prune and plant.
Alan Titchmarsh at a Border's book signing
Alan Titchmarsh at a Border's book signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's quite surprising because every member of my extended family pretty much is a keen and talented gardener. My mum's gardens have always been immaculate - she specialises in gardens that are carefully planned but don't look at all contrived and since moving to Cyprus she has taught herself new skills to create a stunning exotic garden in an unfamiliar climate.
My uncle grows almost all his own veg and my aunt even had her own garden centre for a while. My grandparents deep borders were something to behold but the green finger gene totally passed me by and since DH has about as much interest as me in all things horticultural our garden is not exactly a thing of beauty!
Like most things my enjoyment of the garden focusses round food and drink and friends so what invariably happens every year is that as soon as we get three warmish nice days I invite all my mates round for an inpromptu barbecue. I dash to the garden centre and buy instantly pretty things for the tubs and hanging basket and poor DH gets bullied into mowing and strimming the worst of the nettles. Oh and hoovering. Yes- we have carpet in our garden  Don't ask.
the gazebo under construction
DS7 testing out his green fingers in my friend's garden
I did try and dig borders and build a rock garden once but dig 5 cms down from the grass anywhere in our garden and you will either hit rocks or a giant ant nest.
To be fair my DH is a dab hand at building wooden things so between the decking, pergola and gazebo  he designed and built and the giant two storey Wendy house we rolled Eygptian style from a neighbours garden to ours when her children outgrew it, there isn't much garden to garden.And as for the weeds and generally rustic feel to the garden I like to feel I have created ( or allowed to develop) a wildlife reserve for butterflies and things. And whatever likes to live around abandoned plastic ride on toys and rusting bikes.
An amazing sunset as seen from my garden.
So I distract visitors with yummy food and plenty of wine under my enormous and beautiful octagonal gazebo and as we enjoy the warmth of the fire from my Chiminea and the sight of fantastic sunsets dropping behind the enormous field which my home backs onto I feel confident that no-one cares that I have no chance ever of winning anything at the Chelsea flower show.
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