Friday, 29 January 2010

Feeling Protective

I am nervous. Our loft conversion starts today and there will imminently be a whole bunch of dynamic chaps jumping all over my front garden.

When we first got here it was almost entirely paved and inelegantly adorned with a dead fir tree and two nasty Lonicera nitida. I promptly withdrew their planning consent, although one of the loniceras enjoyed a brief reprieve while I tried to clip it into the shape of an ogres head.

Since then, I have added a Malus sargentii ‘Red Sentinel’, Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’, Choisya ternata, a Sarcococca (as recommended to me by the late John Cushnie, as it happens), Lonicera fragrantissima and a black bamboo – the general idea being that things that are not evergreen are red, scented, or at least interesting in winter. There are also lots of Narcissus ‘Jetfire’ which are just risking poking their noses out of the ground (just in time to get stomped by a hobnail boot, I shouldn’t wonder) and lavender and purple sage bordering the path. And I only get away with these in a north-facing position because the drainage is really good. There is a lot of growing and filling out still to do, but I do hope nothing gets too squished in the next few weeks.

There have only been two front garden disasters so far – a thyme which turned out to be growing exactly where people step out of the car and a Rose ‘Queen Elizabeth’. It was sent to me in order to photograph planting bare-root roses, but it turned out to be uninterestingly scented and a colour scheme-busting toilet-roll pink. I think I shall hide it in my mum’s garden.

The skip has arrived too (following a call which revealed that they had the wrong house number and were trying to plonk it on top of a bungalow). This is all very exciting – I have never had a skip before and the possibilities for ditching all sorts of grievous junk are endless.

Just opened up Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life to find quite a nice picture of me brandishing my Column of the Year runner up certificate with Valerie McBride-Munro, outgoing chair of the Garden Media Guild. It is reproduced above for your delectation. Ta-daaa!

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