Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I've neglected the garden recently. It must be five weeks since I had the lawnmower out last, and I haven't done much weeding either. Of course we were busy with Christmas, then getting Daniel ready to leave, then last week when I thought about the garden again, the weather was grey and miserable and I felt much the same inside.

The thought of moving house - perhaps - in the next few months didn't exactly help, either. We probably won't be here to enjoy the garden in the summer. And if this house is going to be redeveloped, or a block of flats built where I have my 'lawn', where's the point in keeping it tidy?

However we've been getting a LOT of mosquitoes in the house. We don't notice the biting - we seem to have developed a local immunity - but they're immensely irritting in the middle of the night, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ around our ears. I suddenly remembered our landlady telling us that mosquitoes breed in long weeds, particularly when the weather's been damp.

Just to convince myself how necessary the job was, I took a few photos:

Yup, weeds everywhere. The last one shows nettles, about 15cm high. Some of the garden does have grass in between the weeds, but it was hard to see. So this afternoon I got out the trusty old electric lawnmower, and set to work. It was quite hard going with the weeds being so long - and some of them very tough - and also rather damp despite the sun being on them all morning. But I did about an hour and a half's mowing, and maybe twenty minutes of weeding, sweeping and raking. I suppose I covered about two-thirds of the 'lawn' area, including the side pieces, and it does look better. Somewhat:

The weeds at the far end are going to take significant work, and there's at least another half-hour's mowing that needs to be done. I also need to do some weeding in the front garden, which is looking very overgrown.

It's strange. I do like growing plants, and I love having them around, inside or out. I really enjoy the fruit trees and I like the appearance of a house with bougainvillea or geraniums, or whatever. Making a 'lawn' of sorts is somewhat satisfying, and I always find it thrilling when the browns of summer turn to luscious green. I don't even mind doing a bit of weeding from time to time. When I get into good habits, and when the weather's mild and sunny, it's quite a good way of relaxing.

And yet... sometimes gardening feels like such a chore. Perhaps because I'm the only one in the family who's at all interested in it, or the only one who notices when it needs doing! Tim often helps with using the lawnmower and Richard does a bit of pruning now and again, and Dan used to be great at sweeping up leaves. But I always feel they're doing these things for my sake, and I'm not sure I care enough about it for the job to be worthwhile. When the boys were younger, they and their friends spent a lot of time outside so it was worth keeping it at least somewhat tidy. But we don't really go outside very often, these days. In the winter it's far too cold to sit still outside, in the summer it's too hot. And in the all-too-short April and October when it's 'just right' we usually forget.

So I'm not sorry that we're considering buying a house with almost no outside space. My only concern is the cats, who do like spending time outside (but don't care how long the weeds are).

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