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Grass covers a quarter of all the land on planet Earth. The stuff would subsume my world if I allowed it free rein. Generally the genus can survive being eaten, dried, frozen and burned to the ground. It endures ball sports and barbeques, copes with spillages up to and including smoking hot pet pizzle. Unfortunately in response to my efforts to remove it from the borders, escaped lawn makes an unpleasant, desiccated, spiteful sounding titter.
Into the back garden
Into the back garden

When we moved in, the house was a wreck, with a roof in ruins and plaster crumbling from the walls. I made a deal with my family, that I would concentrate on the building, until they could sleep without seeing the sky. They also insisted on habitable living rooms and functioning bathrooms. This intransigence of cissies meant that work outside was delayed more than I would have thought reasonable. The front garden was covered with concrete, the back was piled with junk and crammed with ground elder. There were no clear divisions between different areas and nettles, dock and horse tail were all thigh high. When we made a start on the weeds, we found some black roll-top edging buried in the soil. I washed them off and stashed them in a heap, since they might come in handy. I made a separate collection of unbroken bricks, with which I found more tiles. In the far corner were five huge stumps from a long dead pear tree. I didn’t fancy dragging them out by the roots, so I made a statement of them with the addition of a granite door step which I found beneath an overgrown ivy. Upended and under planted with ferns and foxgloves, it looked the business. Behind the moss cloaked trunks, I put a vast box full of Heucheras, Aquilegias and yet more ferns. The container was made from an old water tank which I rescued from the plumber’s skip, at the cost of a very personal injury which I don’t want to talk about. Lead lined and faced with black painted marine ply, it made a striking focal point at the end of a path.
Thalictrum aquilegifolium “Album” (meadow rue)
Thalictrum aquilegifolium “Album” (meadow rue)

I made some curtains for Barbara and re-upholstered a couch for Belinda, both of whom gave me terracotta border slabs that they didn’t want. Still fighting the perennial weeds at home by deep digging, we disinterred some large lumps of quartz, which I used to retain the yellow bed. I did some gardening for Ed, in return for some triangular clay ridge tiles. His wife pleaded with me to take them, saying that since their patio looked like a builder’s merchant, I would be saving him from an expensive and ill tempered divorce. I piled them on to my trailer and took them back to my own architectural salvage yard. Attila spent several afternoons excavating trenches and splashing about in cement. He interspersed the coping stones with some of my extensive range of supplies and thus more blockades were finished, to help against the onslaught of the turf.
Cercis “Forest Pansy” & Asparagus
Cercis “Forest Pansy” & Asparagus

I made a dragon’s tooth arrangement from yet more brick, to barricade other bits. Lately, we’ve found rope edged pavers well hidden in the earth, which we’ve mixed with others from my compilation, to make a neat finish. The blend of brown and black used in different combinations, suits my style and best of all, leaves more money to spend on plants. The old materials are better manufactured than modern equivalents and the smug glow from recycling keeps me warm, until such time as the radiators can be connected.

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