24 August 2011
Our garden is the length of a dozen pairs of underwear plus socks and bras. Though it’s obviously the same length whatever’s on the line. Across, it’s the width of one turn-of-the-century terrace house.
Our street was built for married NCOs stationed at a nearby barracks. And out the back was conceived as a yard for a shed, with maybe one bed against a wall for a few flowers – and the washing line. The brick lanes let you get your bike or a wheelbarrow out, just about without scraping your hands.
Now the lanes have security gates and are all but blocked with ivy, bramble and escaping roses. Behind their tumbling walls are tiny lawns, or paving slabs and barbeques. Number 18 crunches with gravel (reminding cats of litter trays), number 14 is a hiatus of timber and rubble that nature is completing with sow thistles, herb robert, and tall grasses.
Our garden is dominated by a crab-apple tree. When we bought it, it came home in the car. Now I climb it to prune it, and it’s visited by great tits, dunnocks, and one enormous woodpigeon. Beneath it are plants that slugs don’t eat (we’ve wept for marigolds and moved on). It’s a bit overgrown, but the insects like that. So think of our garden as a partly paved clearing in unintended woodland, with washing. There are no hedgehogs; they’d need power tools to get through the brickwork. Though that is an idea.
Post by our lovely guest blogger Old Teasel.
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