My very own Eden project
In some ways I love this time of year. There is light in the evenings, the flood waters have subsided and the cuckoos are cuckooing.
However, there is one aspect of spring that I find difficult. All winter I have looked out of my kitchen window onto my garden. I say garden — I don’t think Alan Titchmarsh would recognise it as such — but the lawn was neat and tidy and the squirrels and pigeons seemed to enjoy hanging out there.
But now scary things have begun to happen. All manner of plants have sprouted. There are things I recognise, like grass and dandelions. There are quite pretty blue flowers which are actually weeds even though they don’t deserve to be, and there are other weeds which look exactly like, er, weeds.
Last weekend I intended to do something about this encroachment of nature. But Saturday is a day when Jews are specifically commanded not to garden, and on Sunday the forecast was for showers. Although they never quite materialised it seemed too much of a risk to go outside.
But eventually I decided to grasp the nettle — literally. I drove to my local branch of B&Q. I don’t often go there because DIY centres are scary places for a Jew. Not all Jews of course — my father loved fixing things and putting up shelves and he would happily spend all day gardening. But I seem to have reverted to the shtetl template — hours spent inside studying, reading and writing and only occasionally popping outside to expose my skin to the harsh rays of the April sun.
The garden problem was not going away, so I wondered if there might be some kind of machine which could cut the grass and weeds down to size. At B&Q I discovered that special mechanised threshing machines did indeed exist — they are known as lawnmowers. I also discovered that there was a separate device to trim, or to use the technical term, strim, the hard-to-get-to bits round the edge.
I purchased both and headed into the garden with grim determination. The strimmer advanced onto the lawn, but like a soldier at the Somme it lasted only minutes, confronting the Japanese knotweed briefly before falling bravely in battle. Next, the lawnmower trundled into no man’s land and I managed to fashion a clearing in the forest.
I rushed inside to tell my daughter Lucy, 11, the exciting news that she now had an outside space where she could play with her brother Alex.
“We have a garden?” she asked, possibly with a hint of sarcasm.
She wandered outside blinking and yawning, just long enough to grasp the enormity of my achievement, before returning inside to do vital social networking.
OK, my efforts may not qualify me for a plot at the Chelsea Flower Show. But now I have a taste for it. I could fashion some space to plant flowers – a flower bed if you will. Then I could perhaps construct a water feature, a rose garden, some hanging baskets, a vegetable and herb patch... In my enthusiasm I rushed to search online for everything I would need for my new project. I found the answer I was looking for. They deliver the Astroturf next week.