In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes. But just hold up Benjamin Franklin, I have one more to add to your list. If you've worked really hard and you manage to get yourself a little garden in a small corner of the world...
That garden is going to need maintaining otherwise the neighbours WILL talk about you. It's not only certain, it's guaranteed.
I've got 2 dogs (left) that I love more than cake, coffee and personal space put together. They're great but they're small and white and the garden is a mud bath. Not only am I NOT a fan of gardening, I also can't bear mud being brought in by these mud monsters. I like nice clean floors. I like spic and span and I love FREE TIME where I am not doing chores.
And mainly I like my all-white bedroom to stay all-white and not be christened with muddy paw prints the moment I put a new duvet cover on.
So how to get a small suburban garden to fit in with my lifestyle? Grass, i'm sorry, you're no good. You grow, you get weeds, you need cutting, you need taking care of.
I know you look pretty but after a quick cost-benefit analysis Grass, it's clear you can't give me what I need. Please don't get upset - It's not you, it's me.
I need low maintenance, NO maintenance that will not drag mud inside and will only need half an hour per year of tending. And hey presto, if you're really keen on labour-saving gardens; I found just the thing.
Rip the entire thing up and replace it with wood that's been specially treated to not need a drop of Ronseal ever. This No-Maintenance Garden does *exactly* what it says on the tin and I couldn't be happier.
You get a blank canvas and even though it's a tiny space I like looking out on splashes of colour.
Brainwave number 2. Of course, the most obvious option is to find a second hand roll top bath and fill it with vibrant flowers...surely...
Have a look what I found (left) - One of my best ever bargains, I got it from E-Bay
and as a bath it's not functional as it's cracked and broken just near the plug hole. Perfect for my needs, so I got a helpful man-with-a-van to drop it off - as it's acrylic it was a doddle to get up the stairs and I really *really* like the chrome feet.
The decking is raised so I had to be careful not to install any garden furniture that was so heavy it would ruin the construction. This bathtub is full almost to the brim with polystyrene packing peanuts which are covered with a thin layer of flint chips from Homebase.
And then I could get busy with the fun stuff. Planting!
Don't worry, I haven't lost my head. If I've gone to all this trouble to not have one organic, living, breathing bit of greenery in the garden then I won't be starting now.
I bought a bunch of artificial ivy and draped it over the edges and made a waterproof 3D window using a canvas, sticky backed plastic and an interior decorating wall sticker that I found online (right)
Finishing touches from last year's bathtub (above) were a riot of daffodils. They looked great and were all 100% artificial and bloomed continuously even at Christmas. Not only do I have a zero maintenance garden but I get to practice being more and more eccentric as every year that goes by. Lovely!
These artificial flowers came all the way from China because they're the cheapest I could find which means once they lose their sparkle I can rip them out and recycle them and plant new ones every year. Even doing gardening this way works out SO much cheaper than the cost of a lawnmower, bulbs, compost - it does not depend on manual watering or mass death during hosepipe bans. And the greatest joy of all - once it's done it's done. I get on with admiring my handiwork safe in the knowledge I just ticked off an entire year's worth of garden maintenance in just half an hour. I claim my title as Surrey's Premier Garden Magician.
Don't like daffs? How about Tulips? Here's this year's theme:
And you can even brighten up tired looking pots. This year I have red roses. Next year the sky's the limit!
I hope that's cheered up your day. Today i'll mainly not be doing anything at all to my garden that stays blooming perfect all year round. Except wondering why I didn't do this YEARS ago!