It has been made abundantly clear to me that I was fully consulted during the garden planning process. And yet, as part of my life strategy that – boiled down – is essentially blaming other people for everything, I beg to differ. Because I have wasted enough time, mucky spade in hand, to fully comprehend the horror that seven large flower-beds will bring.
Let me bring you with me here; if we exchange the couplet “flower bed” for “Weed Anarchy“, you begin to understand the futility in attempting to repel borders which are being over-run with an army of spikey green.
Somewhere in the dense jungle may be the expensive items we bought and carefully planted last year. But I’m not sure why we bothered, because if the long winter didn’t do for them, all sorts of unwanted aliens appear to be eating what’s left.
n the same way that life would be significantly fairer if lettuce had the taste and texture of sausages, weeds should not be allowed to grow faster than stuff you’d actually like to see. And if we don’t tackle the rampant little buggers soon,they’ll became terrifyingly rocky horror show and impervious to anything short of Napalm.
Happily, I am rarely allowed to weed unaccompanied, or at least supported by detailed drawings of what needs ripping outand what cost a fiver and was recently buried on purpose. I have worked hard on being this useless, honing my techniques and asking “This thing here… yes this one with the flower on it… it’s a weed, yes? No? Oh I’ll put it back then. Or what’s left of it anyway”.
Carol has done a brilliant job sorting it out although somewhat tired of spending days being “Woman with Trowel”. However our efforts have lessened our focus on the bottom half of the garden mostly lost to trampolines, a half completed Poultry Alcatraz, a dry pond and weeds that are bristlingly face high. Honestly, if I don’t get that Chicken run finished soon, I’ll have Kevin Whasthisname from Grand Designs turning up and doing a head shaking piece to camera.
Obviously I have a solution. And just as obviously it’s grounded in creating the most amount of carnage for the least amount of effort. Enter petrol based powertools – a friend’s strimmer is barely disguised as Lucifer’s motorised hell on earth. It even has a set of handlebars, which are probably designed to provide some form of control once the monster two stroke has spluttered noisily to life.
Largely pointless to be fair. Once it’s running so are you are an unwilling parter in a brutal, random and whirling tango . “Get the kids inside” I shouted over the cacophony of an unsilenced engine on full throttle* while fronting up to inch width nasties giving me the leafball**
The next twenty minutes were lost to a swathe cutting circuit of the garden scattering weeds, grass, plants and the odd fence post amok. Nothing could withstand the whirling death of the brushcutter including my now numbed hands and bleeding ears. I couldn’t stop tho, locked into a grisly dance with anything organic and having the temerity to sprout unasked.
A juddering stop revealed that such actions quickly drain a full tank of petrol, and a quick personal inventory had me laughing out loud at my now “greened up” complexion. Surveying my work, it was hard to independently assert that this part of our garden actually looked any better. One thing no-one could deny though, it was certainly lower.
One half cocked job completed, it was time to beef up the vegetable plot or “Insect Buffet” as I like to think of it. I can almost hear the stamping of impatient tiny feet and twitching of hungry proboscis as we carefully plant a whole raft of leafy goodness. I take a long hard look at natures’ bounty before reconciling myself to a chewed up wasteland some time in the near future. Maybe their is some work for the strimmer here on the insect harvesting front.
Still keen to do something strimmery, disappointment was the chief emotion as my plea to use this somewhat blunt instrument in a surgical strike capacity is firmly turned down. While I backed my ability to sorts the weeds from the daffs, Carol felt my strimming talents could be used elsewhere. Anywhere really even if that meant barely controlled destruction some five miles down the road.
“No I don’t need the car, I’ll strim my way there” I cried. In the pantheon of manly powertools, this rates pretty close to the top, above the whacker plate but possibly still below the jackhammer. Apparently chainsaws are even better, but – let’s be honest about my abilities here – it’d be fun until someone lost a limb. Or a head.
Both Carol and I like gardens. We just don’t like maintaining them which makes me feel that – lovely as it is – the block paving approach didn’t receive sufficient consideration at the design stage. Still, at least it gives me the opportunity to tinker with more oily engines, and I’ve yet to rule out a nuclear upgrade.
* Really this is a proper bloke’s toy. It doesn’t really need a throttle. Unless it has a special “go to 11” setting.
** like an eyeball, only somehow more sinister