Monday, July 13, 2015

A Garden Walk

Which, in itself, is of course a misnomer. No one walks anywhere in America. Well maybe they've rediscovered the pleasures in New York City but this is not New York City. So a Garden Walk involves driving, with the help of a map and finding the numbered houses that have bravely offered themselves up for scrutiny.  I went on one of these walks a couple of years ago and came back with a strange mixture of despair and inspiration. despair at the contrast between these manicured gems and my own jungle and inspiration to Do Better. Now I have realised something. American gardening.... not like English gardening. Americans are in their element with Neat and do it beautifully. Neat, Spaced Out Symmetrically and Lots and Lots of Mulch.

In our jungle, what with weeds, woodchucks, rabbits, deer, tree roots, not enough time and far too many of the aforementioned slugs, we don't do Neat. We aspire to a sort of English cottage/woodland reverie look and convince ourselves that weeds, sorry, wild flowers, are OK too,

Another difference - the phenomenon of the Vast Manicured Lawn. So many Americans around our way love to be surrounded by lawn, lawn and precious little else. They don't use it for anything - golf, croquet, keeping horses or whatever, just, presumably for gazing at and anally mowing from dawn till dusk, thus making weekends a living hell for those of us who love peace and quiet.  The newer and more sophisticated the mowers (the rider kind, obviously) the louder the noise. It's like being surrounded by an army of maddened mutant hornets.  There is a theory for this - that possessing an enormous lawn which one doesn't actually have to grow stuff on, is a sign of having arrived. The one-time colonists can imagine themselves Lords of the Manor back in the old country, a sort of nose-thumb at George lll and the Downton Abbey lot. Hubby has another theory, that it's a subconscious leftover from the days when one had to worry about attacks from marauding enemy, Indians or otherwise. It's good to keep a clear view of your surroundings.
   Then,  there's the, possibly contradictory, phenomenon of No Fences.  No sign of where your land ends and next door's starts. I mentioned to a few people on the Walk that I couldn't be doing with that and got some polite but puzzled smiles.
  Another Americanism - what we would call a garden is not a garden but a yard, which hardly does it justice. A garden is what we would call a vegetable patch or a herbaceous border - or just a flower bed.
   Back to the Garden Walk and below is a natty way of growing herbs.

Altogether the Garden Walk was great fun and it being a small town, a way to meet a lot of old acquaintances - and some new.

 And what's more, it was actually a sunny day.

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