The residents committee has just named my neighbour as having an
outstanding garden and to my embarrassment has named and shamed us as
having a poor garden with little prospect of improvement. My neighbour
certainly has a well maintained garden that is not only colourful all
year round but has carefully selected plants and flowers to encourage
the bees and butterflies. They have even considered what the garden
should smell like from the back door or when the conservatory windows
are open. They are always in the garden following frequent trips to
the local garden centre.
I’m pleased for them and said so to the members of the committee
who came to give me advance notice on their assessment of my garden
but you can’t compare our gardens. It’s true my garden is
“unimaginative”, it’s just scrubby grass with worn patches, a rather
ugly trampoline with side netting in the corner and a couple of broken
saplings. Not helped I agree by the rust old but still useable large
barbecue and the cheap plastic garden table and chairs. But my
neighbours garden is one to sit in and enjoy the sights and smells
mine is a play ground for three kids and a dog. The grass is worn from
football and cricket and various chasing games often involving the
dog. The trampoline has been a great success and an excellent way to
burn off excess energy -out side. The saplings were a well intended
mistake they were never going to get the chance to grow big, strong
and beautiful in this environment. And the kids love a barbecue.
The committee response was to point out that my neighbour on the
other side also had children who liked to play football and they had a
simple but effective garden with a lush green lawn and a strikingly
elegant line of silver birch trees. Which again is true only the grass
just looks real and those silver birches were bought at great expense
as mature trees planted by the same people that laid the artificial
turf. It is very effective and very practical but the cost! If I had
that much to spend my first priority would not be the garden. Well may
be a new barbecue and replace the rather weather worn umbrella but the
bathroom and kitchen need work doing.
I was reminded of this as a read a recent inspection report which
named and shamed a local authority and strongly recommended that they
seek a partnership arrangement with one or both of their neighbours
who have received excellent and outstanding reports.
Throw some more sausages on the barbecue boys.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk