Susan Morrison: My garden’s a damned spot to rival Lady M’s

Susan's suffering from a severe case of garden envy. Picture: PA

Susan's suffering from a severe case of garden envy. Picture: PA

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Garden envy is a terrible thing. My friend’s just had hers done. A pair of young chaps moved in and tore out the overgrown borders, flattened the lumpy lawn and did away with the decrepit shed that lurked at the bottom of the garden like a Lubyanka for wasps, moths and fairies.

Next year she’ll have one of those gardens you see on the front of magazines.

This means, of course, that I return to the homestead and gloomily survey the family estates like Lady Macbeth in a bad mood because the barbeque’s gone rusty. Which it has.

Mind you, if you’re familiar with the Scottish Play, you’ll know that Lady M is in a permanent huff, which I put down to living in Cawdor Castle with no central heating and being far too far from John Lewis.

Like Mrs Macbeth, everything I survey is mine, although in my case, it’s not very far to the back fence. It’s not a bad little garden, but again, to emulate Lady MacB, I harbour great ambitions, nearly all of which are doomed to be binned by the Domestic Planning Commission, in the shape of the Grumpy Yorkshire husband who has firm views on what a garden should be.

Gardens should grow sustenance for the family. It’s a harsh lesson learned from the days when the food brought to our shores dodged the menace of the U-Boat wolf pack.

Yorkshiremen say there’s nowt you can teach them. Well, you can, but the trouble is, once that lesson has been programmed in, it can’t be changed.

I’ve tried pointing out that rationing is fairly unlikely in today’s world, in fact, it might not be a bad idea, judging from what I’ve seen in the Kirkgate, but no. In his head, the convoys still sail from Archangel and slice through Arctic waves to reach us, despite the fact the blueberries say “Product of Kent” on the label. On the other hand, I entertain frivolous notions of raised beds, green swathes and getting the back gate re-sited. In short, a garden for swanning about in.

Do it yourself, hen

LADY Macbeth would have been in a better mood if she’d had a butterfly-friendly wildflower border and a 
gravity-free lounger.

Had the three weird sisters met up with Lady MacBeth, it’s quite likely that they might have said, hold on, sweetheart, why are you hanging about waiting for Thingummyjig to do the job? He didn’t even give you the heads-up when he rocks up at the front door with a king and an entire army right behind him looking to get fed, bed and watered, did he?

And Thane of Cawdor he might be, but like a lot of blokes, he takes about three tellings before he actually gets things done, although usually it’s to put a shelf up, not bumping off the reigning monarch at dead of night, in the spare room, thus ruining your best bedding.

Sisters do it for themselves these days, my lovely. You want a job doing, love, do it yourself.

Mindful of this advice, I have looked up landscape gardeners with a view to a consultation. Let’s run the risk of rationing returning.

This particular crop is not berry useful

This year we have generated crops from the land. One bowl of cherries, a dozen apples and five cucumbers. There are still tomatoes to be fetched in from the greenhouse.

We also have gooseberries, but strange problems bedevil our bushes. For one thing, the leaves just vanished from the branches earlier this year and secondly, why are we growing gooseberries in the first place? We never eat them. We pick them and freeze them and throw them out around about December, usually.

Someone suggested putting frozen gooseberries in gin instead of ice cubes. I got quite excited. Can’t recommend it. It took me, oh, about a half a bottle’s worth before I decided ice cubes were better.

Colony of Artists reframes my living room envy

A HUGE thank you to the folks who put together the Colony Of Artists in Abbeyhill over the weekend. It’s a lovely little community festival of artists who live around the colonies and who open their homes to exhibit work. I could be wrong, but I suspect there is no official money behind it, just a wagon load of goodwill.

We lived in those colonies for over ten years. People stopped in me the street asked me if we had moved back. I said no, and I could see the relief in their eyes. After all, house prices have only just recovered.

It was a wonderful afternoon. There was bunting, cake and music, and more to the point, I got to nosey about not just in gardens, but people’s houses, which has lead to living room envy, which means I’ll have to get a interior designer in as well.