My garden hates me. It’s the only explanation I can think of. Things generally grow in abundance on the Silver Coast. Green fields carpet the hills, flowers blind you with colour and my neighbour’s tree hangs heavy with lemons. Mine does not. Mine has chosen to turn its leaves black and provide no fruit at all.
If this is some kind of protest I don’t know what it is for. I’ve watered the garden, kept the grass short enough to avoid losing the cat and thrown some foul-smelling organic fertiliser around every now and then. This, to me, is lavish care and attention.
In return I get a garden in which things either die shortly after I plant them or pick themselves up and move. I dug out a new flowerbed last year, edged it with a twee roll of split logs and filled it with plants covered in vibrant red flowers. The flowers fell off immediately, never to return, and during the course of the summer the plants gradually relocated themselves to a patch of grass outside the flower bed. I mowed them down in revenge.
My lawn is very accommodating in this way. It willingly offers itself up to be colonised by any stray plant, weed or bit of moss that happens to be passing and now lies there looking ravaged and exhausted. If it were human it would have a fag hanging out of its mouth. I tried a vegetable patch once which was a stunning example of underachieving plant life until I gave up and threw the whole lot onto the compost heap. There, of course, the vegetables thrived among the rotting vegetables and urine soaked straw from the guinea pig cage. I was not tempted to eat them.
So I look out of the window in the mornings and see this place of sullen defiance, a class of delinquents who spit on all notions of order and authority. It is clear I am not welcome there. But I feel I should be doing something. This is the time for planting and re-growth and the DIY stores are filled with displays of how wonderful my garden could look if I could just sort out the attitude of the things already living there.
I am tempted to rip them all out of the ground and cover the place in gravel. That’ll teach them. But past experience tells me they will simply thrive elsewhere and return, laden with lemons, to tower over my fence and toss unwanted leaves across the gravel. I may just give up and leave the plants to do their own thing. Perhaps they have a plan. The cat will have to find her own way home.