blue short-sleeved shirt stopped to say hey there. What was I finishing with the bamboo? Could I spare some for a task he was dealing with? Yes, I most certainly could. Just how much did he desire? Did he have a van? Would he like to obtain our trailer? No, no, he discussed. He would go home and step and exercise how much he needed. It turned out, he required 50cm. So does anybody desire some bamboo? Call me. Bring a van. I likewise know– and have also been informed
by a thousand handy, passing individuals– that I will have to dig out the roots or all the bamboo will come back. For this I will need a little digger and 5,000 euros. Everything appears to cost 5,000 euros, however big or small the task.As I start to prepare the garden I understand that, like so a number of life’s essential endeavours, the trick to gardening is editing. Plant too many various kinds of flowers and shrubs and it looks bitty and uncoordinated, fill it with too many objects, and it appears like a surge in a second-rate garden centre.
In my fairly modest front garden, over there, to the right, by the huge old stone wall and the vine, is a swimming pool. That sounds great, doesn’t it? Particularly as in the summertimes here the heat often climbs up into the high 30s. Other than– like the bamboo– my best Esther Williams impersonation in flower swimming cap and water resistant eye-makeup would be visible to any poor, passing soul. And there is another, more fragile problem. There is no navigating it. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve looked at it at every angle. The pool is uterus shaped.While this may
be extremely convenient for all of my full-moon witchcraft rituals, I usually like a little more privacy for them and besides, the candlewax and woad get all over. The pump is broken so it fills with rainwater, when rain there is, which then can’t get away. When we arrived in September, this indicated that I was, with no warning or training, the owner of the town’s most prolific mosquito reproducing program, and here we are cursed with tiger mosquitos, which do not even have the courtesy to make a noise before wrecking your pale, exposed flesh. The late Rosemary Verey never ever had to tolerate this. The swimming pool will have to go. Nobody can style out a uterus that uses up a quarter of their garden. That’ll be another 5,000 euros, thank you.All of this to do before I even get to the fun part, which is the planting. This provides brand-new challenges. In my London garden, I was consumed with attempting to get flowers to grow in the shade. Here I have the opposite issue, with 300 days of sunlight a year. But unexpectedly, those delicate blooms I coaxed into life in my city garden are too simple to grow. Easy that they’re on every roundabout in such abundance that I now think they may be vulgar, typical even. I’ve been considering buying– at additional eye-watering expense – a cloud-pruned olive tree as a centrepiece for the middle bed, and now I see our vet’s office has 4 of them in their car park and I stress they’re the Mediterranean equivalent of privet. But into my garden notebook go my dreams: Lavender? Mimosa? Wisteria? How many citrus? Is Russian sage too much of a roundabout plant? Is it too hot for hydrangeas?Truthfully, this is all a
kind of displacement activity. More than with photos of my old home, when photographs of our London garden pop up suddenly on my phone, something captures in my throat. I can’t bring myself to change the picture of it that’s the banner on my Twitter account, all thymes and rosemary toppling on to brick courses and arches of pink Constance Spry roses.We planted that garden from scratch over 20 years ago, and it
ended up being the background to some of the happiest minutes in our lives. Numerous Sunday mornings included weeding empty glasses from the flower beds and cigarette butts out of the gravel after another party. And I miss my plants, a great deal of them presents from pals, cuttings and slips from their own gardens. We couldn’t bring any of them with us, as considering that Brexit you require a pricey licence for each one, and I require every 5,000 euro I can lay my hands on at the minute. So we distributed anything in pots around north London, often to the very same individuals who gave them to us. It makes me happy to think about them growing in their new houses, with old friends.Time passes quickly. Last fall, knowing I would not be able to plant an appropriate garden yet, but also that life without flowers is a miserable thing, I threw a hundred or so bulbs into a dozen large pots and positioned them like sentries up the steps to the front door. Now the daffodils are a foot high and the tulips poke through the soil like so may bit green beaks. I know that as much as I planted them to cheer myself up, as a place marker for future possibilities, a front garden is something you also provide to other people. They should have a lot more than a uterus swimming pool and forest of bamboo. Enjoy this space( through the railings). Have you started a brand-new life abroad? Tell us about your experience in the comments area below