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Busy Bee2

I think a garden is humankind asserting their dominance over nature, saying what is to grow somewhere, and what is not, who is to eat the produce, and who is not.  But we have to work with nature to make the most of our gardens.  Some of us almost fear our garden's ability to run out of our control.  You can tidy the lounge, close the door, and come back to it two weeks later, and it will be exactly the same as you left it.  But tidy the garden, and go on holiday for two weeks, and who knows where it will have run amok.  Fear of nature's ability to do its own thing, means that some people prefer a sterile garden, whereas others amongst us enjoy a bit of anarchy, and will take risks.  Human nature I guess.  I think I fall somewhere in the middle. 

BB.....I think you have hit the nail on the head............but anyone trying to achieve a sterile garden is fighting a losing fact, they are not trying to create a garden - just an extension to their house.  Those "popular" progs which advocated using a garden as an "outside room"  have a lot to answer for.............a garden is an extension to your living quarters of course but it is a living, breathing, evolving part and needs to be treated as such.

Rant over


I love an overgrown jungle which is fortunate because it's what I've got

I don't mind if some of the plants are considered weeds. The other inhabitants of the garden need them and I prefer to call them wild flowers. 

No sharp edges on the grass (not lawn, too sterile) Plants growing here and there in cracks (and the drive). 

I wouldn't mind a few less stinging nettles, hogweed and goosegrass though


I like the nettles until they get me!  Other people always comment on how well my nettles are doing though.  My 2 year old is better at avoiding them than me!


I like a few nettles Mrs G but they've got a bit out of hand


Mrs G, Daughter was a full of life teenager who only knew the garden as the place Dad disappeared and came back with green stuff covered with caterpillars she was expected to eat for her complexion. Her first house had no garden, this house Dad did the garden for years then watching TV make overs she took over and it became an extension to the lounge, Dads garden went in the bin and now it is a newly made over play room-chill out area, they sit with a bottle of M&S wine living the life. !!!!!!

Who am I to say that is wrong, I am either up the top end on my sun trap patio or in the conservatory watching the rain pouring life into everything, each end a separate entity hidden from the other, "err" I do lock the doors when I disappear into the rain forest as Daughter calls it, do not try it on or the little Jack Russell I mind will have your ankles. Maybe we are to blame we did not give them the time our Fathers gave us working in the garden, the Grandchildren are very interested especially the Strawberries peas and carrots, at least that is a start.

I am with Mike having been given plenty of advice over the years filter it and use the best bits is the way to go.


My son already uses his plastic shears to cut the hedge, mows the lawn, digs and waters.  I couldn't stop him if I wanted to, he has a mind of his own.  He does have a lawn area and a play area, we are lucky enough to have the space but of course the whole garden is his, he is a free range toddler.  My theory is if he learns to respect and care for the garden now he is less likely to destroy it when he gets older. 

the tidy gardener

interesting thread.

I like things very orderly and in place, and when it comes to my garden, I thought it would be the same, but its not. very blowsy, cottage garden, and when it comes to the veg garden I try to have regimented lines. but my garden has a different idea,and it is rather messy,but I love it.

Busy Bee2

Claire, I find that sometimes the flowers rambling about serve to limit the weeds, so a cottage garden can be a force of nature that can be harnessed, and I'm sure you find the same.  Palaisglide, you probably did what you could to interest your daughter in gardening.  I tried with my son (15), and he is just not suited to it.  He is very impatient, and was never interested in the idea of sowing seeds for the deferred pleasure of watching them appear a week later, and flower three months after that.  In fact, he can't see the joy of flowers either - they are just in the way when you need to retrieve a frisbee. The garden is just a recreation area, and nothing more.  I have told him he needs to buy a flat when he grows up.  But I do understand why, if your daughter works full time, as so many women have to nowadays, and has children, she doesn't want the management of a garden to add to her 'to do' list.  Cutting grass is essentially like hoovering, weeding is like picking up toys, planting out is like putting things away in cupboards.  Watering and feeding is like the endless round of providing a family with meals and drinks, and washing up afterwards.  It is just more 'to do'.  So maybe sitting outside with a bottle of wine is a much deserved treat at the end of a busy day, and she prefers not to sit there and look at all the 'stuff to do'. 

Busy Bee, very profound and very true, I would agree with all the above post having worked it out when my bits of her garden vanished into the great compost heap in the sky. But and it is a very big but why continue the make overs into my garden? if I would let her. Three years ago I gave in was sent packing for a week and the family did a complete bathroom make over plus house decoration. Lovely and was pleased although why it needed changing I could not work out, everything worked?

Now she is saying my kitchen needs a work over? why? it is clean functional I cook all the time in there, (us retired lot have the time) it is how Joan wanted it so I am happy with things as they are. Having hit a brick wall it is now the garden, I tell her that making things into her own image belongs to him above so another brick wall. It is this constant need for change yet and another big yet the grand children want all to be the same when they come, nothing changed, they seem to need to touch a base that never changes is comforting in its sameness like granddad. I have no rules, if things get accidentally damaged as they play they tell me and we do the A&E bit as they help and I usually have some seed they can sow in case our patient dies. Make the garden fun for the children and they will learn to love it as we do.

They say each generation has to have change, in my time gardens have gone through many fads and fashions now I see them getting back to what I knew as a lad, a working plot (well in parts) that helps feed the family, sanity at last I would say.


Busy Bee2

You are right.  The modern generation (and I'm not sure which generation I fit into - being somewhere in between in age) have been sold this idea, by the people who make the money out of it, that everything must be made over, and up to date, or life is not worth living.  My parents got married, bought a house, bought their furniture (from G plan) and expected to keep it for the rest of their days.  And they did.  And it was good quality and lasted them. 

By contrast nowadays, people buy cheap furniture from Ikea or the like, and expect to change it every five years or so, to keep up with the current trends.  Go to any recycling centre and the landfill skip will be filled with woodchip and plastic furniture, and the people who put it there will be tripping off to Ikea on their day off to get something else (made from particleboard and laminate). 

Gardening is much the same - subject to the traditions of the day.  It amuses me to see the gardens of the seventies, with their neat rows and circles of french marigolds and bright red salvia, with several inches of soil showing in between.  My mother, in the 80s and 90s, tried to convince my father that it would be a good idea to plant things next to one another rather than at waving distance.  Her theory was that he didn't want to spend the money on more plants!  But he struggled to do what she wanted. 

Children do try to bring their parents up to date.  I did it to my parents.  My mother's lounge being a case in point (I say hers, because my father had no design preferences).  She had never been happy with it, and when I came home to stay in 1994, we overhauled it together.  Their house was a design nightmare.  The small kitchen had four doorways leading out of it, and a series of alcoves, necessitated by an old chimney breast and some ducts.  There were tiled steps down to a damp lean-to scullery, and more down into a cold larder.  There was no real room for cupboards or work surface.  But they didn't seem interested in doing anything about it.  Instead they spent their money on Caribbean cruises, and wintering abroad (presumably to get away from the kitchen!!)

A few weeks ago, our son told his father that his clothes were a disgrace, and he was going to give him a makeover.  So he chose him some clothes which we brought home (OH just wears whatever he is told to - very obliging).  I couldn't stop laughing - suddenly I was married to the oldest teenager in town.  Skinny jeans , hoodie, etc. 

I don't think young people understand that when you get older, you don't want to be chasing fashion, and whatever suits you, is what you will stick with, thank you very much.  Sure, you might see some new trend and think 'that would suit me', but we are all free to pick and choose.  Our middle aged friends don't laugh at us and tease us for being out of date.  We are more secure in our tastes than teenagers.  And as you say, their children have the last laugh, because it never occurs to them to overhaul the grandparental home - they love it in all its quirkiness.  And they will be the people who start overhauling your daugher in time to come, and you can watch and smile


Out of curiosity I am wondering (not sure what generation I belong in being 29) whether the extending homes into gardens rather than having gardens in their own right stems partly from the fact that houses now seem *TINY*.

My parents house is huge - we phone each other up to see who is in the house, and so is the garden (I have been known to call the neighbours to see if they can spot my mother through the hedge). But we never go and eat a meal in the garden because... well there's the dining room, kitchen table, and conservatory to choose from and by the time you've traced father down the meal is going cold.

Our house is a 1960s council build and "modest". But the new houses we looked at when trying to buy a house where TINY. I felt trapped with just the two of us walking around how could I even start to imagine living in this house with teenage children, their friends, the dog... the bedrooms were so tiny that you could barely get a bed in much less wardrobes and if you wanted to entertain your teenage friends in there... well you had to be prepared to get to know them very well. So who takes over the lounge? No doubt much "huffing" and mini tantrums are had about parents being so embarrassing and children so inconsiderate when they commandeer the sofa insisting parents are pushed into the kitchen and not seen nor heard else their mates (who obviously have model parents who hide in their bedroom) tease them.

So what other space is left in the house? The garden. Suddenly its the only space you have to relax with friends of an evening and by the time all the garden sofas and entertaining tables / BBQs / whatever else IKEA convinces you that you *MUST* have... there's no room for what you would consider the more traditional flowers.

Busy Bee, you make me smile, you probably come in the range of my youngest Daughter, far too busy with her design job yet in the middle of yet another make over in the en-suit where it would have been best to note the strength of the walls before buying all the heavy machinery needed to shower these days. (What ever happened to the oil drum on a trestle in the garden with a ladder to fill the oil drum and then one go only once you pulled the string)?

Having worn uniform of some sort since being 18 fashion washed over me, functional, workable, needs must, you could not walk around in your jockeys other than in the Desert. At ICI told I had the Managers job and then gently told that swanning around in my Rover in short sleeve shirts open collar hard hat and boots would have to be rounded off by wearing a tie at all times?? came as a shock, why? The look old man you cannot let the side down in front of the men and women can you? The answer was short sharp and military, I have the respect of the men and women now wearing a tie will alter nothing, then wore a tie, if you cannot beat them etc.

I tried the Spain and Italy get away with Joan and got ten days, eight days she started to be agitated ten days turned her from a pussy cat into a wild cat so I would be booking the plane home and got my wife back when we walked in the house. Watching Daughter with Phoebe 4 she was telling her all the things she kept here in separate places would be better all in one and did that. Phoebe then replaced it all where it had been, I was in tears laughing. The garden is my space as I want it warts and all change it at your peril.


Clarington what a picture you paint though been there when they were all at home, we had a large house yet still entertainment spilled out back front and into the garage, BBQ under the garage door if it was raining. 25 30 people dogs (no cats) kids amidst the chaotic proceedings all enjoying the party. The house big enough for Joan and I to shut a door and relax. Times change, children flee the nest and you find you need walky talkies to find each other in the vast empty space. A move to a new build bungalow and a new garden which in 35 years has changed many times though never in the fashionable mode of the time. It has taken on its own personality, some plants have moved so many times they keep a bag packed, now though it all comes together, plants happy me happy grand children happy Daughter fidgeting, "if we did that, moved that, pulled that up, cut that down"??? yes but then it would be your garden and not in my image. Family, a wonderful part of life but oh so demanding, there speaks the old set in his ways Dad, crusty lot are we not.


L Bennett

For me, as I have a small garden (that I love) I only trim stuff if it shades my fruit/veg - that's it. I say let things grow when/where they want to.

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