I am in the garden today, trying to beat an errant Forsythia into submission. I think I've won, with the help of some sturdy Felcos and a shepherd's crook, although the poor shrub looks less like it has been pruned and more grazed by an elephant. I've talked before about the joys of gardening, and indeed how appealing it is to do it for a living, but being able to eat regularly and pay the rent is something of a deciding factor against it.
Rented gardens are actually very little fun. You are expected to do the maintenance, and keep it "tidy" (according to the tenancy agreement) but you don't want to invest too much into it. After all, it isn't yours, you can't dig up that really annoying laurel and replace it with something sexier, and any money spent is effectively a gift to the landlord. So you prune and mow, and try not to get irritated by the state of the haven't-seen-the-shears-in-far-too-many-years lavender. You resist the temptation to glyphosate the ugly, mangled holly bush by the door (I mean, who plants a HOLLY right by the front door?) and to take a chainsaw to the bloody forsythia and the mystery tree which generally just looks sick all year before vomiting its shrivelled leaves all over the lawn.
Rented gardening is the pits.
I will however make an exception to my "plant nothing" rule. Everywhere I've lived so far I've planted Geranium macrorrhizum alba. I get them for free off my Mum, who has a garden full of it. The bigroot cranesbill, it gets bloody everywhere, smothers weeds, has pretty flowers, attractive (if a bit stinky) foliage and is damn near indestructible short of a direct nuclear strike. Love it. I'm making a space for four of them this afternoon, if I can survive that long. That's the other problem with gardening. Everything out there seems to be out to get me. Just today I have ripped open the end of my finger on a rose bush and gashed my other hand on the wheelie bin. I normally come in itching (something out there gives me hives) stung, bitten, grazed, scratched and having done my back in.
Remind me why I like gardening again?