|In its heyday, a very important pond.|
I have been pencilling scale drawings of our garden on the graph paper at the back of my budget planner. The logic is that I will keep my budget planner for years, enabling me to settle a dispute in 2027 when we argue how much we spent on cider-making supplies in 2021.
It was amusing and instructive to go outside with a metal tape and measure all the necessary distances. For one thing, the area of the garden--which was thrown in with the price of the flat--is much bigger than the area of the flat. For another, our downstairs neighbour opened her door to ask what I was doing and had to be satisfied with my boring and obvious answer. I could have said I was figuring out how much fence we need, but I only thought of that later.
I now have two scale drawings: the garden as it is ("Garden 2021") and the garden as it could be ("Garden 2031"). Occasionally I get up from my desk, go to the door and look over the expanse of grass, tree and concrete and imagine Garden 2031. Then I adjust my vision, and Garden 2021 reappears, bringing with it the possibility of leaving it alone and thereby saving thousands of pounds.
However, since we do have a garden (and so many people don't) and working in a garden is good for both one's physical and metal health, I think developing it would be better than not developing it. Besides, if I put a greenhouse, 3 raised vegetable beds and a raised pond on the lawn, there will be less grass for Benedict Ambrose to mow. Also, if we pull up the concrete tiles covering the last three-eighths towards the apple tree, we could hammer in a fox-proof fence and raise hens.
There is also the environment to consider. The local fauna might not care so much about the vegetable beds (I hope), but I'm thinking of planting flowers that will attract butterflies, bees and (especially) ladybugs. I could pull up parts of the concrete slab paths and plant more berry bushes. Naturally my wildest dream is to plant a permaculture food forest--our prehistoric ancestors ate a lot of hazelnuts--but I don't have the heart to destroy the lawn to that extent.
The first thing to do, of course, is fulfil our promise to our next-door-downstairs neighbour and put a proper fence between his rather Zen (complete with Buddha) garden and our riotous rosa rugosa. To do this, we will have to cut them right down to the ground again. If I could, I would grow espaliered fruit trees against this south-facing fence-to-be, but I don't think the roses would allow it, even if we did keep brutally cutting them back. (I know how to poison them, but I don't believe in poisoning plants.)
One thing of which I am relatively sure: the expanded vegetable gardens are not going to pay for themselves, and we're not sure the garden office (which we will enjoy designing) will either, should we decide to sell the flat. Naturally, we aren't going to do anything crazy until B.A. has found a full-time job in Edinburgh. If we suddenly had to move to Durham or Belfast, it would be inconvenient to have just built a garden room de luxe. However, we still have some time before B.A. has his professional diploma in his new field, so it is worth putting in the fence and buying the greenhouse and trying to grow tomatoes that remind us of Italy.