Have I ever told you about the Garage At the Bottom of the Garden? Sitting comfortably? It may take a while…
As we all know, a garage is a sacred space to at least half of humanity. Our GABG is a reliquary. It houses no less than six ladders, one entirely made of wood that spans the width of the garage and is completely inaccessible but inviolable and a dog agility seesaw, almost as long, which I have decreed must go as the dogs have dodgy kneecaps and aren’t allowed to use it anymore. There used to be two lawnmowers too. The grass has been cut once already and is growing like mad. The daisies are in full flower, ecstatic in the warmth that we have been blessed with the last two days. Everything is growing again; a promise kept by the garden.
But back to the GABG – What else is lurking there? Pots of every size, shape and material, faded black plastic, garden green, terracotta, crumbling wall pots, some glazed and painted, plant feet, copper tape to deter snails, slug traps to be filled with beer, bird feeders that have seen better days: nest boxes waiting to be cleaned and replaced in the ivy on the back wall: tubs of bird feed with holes nibbled by winter mice, who take the seed away, grain by precious grain, and secrete their dusty treasure in the lawn mower, only to lose it all when we discover what they’ve done.
There are ancient shelves with organic sprays for the garden, plant tags, old ashtrays filled with dibbers, broken trowels, pieces of hose, garden chairs, bags of stones, and gravel, plant trays, cardboard boxes full of damp granular matter, now set like concrete, parasols, plant supports, a mysterious pair of oars balanced on the rafters, left by Mr J the previous owner, a radiator, some double glazed wooden panels, more tubes, and then there is the wood collection – planks and sticks, blocks and trellis, piles of trugs and groundsheets, buckets, balls of string, wire, and netting, lots and lots of stuff, all covered with a gentle patina of garage dust.
But in pride of place is the tool rack. The rakes, the spades, the forks, the brooms are all there.
But none of them are mine.
Last week a historic moment occured as for the umpteenth time I failed to dig a proper hole in the garden. I said, glaring at the rack, ‘Your spades are too big for me, get me a smaller spade and I will dig holes, I will learn to do it.’ I said.
No one has ever bought me a spade before!
For the first time in my life I have my very own spade. Isn’t it shiny and lovely? I washed it this evening after I had dug some very elegant holes and planted a few herbs, I dug up the Corsican mint that had wandered too far; I was unstoppable.
Guess what? I’ve got a matching fork too. And…. I can dig holes all by myself. I have the tools now you see and I’ve had remedial training as well.
What? You want to know about the spade on the right, that’s B’s Dad’s spade, what’s left of it, worn down with years of use but still dearly loved. B comes from a long line of men who dig holes and I feel honoured that I am sharing in their knowledge and skills. He of course can’t stand gardening, though he is very good at it. I love the idea of gardening and slowly I am finally figuring out with his help how to do more than choose plants and dead-head daisies and as of this week I can dig a proper hole with square sides!