Getting a new lawn shouldn't perhaps fill one with sheer delight and cause a great deal of excitement given that, well, it is just grass after all and yet my partner and I felt elated when we arrived home last week to find that we had a green space where for the past two years there had been an expanse of grey, broken concrete, seasonally forested in a thick overgrowth of weeds.When we bought the house, we knew that the garden was a problem. It was completely overgrown and totally infested with Horsetails (also known as Mares-tails), an invasive and robust weed that is notoriously difficult to eradicate.
We were, however, so thrilled with the actual house, a lovely Edwardian merchants villa, that we concentrated on revitalising the interior of our new home and we tended to ignore the garden unless we had to go out there. Even the dog didn't care too much for the space, preferring to stay indoors rather than enter the desolation of the bleak back garden.
We did try to deal with the weeds ourselves on more than one occasion with ever stronger and more terrifying weed-killers but still the Horsetails returned to taunt us.
Horsetails, it should be mentioned, are not unattractive to behold, they look like miniature fir trees and apparently they have been around on this earth for aeons, once having stood like dinosaur trees, tens of feet tall, in vast forests. Now they are tiny in comparison but no less scary if you happen to be fighting them. In fact they are a good source of silica and we did briefly contemplate cultivating them until we realised that we didn't have a clue as to what anyone actually uses silica for...
Underneath this forest of green lay a broken concrete area which once had made up an easily maintained outside space where the earlier residents might have placed large pots of colourful flowers and patio furniture from where they would survey their summery garden. Now all that was left of those heady days was a sorry looking Camellia in a large pot being strangled by Horsetails. We managed to rescue the Camellia and set it aside, nurturing it for a year or so until it recovered. This year it has thanked us with a spectacular display of bright pink blooms.
Anyway, so it was that a few weeks ago I happened to see a truck outside a house in our neighbourhood. It belonged to a gardener whose name, Mike, was emblazoned on the side of his vehicle. Knowing that this year we simply had to address the problem of our garden, I made a mental note of his name and came home. As I was browsing Facebook later that day (as one does instead of tackling the garden, or any other pressing issue), what popped up magically on Facebook but a 'suggestion' from them that I might want to check out Mike and his gardening service. Talk about Big Brother, Facebook seems to have eyes and ears everywhere though I still can't imagine how they knew what was going on in my mind.
Freaked out a little by the mind reading folks at Facebook but following this obvious pointer, I returned to the place where I had seen Mike's truck and there I found Mike himself. Within minutes, he had popped over to our house, assessed the garden situation, offered his advice and we had even agreed a price.
I guess I can actually cut this long story a little short, suffice it to say that the following week, Mike and his gang of hard-working garden chaps had transformed the desolate space at the back of our house into a wonderland of green grass and brightly coloured pebbles, the crumbling wall had been replaced with old railway sleepers which look amazing and I have already seen the first signs of wildlife returning to the garden.... okay well it was only a beetle but it's more than I've seen there in a very long time!
We are looking forward to summer with enthusiasm and a newly found love of the outdoors now as we plan what plants we will be getting and where they will be placed. Even the dog ventured into the garden today to inspect the work and he seemed pleased too.
As Mike disappeared into the distance I looked at my smart phone and thanked Facebook for reading my mind that day. Though I have to say I am very cautious to avoid thinking too much now unless my phone is on charge somewhere safely out of sight - lest Facebook hear that we really need a new kitchen.....
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