A forcing of nature
I like a nicely mown lawn, and a tidy garden. So when the sun came out a couple of weekends ago I had no excuses left. Having put it off for weeks on end I had to get into it. My neighbour must have been working to the same time frame because he was out in force as well. Between us, during the course of the day, we unleashed the power of no fewer than seven pieces of petrol driven machinery on our unsuspecting gardens. It would have been eight except for the fact that my lawn edger is manual - a circular blade with a foot pedal and a handle. That was when I realised it was a bit ridiculous; as I hopped and lurched along trying to get this thing to cut through the thick outriggers of lawn which were making a break for the path - my neighbour breezed past me in a cloud of two-stroke fumes leaving a ruler straight divide between grass and concrete. Apart from those we each had a line trimmer, a garden blower, and a lawn mower, although his is a ride-on so, again, he was cruising past. By the time we sat down for a well earned beer at the end of the day we had hammered our respective patches of nature into temporary submission, and the result was very pleasing - to our eyes. Not so much to the countless insects we had probably made homeless, and the innumerable weeds we had dealt to, I by pulling them out and he by spraying them with chemical herbicide or 'weed spray' as we euphemistically refer to it. Of course weeds are just plants where they're not wanted aren't they? They probably think they have as much right to grow in our gardens as the other plants. Of course they don't think - but they might if they could. But no, we do not want the weeds so we kill them by every means possible in our quest for order in the garden; nice even lawns, colour co-ordinated shrubs, pot plants, climbers, and trees, each in their allotted space, pruned, espaliered, pleached, and tweaked to look as unnatural as possible. Marvellous. As I said I love an ordered garden.
It's not right though is it? If I am to be a caring conservationist, a greenie who looks after the environment, as I claim to be, or more accurately, as I would like to be, I should ensure that my garden is as close to the natural indigenous landscape as it is possible to be ie: native bush. In all honesty I think my next garden will be just that, although I might still allow myself the personal luxury of a small lawn, and there will be more time to enjoy a beer on it because I won't be spending so much time fighting a battle I cannot ultimately win - forcing nature to be something it isn't.