Saturday 21 November 2009

They're growing our cabbage trees over there

My vegetable garden is looking so ordered. The beans are just reaching for their poles, the tomatoes are forming their first flowers, the broccoli and cauli leaves are fresh and perfect, and there aren't any weeds. Yet. When I come home after 9 days away, it's going to be a jungle with everything gone sideways, kinked and feral. That's what gardening is, in Auckland: it's all about control, hacking back and disposing of the bodies.

Not like England, where gardeners nurture and cosset, primp and titivate - and like as not have everything they've worked for get blown to shreds or turn grey and slimy under leaden skies. But when the weather's kind, there's nowhere more lovesome than an English garden, God wot, and the Cotswolds is prime gardening country. Honey stone cottages and walls, mellow old brick and tiles, all set off by perfect flowers in neat gardens with manicured lawns and hedges, and hung with baskets and edged with pots, all brimming with colour and the result of loving care and months of planning. It's beautiful.

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