The Flower Border

There is a flower border around the block of flats that I have moved into. It is supposed to be maintained by the landlord, but although the residents pay for the upkeep of the garden, the landlord doesn’t keep it tidy.

It beckons me over, with its ill-pruned shrubs and overcrowded crocosmia, its badly positioned Cerinthe.

The garden was not created from love, but purely to give the residents something
reasonably attractive to look at.

Over the years efforts have been made to pull out the weeds and keep it tidy, but nobody has ever tried to make it the most beautiful flower border in this town.

It would be unfair to call it ugly. It contains some quality shrubs, and although they would not have been my choice, I’m sure I can work around them.

As I pull out my hand-fork and secateurs I think about the creeping buttercups, the unwanted wild garlic and the dock. I think about the gaps that they will leave, and what I could plant to replace them. My fingers itch.

The garden is in a promonent position. People walk past it all day long. They will watch me, talk to me and about me. They will ask me what I am doing. They may even try to give unwanted advice.

I will feel intimidated – embarrassed.

They will slow me down with their friendly talk.

After a while they will begin to see the difference. They will utter sounds of surprise and praise me.

I gave away my rake, spade and fork. I will need to replace them. I will need something to put the weeds into.

There are people with special educational needs who live in this block of flats. I could try to enlist their help and teach them as they work.

I will plant Echinacea, Veronica and Salvia, and lavender to attract butterflies and bees. I will put in self-seeding poppies and foxgloves. I’ll have blocks of Scabious, Cornflower, Snapdragons and Wallflowers – lots of old-fashioned planting to please the elderly residents.

I will reserve an area near the main entrance for rosemary, chives, sage, oregano and thyme. I’ll sink a bucket into the soil and plant mint. The residents will have fresh herbs for culinary use.

Tomorrow I will talk to the House Supervisor about the tools I will need.

Next week I will begin the work.

© Jane Paterson Basil

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11 thoughts on “The Flower Border

    1. I will. I have been thinking about it since Monday, when I moved into this place. I decided that the only way I would get around to doing it was if I committed myself by writing a post about it!

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  1. Oh! Don’t forget to take before, during, and after pictures so we can see your progress. And for heaven’s sake, don’t think about being embarrassed or slowing down when people pass by. Think of them as MORE WRITING PROMPTS! 😀 {{{Jane}}}

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    1. Oh dear… I really am going to have to go out there and get on with it…
      I used to have a garden beside a dis-used railway track which had become popular with walkers. They used to stop and talk to me, but I didn’t mind that because I was secure in my own space, but this garden is in a public space… I’ll have to get used to it.

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  2. Great idea…and I am sure you will meet some interesting people and have some great conversations to boot. Vegie gardens where I live are traditionally consigned to the back garden but I put mine out the front in full public view. It has been a great way to meet the neighbours and share a moment or too over the fence 🙂

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    1. I love seeing veg. in front gardens!
      Unfortunately I don’t think the housing authority here would be very impressed, and the old folks would get territorial and be upset every time someone pinched a runner bean as they walked past.

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    1. I’m a gardener who hasn’t had a garden for about 3 years, so I should be excited, but I prefer to take on wasteland which needs a lot of work, and turn it into a garden. I’m not keen on workng around what others have done.

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