Of all the hobbies and wastes of money in the world gardening must be right up there as a pain in the
back arse. You spend a fortune and hours on it all just to watch it all die like some expensive funeral pyre.
From begonias to laburnum I really couldn’t give a toss. I walk round the plant section of B&Q wondering if I just added green paint to concrete and splashed a few primary colours around it would have much the same effect. My parents and both their parents before them and my Great Granda were or are all enthusiastic horticulturists but it has failed to rub off on me at all. All I want to do is find something cheap and colourful, throw it in a pot and leave it – but no there’s weeding, watering, pruning and general maintenance to worry about apparently.
Mowing the lawn is a big enough chore – if I could afford it I’d gut our garden and put down astro-turf instead of grass and get the kids to sweep it instead before hiring it out to the local kids for football and a profit. I get no sense of pleasure from watching plants and trees grow and bud anymore than I enjoy watching anything on Sky Living. And there is a snobbery about it as well. You get those who sneer at people’s gardens as they walk by, or even worse stopping to talk to you about your garden just so they can bore you with their mundane tales of their latest blooms. It’s a game of my tulip’s better than yours.
Then there is the cost of gardening – f*ck me are they taking the piss with those prices? Whether you filled a trolley at Dobbies or a local garden centre there is a figure that will fear you – there’s no Aldi or Lidl equivalent in the gardening world, it’s all wallet tremblingly expensive. Then there’s obligatory cup of tea and fine piece you have to have with is another twenty quid before your debit card has finished hyper-ventilating. It’s not a young person’s game either as you have to manoeuvre your way round the coffin dodgers as they dawdle their way round at the weekend when they’ve had the rest of the week to patronise these places. There are fast lanes in supermarkets there should be slow lanes in garden centres for these folk.
I like sitting in a beautiful garden, I just don’t want to pay for it or have to look after it – a bit like my kids really. A BBQ or an alfresco lunch is great with a cool drink and the sunshine is bliss but not when you are sitting looking at the soil for the hint of an invading weed or something that needs spraying with bug killer. Lying on the grass or on a lounger, cold drink in hand with some music on is all I want – is that too much to ask for Titchmarsh?