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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pinky's Garden of Eden


Gardening is not one of the main interests in our lives. The only horticultural fact I know is how to tell the difference between a plant and a weed; a plant is easier to pull out of the ground. 
Scotto sometimes gets artistic with the hedges out the front but he’s not exactly a ‘Don Burke’. 

Except for the pool garden our backyard is covered in stamped concrete. Low maintenance is the key concept.

When Hagar has spent his pay packet and is desperate for moolah, he will agree to mow the front yard for twenty bucks. Mind you, he refuses to use a catcher and doesn’t include whipper-snipping the lawn edges in that fee. It literally takes Hagar ten minutes to complete the job as he runs up and down the yard at high speed leaving a mess of grass cuttings in his wake.

The house I lived in with my ex-husband had a huge rainforest type garden which needed considerable maintenance and was entirely unsuitable for two non-gardeners. 

He was constantly out in the garden with the machete, slashing Bougainvillea vines and violently tussling with the thorny pest. The barbed creeper was his arch nemesis and he complained acrimoniously about it. 

The garden was a great adventure playground for the kids but there was a big drop from the verandah onto jagged rocks in the garden below. With five small children running around I was concerned about the possibility of one of them toppling over the railing. 

A friend, Penny had employed a group of Salvadoran landscapers to do some renovations and she recommended them to me.

It wasn’t long before I came up with one of the most outrageously expensive and stupid schemes I’ve ever concocted. 

With great expectations and monetary outlay, the Salvadorans were engaged to build a wide monolithic structure using stone pitching. The resulting platform would safely ensure that if one of the kids happened to plummet from the verandah there would only be a three foot drop. 

For six weeks, like a demented high priestess, I oversaw the hard-working men wheel a profusion of rocks to the construction site. 

About half way through production I started to question the feasibility of the exercise. Maybe I should have merely blocked off access to the railings? 
In the interim, the modern equivalent of a misshapen Mayan temple had begun to take shape. 

Regrettably the final result was a hideous eyesore. I didn’t have the heart to tell Carlos and Mauricio after all their hard work but it was a truly monstrous carbuncle on the landscape of our garden. The Royal Horticultural Society would not be knocking on my door for tips any time soon. 
And one day Jonah still managed to fall off the verandah the long way.

Meanwhile my then-husband, wanting to contribute to the garden makeover, had been busy buying new plants at the nursery.

He proudly showed me his half-price spoils.

“You do realise those are bougainvillea.” I commented sadly.