Neighbours! Ecky Thump!

I’ve always been lucky with neighbours, apart from the odd niggle I’ve never had any problems.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have lovely neighbours….but…….sometimes….Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh!

Being in a GFF is a whole different ball-game…mainly because my garden is open, no fencing…just a path from ‘our’ gate separating us at the front, and down the back, with open trellis across the end of my back garden and the beginning of his, placed on his side.

This means I can’t wander around in me knick-knocks indoors on a hot day, because if he’s in his garden, he can see through his trellis straight into my bedroom and lounge windows. I have no back door, having to go out the front and round, to get to my back garden, making it difficult to wander out in my dressing-gown with a cuppa to enjoy the sunrise/sunset. Out the front I am also open to the road and the house opposite, making it doubly difficult for the dressing-gown meanderings. I know I could really, probably do these things, but I feel unable to…. embarrassed even……bummer!

And then there’s the actual garden. I enjoy titting about out there, I like flowers, but also experimenting, changing my mind, being a bit off the wall, and mostly being laid back about it all. I’m not always in the mood, oxygenated enough, or supple enough, so I am not a ‘regular’ gardener…out there every day doing jobs. I have fits and starts, taking a whole morning to rev up to going out there, but enjoying myself once out there, spending more time than I realised or planned to, having got really stuck into something, or just determined to finish what I’ve started if the body is protesting!  I’m not bothered by leaves in the autumn, to my mind they are a rich, natural fertiliser for the soil so they stay where they fall….pa-in-law spends the whole of autumn out there picking up every single leaf that falls….mad if you ask me, but he likes a ‘tidy’ garden, bless him. With flowers, I prefer stuff you put in and leave to it’s own devices, apart from the odd trim back/prune during winter, if I remember or can be bothered  i.e. bulbs and perennials. I like an interesting lawn, not a manicured, cut within an inch of it’s life green, but daisies, clover, tiny little low-growing weeds with teensy pretty flowers, moss even. So I only cut it every 2 or 3 weeks, and then on the highest cut my mower will do, so your toes can still be tickled by the longer bits, and a few of the daisies survive. Sometimes I decide I either don’t like a plant anymore, or where it is, so it gets lifted and moved or cut back drastically….sometimes it looks better and flourishes, sometimes it kills it…Hey Ho!  I don’t do rows, colour-schemes, grouping or any of that stuff, I have an idea, see a plant I like,  chuck it in and hope for the best! I don’t water things….if they don’t survive our weird weather, then they aren’t meant to be in my garden.

BUT! Having the edge of my lawn cut to match the opposite side (his), as he takes his mower back to his shed….having MY hedge cut how HE likes it (coming into/across MY garden to do it)…having my bin taken out and in with his, on his schedule…because ‘I’ve always done it!’ …it rankles a bit! Along with the little comments if I’m out there the same time as him…’Oh well done, it needs it, doesn’t it?’ or ‘You do have some funny ideas don’t you?’ and ‘Ah, you’re here on time to do the bins then?’ etc

The bin is not an issue really, but I might still have stuff to put in it, and I don’t see why it has to go out a whole day before it’s emptied, or come in as soon as they’ve been…flippin’ eck, relax mate! I’m not always about at the time it ‘needs’ doing, so can’t help it if he does it more than me. He could always just take his and leave mine couldn’t he?

The garden however, is beginning to become a problem. I have tried to give myself some form of privacy by planting shrubs, climbers etc along the line of the path on my side, hoping it would stop the mowing of my edges, but to no avail…..it’s still done. Maybe as they get more established and bigger it will be more of a deterrent eh?  I have tried clipping the hedge myself, leaving it a little higgeldy-piggeldy so as to look more natural, how I like it, (and making sure he saw me doing it)…he cut it tight and flat while I was out! I left some of the back lawn to grow down the bottom end, near (and I mean near, not against) the trellis, sowed wild flower seeds there (well, tipped them in my hand and then waved my arm about letting them fall wherever) and planted a fruit tree my son had bought me……a little meadowy orchard I thought, bit of a barrier…..came home one day to find he had mowed a double strip all along MY side of the trellis i.e. coming onto my garden again…because he has taken to planting his runner beans on his side of said trellis and didn’t want them ‘choked with weeds’. I let it go, feeling unable to argue for fear of upsetting both of us, and the equilibrium, and so let the ‘meadow’ spread further up into the garden…he continues to mow the double strip (and the one down the edge of the path)…….always when I’m out!!!!! I have, however, ordered some short fencelike ‘edging’ to put round the said meadow, to make sure he doesn’t encroach any further…..there was an orchid in there last year, I’d like it to return!

The hedge I thought, at first, was very kind of him, but he never asked if I minded or wanted him to stop/continue, he just does it, usually when I am out……..and hasn’t stopped in spite of me dropping hints, and saying how I like it a bit straggly and natural….and I’m not brave, or rude enough to tell him to leave well alone, because he’s been here so long, and is set in his ways, and I don’t want to upset him.

But it’s MY garden, and I want it MY way!

If I had the money, I’d put a fence all round and ask housing if I can turn the lounge window into french doors….but I haven’t, and would probably chicken out anyway for fear of upsetting him. Maybe if he moves out one day, I would be able to persuade them to do it for me, before a new neighbour comes along, but I doubt that.

Todays shenanigans said it all really. I had been talking to the lady next door a few days back…she was complimenting me on what I’d done in the garden since I’ve been here, saying she thought I was a ‘natural’ gardener, and that she liked the way I let things grow as they wanted to a lot of the time. We got onto the question of hedges, and she mentioned that she had decided the one between our two front gardens looked better a little straggly, with some of it a bit taller in places….more natural, and I have to say I agree, it looks lovely at the mo I think.

Now this is one of the ones that he crosses my garden to cut, because he’s ‘always done it for her’.

I went out today to tackle the one at the front of my garden because it was annoying me. It’s an old beech hedge, but there’s a holly bush growing in it, and loads of ivy, and there’s a lot of dead branches. It is also one that he cuts, ‘because he always has’, but I was determined to do what I wanted with it for once, it is mine after all! He was out like a shot…..’Don’t worry, it’s on my list to do’ he said. ‘No, it’s fine thanks’, I replied, ‘I want to take it back a bit and thin it out, it’s annoying me’. His answer was that it’s on his list so I can leave it be…..ERRRRR…….NO!!!! So I repeated that I was going to tackle it and get the ivy out as much as possible, and dropped into the conversation what the lady next door had said about the hedge between us, how she liked the top a bit straggly. His answer?…………….’Well I like the tops flat, and as I cut it, that’s what she’ll get!’……I think it may be time for a bit of an argy-bargy……..but can either of us ladies stand up to him? I fear not, as she, like me, dislikes confrontation…..so it’s flat-topped hedges, and strips of short grass all round then….PFFFFT!!!!

 

 

 

 

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