Thursday, 27 March 2008

Other People's Gardens.

On Easter Monday it was sunny, but freezing cold and very, very windy. I announced that I was going out for a brisk walk, as I'd eaten too much chocolate! Harry replied that I would have to walk to Scotland to get rid of the effects of the chocolate binge and he said he thought I was mad to go out on such a cold day.
Undeterred, I wrapped up like an eskimo and braved the cold and wind, to do my next favourite nosey thing to people watching............ that is looking at other people's gardens.

I soon walked out of our immediate district of Victorian terraced villas with tiny front gardens, into a slightly more affluent area with homes that had been built in the 1930 era. I noticed that many  people had given up their garden for a brick paved parking area and many had small trees and shrubs in ornamental pots to take away the bareness that this had caused. Harry had announced only recently that "the papers" had said there was a possibility of having to pay more Council tax for homes with garages and off road parking spaces. Well that lets us off the hook then as our garden in the front is too small for a parking bay and we have no garage. Then I remembered that some inner cities are thinking of charging people to park outside their own homes. So either way, car owners are losers.

Many gardens, I noted, had exotic looking Cordylines growing in their front gardens, that are used to sunnier climes, but they seem to grow very well here. Judging by the amount of people who have planted them, they seem to be all the rage and I wonder if they will be the "Leylandii of the twenty first century" only to be scorned in the future. We have one in our back garden that grew through the bottom of a clay pot at an alarming angle and is now quite big. Son, Sam or should I call him Sam son, swung on it to see if it was safe for the children to play under, and he pronounced it sturdy enough.

Some gardens are really well loved, you can tell by the clipped shrubs and weed free borders. Unfortunately these are often next to a really untidy, neglected one, that makes a terrible contrast. Why is it that if I see something in need of a good clip, I feel I'd love to be let loose with a good pair of shears? Yet I don't always feel like that with my own. I start to think of the reason for the neglect. Is the person too old or infirm to tidy it? Or is some one living there who simply hates gardening? Maybe they are just too busy.
Some homes have a little notice on the front door or gate saying "no circulars or junk mail." Well you know where you are with a house like that. I suddenly thought, "Wouldn't it be good if bloggers had a notice on their blogs to say that they didn't want a tag, meme or an award." At least we would know who not to tag without having to learn by trial or error. Now I am digressing just like Ronnie Corbett. Strange what you think about when you're walking though, isn't it?

I pass a good many homes with tiny front gardens where a small shed has been squeezed in, to house bikes safely, I should think. It would be impossible to get to the house windows to clean them as the sheds completely block off the way. If the occupants of these homes have to choose between locking a bike up safely or cleaning the windows, then the bike might well win.
Just a few gardens had rubbish in them. Some homes were being revamped and the mess was temporary, but I could see that others didn't care at all about mattresses and furniture lying on a lawn for months.

I came round full circle to our house. I had enjoyed the tiny lawns, grey slate shingle and mock york stone patios with plants and interesting garden ornaments and came home glowing, warm and feeling like some more chocolate!

30 comments:

Momma said...

Hi Maggie -

Like you, I love gardens. I don't necessarily have a green thumb, and several plants have died on my watch (as I just wrote on CrazyCath's blog), but I love beautiful gardens. If it weren't for the dogs, my entire back yard would be a vegetable garden and the entire front would be a messy English garden, full of lavendar, roses, and ivy.

Someday I'll have a nice garden again. Right now, I'm working with a postage stamp lawn!

Peace - D

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I love to look at other people's gardens too. I have to live vicariously through them because mine always look so shoddy.

I also like taking walks at night so I can look in windows and see what color people have their walls painted!

(Maybe I shouldn't admit that...)

Expatmum said...

That was nice - like taking a walk with you. You would be horrified at the state of my front graden. It's so cold here (Chicago) in the winter that everything dies off. It's all brown and scrubby at the moment, but most will come back despite my doubts. When it finally stops snowing and sleeting, I have to go out and cut everything down to the ground. I should have done it before the winter set in but it caught everyone by surprise, and gardens have been buried in snow for months.

Maggie May said...

Momma ..... My garden is postage stamp sized with no lawn & a small patio & lots of shrubs & trees.
The type of garden that appeals to me is a natural looking one! Things that appear to be growing as in Nature.
I've never grown vegetables.
I also get things that I just can't grow so its best to avoid those in the future.
Dogs & cats also cause havoc, especially other people's pets.

RC ....... Nice to have you visit.
I also have the nosey habit of looking in at other people's lit up front rooms after dark! Especially if I am on a bus & can look right in! Glad I'm not the only one!

expatmum ......... to have snow for so long must be highly depressing, if you are like me & hate the stuff except on post cards.
I'm sure it must be very lovely to see the plants when they eventually come through.
Spring bulbs are out here & blossom on trees .... a sign of hope!

the mother of this lot said...

I can only thank God that you didn't pass our garden on your walk!

softinthehead said...

Hi Maggie, lovely post. I just saw my first shoots coming out of the ground here today, let me tell you here in icy Canada that is really a milestone and made my day. Although we are due snow again this evening. :( Roll on spring. I'm with RC, a good nose around the neighbourhood in the dark makes walking the dog a bit more pleasureable.

San said...

Maggie, it's fun to wander around and spy on others' properties. I now live in a rural area and the houses are kind of spread out. Plus it's the desert and gardens aren't particularly lush.

But the description of your ramble reminded me of my own when I lived in San Francisco. The houses were close together and it was one garden after the other after the other...so much to see!

Enjoy your chocolate. I had mine earlier today.

Mya said...

What a lovely walk, thankyou! I'm very interested in gardening. I've noticed how cordylines have become more popular - they're good for giving a tropical touch, but are pretty hardy too. Phormiums do the same thing, but can get huge. Grasses seem to be all the rage now,too.

I noticed in your profile that one of your fave films is Abigail's Party - what a great choice. I wondered whether your blog was named after Nuts In May, another Mike Leigh classic, and one of my all time favourites.

Mya x

Maggie May said...

Jackie ....... I bet it is lovely, you just like us to think its rough! All your rabbit manure should see things growing fast!

Softinthehead .... Glad there are others that like to nose at other people's things too! I guess it is human nature!
I expect you appreciate your flowers & bulbs all the more when they do come up because you've had to wait for them.

San .......... All our blogging friends come from such different climates! from Canada's ice & snow to your dessert like gardens ...... no need to travel when we have such lovely descriptions of people's environments!

Mya ....... thanks for visiting me. I like grasses too.
Abigail's party is so funny. every now & then, I watch it again.
Nuts in May is a very similar type of film, with few actors but very large parts. Very skilled!
I think my Blog was named after the film, my name, and the fact my Birthday is in May & that we are NUTS! Seemed very apt!

Suburbia said...

Hi Maggie
A great way to spend some time.I like that sort of walk in the winter when the light is fading and people have put the lights on in the living room but haven't closed the curtains yet, so you can get a peep at the inside decor too!

Granny Smith said...

I enjoyed the walk with you. It sounds as though you walked off the Easter chocolate in a very pleasant way. Thank you fro the little blogging lesson that you left me. I'm still learning!

Jules said...

And the best thing about the walk? Maybe you got to enjoy the variety all around and then came back to your little paradise, and chocolate?!

Casdok said...

Very much enjoyed that walk, its great having a nose round!

Maggie May said...

suburbia ..... seems to be EVERYONE who is writing in is admitting to be as nosy as me!

granny smith ......... I am still learning too but am lucky that my son is here to help. I am trying to learn everything before they get their own place!

jules ........ mmmmhhh! The second lot of chocolate was not supposed to happen!

Casdok ....... Its boring otherwise, isn't it? But, I often write a post in my head while nosing!

Milla said...

Ditto with the gardens and, like rot corr, peering through windows! I passed my award on to fennie (http://corner-cupboard.blogspot.com/) - she's always worth a read, so the fixer can be kept at bay for a little longer. And as for the tagging, I was asked to do the 7 things. And haven't. Because, last year I did 8! And can't think of anymore. Here they are. Just depends on how bored you get .. http://milla-countrylite.blogspot.com/2007/06/tagging-stuff.html

Jules said...

Hi! I'm back.
Is your husband sick? DId I miss something somewhere? If so - hope it's not serious and he gets well really soon. :)

CrazyCath said...

Hi Maggie - chocolate sounds good to me and nothing like a brisk walk to work up the appetite and tell yourself you deserve it after the walk! I love gardens too. You may have noticed. ;0)

Just a heads up because you said you would like to see it - my post re faith is up now.

Maggie May said...

Milla ........ thanks for the refs which I will look up later.
I'm sure the Fixer will be using her tracking device!

jules ........ Although he doesn't look ill, H has prostate cancer which cannot be cured but it is being held at bay with treatment.He has been battling it for 6 yrs now. Thanks for asking.

crazy cath ............. I've already visited your faith post & can thoroughly recommend it! Was very beautifully done.

Stinking Billy said...

maggie, I have never been able to understand garden-lovers. Aren't you afraid of missing something while you are digging and pruning, etc?

Mean Mom said...

I didn't manage to tidy up my garden when the weather was good a few weeks ago. It looks as if I have missed my chance.

Before I could drive and my lads were young, we travelled around on the 'bus. We always went upstairs, so that I could look into the village gardens, and people's living rooms etc. It all looked so cosy! Train journeys are often good for the same reasons. There is a second short comment for you at my place, if you have a second.

Sweet Irene said...

If you had come by my house on your walk, I gladly would have made you some hot chocolate and given you a chocolate chip cookie, but I suppose you haven't gotten as far as being able to walk across the English Channel. Just think, that little bit of water separates us.

I really used to be into gardening in my former life, but now I just have a dull patio and a flowerbed with nothing in it but cat poop and a winter flowering Jasmine.

I am concentrating on keeping my house plants alive now.

Omykiss said...

Looking in gardens is acceptable behaviour I would say ... I have the rather more dubious habit of looking into peoples houses .. in winter when the lights have to be put on early I can sometimes sneek a peep before the curtains are drawn. Now is that acceptable behaviour I wonder?

Maggie May said...

stinking billy ......... you mean to say you leave it all to your missus?

mean mom ..... Seems we are all as nosey as each other! Will be over to you in a tick!

Irene .... wish I could just drop by for chocolate! That sounds very nice. Have to learn to swim first as the Channel is a bit rough! No, I think I will make it a virtual cup! Cheers!

omykiss ...... whether it is acceptable or not, we all seem to be doing it!

MarmiteToasty said...

I love having a walk and nosey over hedges into others gardens :).... Im also with RC on this one, I love it when people leave their curtains open in the evening when out walking, so that one can have a right proper peep in lol ...

Loved your stroll around your neighbours gardens :).... did ya move any ones gnomes and put them in other gardens? lol

x

Maggie May said...

Marmitetoasty ......... I wouldn't stoop so low!

lady thinker said...

Just the kind of walk I enjoy - being interested in other peoples lives and homes, gardens etc. I particularly love it at night when you can see if their home looks cosy and inviting from outside. Some looks so cold don't they?

So maggie, I popped over to ask - which area do you live in - can you give me a clue as to the nearest large town or city?

Maggie May said...

Sorry .... that's a secret!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

What a great post! I just enjoyed a lovely and very nosey walk with you Maggie May! I love other people's gardens too. My own is very bland with trees rather than flowers although we do have a vast amount of wild daffodils, snowdrops and akanites which brighten the place up tremendously. I love my pots too which I decorate around the back door.

Crystal xx

Flowerpot said...

we havent got a garden like that - it's a back yard but I've filled it with loads of tubs. I plant things inthem and am always amazed by what comes up. I'm not a learned gardener - lots of things I've grown I dont know the names of. Taht doesnt matter. It's what they look like that I love.

Maggie May said...

crystal jigsaw ........ sounds good to me. I love all the pots & tubs of plants, trouble is they have to be watered.

flowerpot ......... another tub lover! I have dozens of them, which means lots of watering in the summer. They are worth it though.