Hubs’ Field…My Field…

For me, the epitome of an English garden is one that looks tangly and wild…

those lovely little cottage gardens, over-run with wisteria and clambering roses, bursting with colour and alive with bees busying themselves among the blooms.

My mother’s was manicured, no unchecked vines or trailing geraniums allowed.

Her lawn neatly dotted with coloured flag stones to keep my brother and me off the grass,

flower beds edged perfectly,

runner beans growing obediently up the wall,

summer bloomers like sweet-peas, pinks, snapdragons and lupins staked to climb in orderly fashion,

lavender and roses, peonies and phlox sat primly in their places,

no daisies, dandelions or children permitted in the lawn…

My cousins’ back garden in Canterbury ran amok by comparison and captivated me,

flowers peeked from every nook and cranny,


vines and grapes clambered over trellises, a fig tree grew large and succulent in the far corner.

Running unrestrained along the garden walls were carpets of rockery flowers cascading and bleeding into each other like watercolours on paper.


Apple and pear trees hugged the fences; dandelions, buttercups and daisies happily trailed their whites and yellows through the grass,

“Hardly a lawn,” my mother would observe shaking her head.

“It’s not Wimbledon,” I smile amused by the lively display.

Wooden picnic tables cropped up near the potting shed or under an awning or in the middle of the grassy patches inviting me to stop with my cup of tea or glass of wine and sit for a moment and enjoy.

When I came to America Hubs’ idea of a garden was not in the least bit mine.

I made do with the gay abandon of a field behind our fence that harboured trees and weeds and tall, swaying grasses occasionally showing themselves over the fence and giving the illusion of countryside in the city.

Hubs joined the rest of suburban America for the Saturday morning ritual of mowing and weed-eating and soon the air would be filled with the heady smell of freshly mown grass to mingle with the later aromas of meat cooking on the grill.

The beds were mostly left to me, if I could find a space between the box hedges, red tipped photinia and crepe myrtles.  I’d slip in some purslane, marigolds or a few begonia.  For the most part I settled for pots on the patio or beside the pool where my flowers for Easter would eventually be stifled by the unforgiving heat of July and die.

The only plants I managed to keep alive year after year were my indoor plants that I put out for a few months under the shade of my covered patio.  They flourished happily in the humidity and grew and grew.

On moving to rural Weston I was wowed by the trees on our property…these could be trimmed up but there were many of them so the job became a selective one concentrated mostly near the house and parts of the property where Hubs wanted to to see grass growing.

The mower makes an appearance most days during grass growing season…ours is not a few square feet of lawn quickly cut on a weekend morning between bites of a donut and sips of coffee.

The beds are most definitely mine, dug and mulched with care, I will not allow anything to be planted that needs any kind of regular watering care.

I am learning that some plants are very tolerant of the mercilessly, beating afternoon sun…some are not…

My zinnia beds love the morning rays and this year’s unseasonal rain has given them a second lease of life.


I’m finding Zinnia outcroppings in the lawn and I’ve asked Hubs to please give them a wide berth with his mower as I am one of those crazy English people who would precociously plant daffodils and tulips in her lawn during early spring lending it a meadow-like-look that soon turned fashionably scruffy.

A few months ago Hubs agreed not to mow one side of our driveway for an event going on in early October.  Every time he drives past he groans,

“Look at all that Johnson grass…”


“It’s blue stem,” I remind him, as that’s what we’re growing,

“It’s messy…”

“Check the other side,” I suggest.

This is how he prefers the fields to look.


Now we can both enjoy our pastoral ideal.

Hubs’ Field…My Field!

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