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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

‘Is that the garden with the plastic lawn’ he asked scathingly



I believe I have mentioned our small ‘woodland’ at the bottom of the garden consisting of just the 1 tree. The tree is a lovely silver birch,  Betula utilis Jacquemontii, with glorious bark & quite an elegant habit. It replaced a Malus  ‘Profusion’ a dark dense tree which also had apple scab! The birch was planted some years ago, I forget exactly how many.


I was reminded of the following ‘incident by the inestimable Ms Sock’s essay on neighbours.

Early last autumn there was a ring at the door bell & a woman introduced herself to MrB as a neighbour to the side of our back garden, or rather she had bought the house for her daughter. She had called round to ask if there was something we could do about our tree that was shading their garden causing problems growing things (sweet peas it transpired) & which could drop leaves on the lawn……………………… “Is that the garden with the plastic lawn” asked MrB “and didn’t you buy the house with the tree already growing there” he continued. We had watched this plastic lawn being laid after major works to the house.


MrB’s polite response was that whilst he felt it was not really a problem (she was going to contact the council) we would have a look at the tree & see if we could do anything (the appeasement). It was suggested that perhaps we could cut it back & make it multi-stemmed! The polite reply was that trees didn’t really work like that in these circumstances.


The tree barely extended over their fence as you can see from above & the (obsessively far too many) trips to the top of the house at all times of the day showed that their own wall produces more shade in the garden than our tree. Nevertheless we did trim some of the side branches so as to show willing (& because it did not really affect our view of the tree). I don’t know if they are satisfied with our actions. Unfortunately we did not catch then vacuuming any leaves off the plastic sward!

What was interesting about the whole incident was how completely obsessive we became over the situation & how the activities in their garden began to dominate our lives albeit for a relatively short period of time.


  1. Obsessive is the word isn't it.. I once visited a friend living in the country who was going on about her neighbours ALWAYS having washing on the line. I found it difficult to understand how she could get so worked up about it - now I know! Although the washing is the least of my problems.

    I think the plastic grass people complaining is bizarre but what people do to gardens is often astonishing. Friends with a fabulous garden, lovely designed pond and patio area had viewers around (who later bought their house) with their ghastly child in tow and said that they would fill the pond in and smooth out all the sculpted areas of the garden! Why not just buy a house with flat field in the first place?

    I think I used to be able to withstand the neighbour nonsense better years ago - the kids in one of the houses behind used to climb out onto their roof and chuck liver around the gardens ???? what was that all about.

  2. Neat freaks and gardens simply don't mix. I think MrB was downright restrained. Come autumn I would have stood on a ladder with a leaf blower and coated the green plastic (or maybe I've just woken up grumpy today).