Wednesday 15 November 2023

The French call it deracination

When we moved into our present house there was a miserable patch of grass in front. Neither decorative nor useful. Feeling flush (ie, rich as Croesus) I had the whole area, including the double-width driveway, bricked over.  Gave my mower to the Deserving Poor of the suburb.

Gardening problem solved. But Nature has a way biting back. Weeds started sprouting from the gaps between the bricks. After various research projects impelled by a growing sense of anger I got that one licked.

Only to be presented with a more sinister threat. The so-called front garden has always boasted a much-wounded tree, one side devoted to a deep and hideous scar, four feet long. Nothing much was expected of this invalid but over the years it has become much more treelike. Leaves and such. Alas, it was also flourishing below. Roots, sensing the presence of water in a drain access, edged towards the house.

Thrusting up the brick surfaces, installed with the express intent of inhibiting nature. Must I always be at war with greenery?

Something had to be done but I dithered. Definitely lacking confidence. Tried to enlist the help of a neighbour but he too dithered. The Guardian’s post-lunch easy crossword beckoned. And then an email from daughter Occasional Speeder. She would come over tomorrow to discuss the knotty Meat-at-Christmas project and would cook tomorrow’s evening meal, normally my job. Joy! But how might I react to the sudden availability of extra energy?

The above photo provides half the answer.

Yes, the tree may well die. But not immediately.


  1. The answer is yes, we will always be at war with greenery. I'm impressed you did all that work. Come on, admit it, you felt like a million bucks afterwards? There is something about getting our hands in dirt that grounds us, literally and figuratively.

  2. Ah well. to quote Kipling,

    " The cure for this ill is not to sit still
    And frowst with a book by the fire.
    But take a large hoe and a shovel also
    And dig 'til you gently perspire........"

  3. I'm with Avus on this...and Nature does and always will win.

  4. All put back together? No hired guns involved?