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maureen spring'S COLUMN ON MONDAY: My untidy patch could one day turn to stone.

Byline: Maureen Spring

STANDING in my front garden, thinking how depressingly straggly and sort of tired everything looked (including the gardener) I suddenly noticed I was surrounded by neatness.

My neighbours' plots are immaculately graveled, their drives bricked in fancy patterns and there isn't a tree in sight with a floppy branch to wave untidily in a breeze, no bushes with brown dead bits hanging off.

Mine are the only ones, which is probably why dogs keep stopping to water them and children find them useful to lean their bikes on

Oh whoops, you've probably spent this weekend giving everything in your garden a nice neat trim, in which case think yourself lucky you don't live next door to me.

I've got a tall leafy cherry tree in my front garden that drives my neighbour particularly mad.

Twice this year he's asked me to chop off the half that makes a shadow on his lawn, even offered to get a man in to do it for me, and twice I've said I'll do it myself thanks very much.

To be honest I have no intention of doing anything of the kind, simply because I don't want to look out on to half a tree.

It's not natural.

I did lop off one or two of the thinner branches I could reach but as for slicing it straight down the middle - no way.

He actually did that to this other neighbours copper beech that strayed over his back fence and practically murdered the poor thing.

It is filling out again now but it's taken about four years to get back the strength to do it.

In the meantime it just stood there with a great big gaping hole in the side.

I'd have liked to prune him.

It's me though who is the odd one out.

For instance, my drive is the only one for miles with greenery sprouting through, and my front garden the only one with a lawn.

The local builders' merchant's profits must have soared this year with the tons of gravel, paving slabs, bricks and sand he's sold in this street alone.

Interesting to watch though; I always thought gravel came in gravel colour, browny beigy stuff. Oh dear me no.

You can get any tone from deep gold to almost white, and every shade in between.

If you don't believe me, come and have a look, it's all there.

Then there are the driveways that have suddenly changed from boring old asphalt to fancily patterned brickwork.

We've got purply brown, grey, fawn and one recently meticulously laid in pink with white diamond shapes down the middle.

No excuse for not driving in a straight line into his garage.

Never mind, he could have had arrows I suppose.

And just to set it off, what used to be a lawn a couple of months ago is now a glorious expanse of golden pebbles.

Easier to maintain than my rampant moss and dandelions I'll admit, but in my humble nature-loving opinion, nowhere near as pretty.

Mind you, it's cheerful on a dull day. Anyway, I'm moving soon so they can all breath a sigh of relief.

By this time next year this garden will perhaps be a garden no more but a well-behaved disciplined area of something solid and easy to hose down every time a pigeon flies over.

You never know, the cherry tree could be transformed into a dinky little bush and the apple tree gone forever.

In fact, if I don't move very soon I shall chop the blasted thing down myself.

But I've told you about my untidy apple tree before haven't I?
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 10, 2001
Words:609
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