Being There


Gardening while elections are being fought put me in mind of Peter Sellars’ last film – Being There.  The tale of a simple gardener whose naive statements about  horticulture are mistaken as pithy economic advice as he potters his way to become a trusted adviser to a political insider.

Perhaps we can take some advice from our politicians to help with our gardening.   Immigration, for example.  We saw a couple of rabbits by the hotchpotch bed the other day.  After the felling of the Blue Cedar the rabbits seemed to think we had an open border policy with a free movement of labour.  We sent our border control police out and they took one of the invaders down.  We are now rebuilding our wall (well…fence really) and we are going to MAKE THE RABBITS PAY FOR IT.  I don’t know how: perhaps they are Mexican rabbits – they’ll pay won’t they?

Elsewhere the immigrants are taking liberties with our seedlings as snails chomp their way through PSB, Brussels (no, not that one – the plant), Cavolo Nero and even Sunflower plants.  Typical foreigners:  they even eat weird food.  I mean: cosmos and sunflowers?  Getting rid of these invaders (when we can find them) is easy enough:  we just send them home – over the fence –  quicker than you can print a deliberately misleading poster of refugee snails and label it “Breaking Point”.  The real solution must be to put quotas on the slippery little characters.  Or maybe a points-based system on what they can bring to the garden…

Hardest of all is stopping the moles who continue to dig up the lawn.  These guys are the real Mugwumps of the garden.  What Massachusetts Native Americans would term a war leader.  They continue to lay their own IEDs on the lawn and tunnel under the tulips.  But I think they are less like mugwumps than the kind of Old Etonian who uses such terms in his newspaper column: with their dark-suited thick-set bodies, ponderous gait and blinkered, short-sighted outlook on life having them in charge of lawn care is about as right-minded as putting Boris “350 million for the NHS” Johnson in charge of foreign policy.

But maybe, just maybe, I need moles, slugs, snails and rabbits in my garden for the sheer diversity that they bring.  We have abundant bird life and amphibians feeding on so many of these critters and the dog stays fit and lean chasing after rabbits.  My recycled mole hills are excellent topsoil for the veg patch or even in potting compost.  So maybe without the uitlanders,  my garden ecology would fall apart, like an NHS without foreign doctors.

Perhaps I might take it easy on the immigrants.  Let’s not Keep low-paid jobs for British Workers but instead grow Broccoli for slugs and snails.  Maybe, to quote Chancy Gardner, I should remember that “Gardens need a lot of care. But if you love your garden, you don’t mind working in it, and waiting. Then in the proper season you will surely see it flourish.”

So true of life, gardening and health services.






About midlifegardener

A new house and a new garden. Having spent the past 5 years mainting my father's garden I am now taking on my own gardening project down the road in a new single store dwelling. The Old Man has passed on but he remains in my thoughts as I develop the new patch
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