Monday, 11 July 2016

big grounds, little gardens

One of the oddities (or perhaps inevitabilities) of my domestic life is that both myself and my partner went to boarding school. Mine was a Harry Potterish affair on a windswept cliff with secret staircases and the largest privately owned stuffed bird collection in the county; theirs was a smart town school with a good social life and high academic standards. My memories are largely bleak, although I remember the gardens well; it had been a proper Victorian nouveau-gothic mansion, with all the mod cons (terrace, kitchen garden, follies, beech walks, quads, stables) and although there had been some changes (the bowling alley was now a chapel, and the walled garden was now an all-weather playing area) the original landscaping and planting still dominated, with handsome trees and rhododendrons everywhere.

My old school is long gone, but my partner's school continues, and we visited yesterday. It still has lovely gardens, with shrubberies, lawns, neatly clipped bushes, a terrace with roses and well-planted beds. Virginia creeper scrambles up the wall of the old house, photinia screens the windows of the rec room and the study area, and lavender trims the edge of the main quad. Flowers grow in the old walls, and along the beds on either side of the gravel drive. A gardener tends the grounds, and the care shines through.

Today I was back in my own garden, hacking cutting trimming watering. Not enough.

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