Two months of waiting, but at last the men are here and our front garden is being transformed. I have already confessed to being a little boy at heart, so I needn’t expatiate on the thrill of having a digger all to myself for a whole morning! Though I didn’t dare ask to operate it.
In a way, it’s a good thing that we’ve had to wait, as it’s permitted my mother to come to terms with the idea of losing the garden, whilst also allowing the spring flowers to bloom for a few weeks longer. I can’t deny a pang or two of my own, though, as I watched 75 years worth of tender loving care disappear in just one hour.
“They am luverly, ay they?” commented the digger driver, surveying the mass of geraniums growing against the wall he was about to demolish in much the same way as the headsman must have regarded Anne Boleyn.
We watched through the windows, my mother remarkably calm, as she reminisced. We have old photos: my mother in her early twenties planting the first flowers by the path, me as a baby playing with a pet rabbit on the lawn, the rockery borders in full bloom.
We are keeping quite a lot of things with sentimental value: the concrete doorstep my father made, the wall he built after the fence collapsed (the fence was solid enough until my boyfriend and I accidentally toppled over onto it when we were 18, in a rather too passionate goodnight kiss) and the bricks of the little ornamental wall, which I discovered only today were actually made by my father. These will be reused in the back garden.
A miniature nursery sits in the back garden awaiting transplantation back to the new flowerbed. These are the plants my son-in-law dug out six weeks ago, one of each species, which have bloomed and blossomed and, in the case of the bluebells and forget-me-nots, faded again.
I’m beginning to wonder if there will be room for everything in the new flowerbed. If not, we’re going to need a lot of plant pots!