My neighbour is paving his 30ft garden with massive slabs of battleship coloured concrete.  This is a tragedy, clearly, but it was going to happen sooner or later.  He lets the house out to students, a transient bunch of doctors and nurses (probably, we live across the road from a hospital, so it seems a fair assumption), who understandably are not motivated to grow much in what has always been a bit of a wilderness.

It has been a source of some reassurance for me though.  I can relax, safe in the knowledge that however long I leave my garden when I’m too busy to give it the love it deserves, it will never quite descend into the natural jungle that is next door.  If you can call a combination of brambles and nettles a jungle.

I have attempted a spot of guerrilla gardening on it, by occasionally chucking various seeds over the fence, but to not much avail.  I’ve even entertained the odd day dream about knocking through and illegally using it as an allotment patch.  Now it seems the landlord has chosen the terminal option for garden maintenance.  Pave it once, and it will never be out of control again.  I suspect a man may pop in once a year to napalm the weeds out of the cracks between the slabs, and that will be that.

All of which reminded me that there is a new scheme which might save other plots from similar treatment.  Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, saviour of the chicken and committed supermarket-botherer has set up a website which aims to match gardeners with plots of orphaned land around the country.  There are nearly 40,000 people using it so far, have a look.

Author: Rachel Wheeley

Comedian, podcaster, full time Mum, based in London, UK

6 thoughts on “Concrete”

  1. Now I’m wishing you had asked him if you could use it as an allotment, and the students would then need to have nothing to do with it. Or did you?

  2. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t. I can only put this down to a) never actually setting eyes on the bloke b) laziness re: trying to get hold of him and c) slight embarrassment at coveting his jungle and then attempting to annex it. I am a fool.

  3. Oh!

    It’s the ‘too late’ feeling.

    I’m trying to work out what I would have done.

    Probably, like you, nothing – and then bewailed.

    Trouble is (I think) we tend to assume other people value the same things as we do . . . that one day the owner or occupiers of the house will have time to do something about it, that they have been saving the pleasure for the right moment, looking forward to when they graduate or retire and can take it in hand . . .


    I think I’d rather have a jungle next door than concrete. I’m rather partial to jungles.


  4. i’m thinking concrete rather than jungle right now…. so much easier to manage! actually i’m just wishing the jungle would stop being so erm jungley

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