Arguing with my wife…. August 12, 2015

Most married couple argue, it’s a fact of life – little things like leaving the top off the toothpaste can escalate into near murderous feuds.  My wife and I argue over allsorts – and we do it in a variety of ways – which my wife has chosen to call ‘passive aggressive’ – if I knew what this meant…then maybe I could stop doing it.

One of our latest battles relates to the garden. A bit of history here – I am a qualified landscape architect, my wife comes from a background of interior design – this leads to an obvious allocation of responsibilities – Pam does the house design and I do the garden. However …my darling wife cannot keep her thoughts to herself regards what plants should go where.

She has overdosed on the recent Chelsea flower show and relishes visits to Tatton garden as well as avidly watching any gardening programme that shows on the BBC. She then produces lists of plants that she wishes to see growing in our listed country cottage in the Peak District….at which point I then say….NO …THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT FOR THE COTTAGE.

This has taken some time to get through to her what I’m talking about.

Gardens have history, gardens have a certain group of plants that either will/or won’t work… within the framework.

For instance an ornamental Maple will NOT work within a country cottage that has herbaceous borders. Rhododendrons look offensive in beds of Ligularia and violets. Liriodendron and Liquidambar don’t work in what is basically a ‘vintage’ garden. Ornamental grasses and bamboos ….wrong, wrong, wrong…

We had some friends over recently who live in Spain, the husband was talking about how he was trying (unsuccessfully) to establish native British daffodils in Spanish soils. He had tried putting ice in the soil to keep the roots cool and moist, shade tunnels were tried…and he was now asking me for ideas.

Well I said…what you have here is a gardener trying to establish an alien invasive species. They all laughed ha ha ha ha…

No I said …NOT FUNNY…this is how foreign plants get established in alien locations and then cause issues to the indigenous flora and fauna.

I went on to explain how my wife wished for every  bleedin exotic plant that she saw on TV with no regard for whether they could spread and cause issues in the future.

What I’m on about here – is that Nature has evolved in a certain way for certain reasons and it shouldn’t be messed with. We already have a wonderful palate of native species available to us and it is these we should be looking to when designing our gardens.

We do not need exotic foreign species when we have so much to choose from that already lives in the UK.

Our native species need to be protected and encouraged and we should each start within our own gardens.


Mike C