Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
A glimpse of my father's garden in the North, from our Christmas visit. He'd told us over the phone that a gale one night had brought down a section of the clematis montana on the south facing garden wall. In the busy couple of days between our arrival and Christmas Day we looked out at the mass of fallen clematis from the living room window and planned to clear it up once the festivities were past. The tangle was so huge that we had no inkling that the wall had been affected. When we at last went out to the other side of the wall we were shocked to find this whole section broken clean away.
The clematis was growing over a strong wire netting frame attached to the wall at intervals by iron posts. Over 30 years the clematis had become like a flexible extension to the wall, one with just enough give to exert pressure on it through the iron posts and take out a whole section of concrete blocks.
I say 'was' because after our departure my Dad, never one to do things by halves, has had the whole plant removed. It took the garden contractors 3 lorry loads to clear it. It will be very strange this spring not to see the glorious display of flowers. The best of the display was always unseen by us, as it was on the south facing side which borders a farm track down to the river. This is a popular walk for inhabitants of the village, and people would stand and admire the mass of pink flowers.
Understandably it's not going to be replaced by another strong-growing clematis, and I'm now researching gentler options. I think I'll wait a while to suggest any, however, as the collapse of the wall gave my Dad quite a shock.