So who is responsible for this mess?

Yesterday I set up an inquiry, chaired by an eminent judge, into the state of my shrub bank. It is obvious that an endemic failure in governance has taken place. As the chairman of a global garden, it is also obvious that I cannot know everything that goes on. The remit of the inquiry was  therefore to allocate responsibility for the lamentable lapse in standards.

The shrub bank was originally designated by its designer as

“a fragrant tangle of flowering and structural shrubs, with stone pathways leading the inquisitive visitor through a living bouquet of scent and colour….”

So how come it looks like this?I am pleased to announce that the inquiry has now presented its findings and has allocated blame for this deplorable state of affairs between the following persons and entities:

  • John Keats, and sundry other poets named in Annexe 1
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of birds
  • Sundry manufacturers of so-called ‘systemic’ weedkiller
  • The Meteorological office

The inquiry has further concluded that the designer (me) and gardener (me) are innocent of blame, and that the actions or inaction of the above parties are wholly responsible for the scandal.

The inquiry has commented on the contributory negligence:

John Keats: (and many other so-called ‘poets’)

Indirectly responsible, by  writing this kind of rubbish:
….In neighbourhood of fountains, by the noise
Soft showering in my ears, and, by the touch
Of scent, not far from roses. Turning round
I saw an arbour with a drooping roof
Of trellis vines, and bells, and larger blooms,
Like floral censers swinging light in air….”

……while lamentably failing to mention backache, nettle stings, inadequate drainage and the need for organic mulch. Also responsible, by filling the internet and elsewhere with  quotes about sweet blooms and shady bowers for contributing to the general delusion, perhaps partially shared by the designer, that this kind of thing is quite easy.

The Royal Society for the protection of birds.

Directly responsible, through misleading propaganda, for encouraging the presence of garden birds, notably blackbirds and other fruit and berry eaters, while deliberately concealing the ability of said birds to excrete wild raspberry seeds and cotoneaster berries, in places where they are likely to germinate, to the detriment of fragrant tangles.  Also for omitting to mention the traditional recipe for blackbird pie and for concealing the fact that four-and-twenty  blackbirds fewer would considerably reduce the hazard.

Sundry manufacturers of so-called ‘systemic’ weedkillers

Directly responsible for making statements such as ‘Glyphosate is an effective systemic weedkiller …. It successfully kills most unwanted vegetation right down to the roots. Kills docks, plantains, nettles, thistles, willowherbs, speedwells and grasses to name a few!’

The evidence is other. Exhibit A shows a nettle which has thriven on four doses of glyphosate. It is now addicted and is demanding ever more frequent doses to ever less effect.

The Meteorological Office

Directly responsible for the failure to include in its severe weather warnings the possibility of Ash Tree seeds being blown into people’s gardens.

Further failure to warn gardeners to take the necessary precautions before it is too late.


There was only one recommendation by the inquiry (sorry, you saw this  coming, didn’t you?)

Update 22/06/12

Following Rupert’s advice, I conducted a thorough purge of the shrub tangle over the winter, hauling out huge quantities of cotoneaster, and reducing some of the other shrubs by half. In Spring I hosed the emerging nettles, thistles, raspberries and ash seedlings with the most virulent chemicals I could find. It worked, and for a few weeks I had some bare ground. A secondary crop of weeds is now emerging and I shall repeat the dose before planting some new stuff in the Autumn


12 thoughts on “So who is responsible for this mess?

  1. Dear Kininvie,
    Quite a difficult situation you find yourself it. Happens quite often, that someone wants total global control but no responsibility. Really that poor poet and the weather office? I think Rupert has it right, some good old fashioned hacking (with a machete) may be in order. In the meantime, don’t forget to vote.

    • Dear Linnie; The chairman has asked me to reply as follows: “This winter will see a clean sweep. No stone will be left unturned; all rotten apples will be purged; the dead wood at the heart of the organisation will be cut out.”
      Laura Thrips, p.a. to Chairman Kininvie

  2. It’s 103 degrees at noon in Washington DC. They say the pavement downtown is 140. Celsius, by the way, tho it is still hot as Hades. This is no weather for nothin but reading about gardening elsewhere. Like Scotland. or napping…which I think I’ll do momentarily. Not that you’ve put me to sleep …on the contrary … I’m wearing a huge smile as I wander offfff.

  3. I believe the local council should also own some responsibility – if they were really acting for the benefit of the community they would have sent round three burly men with power tools to bring the sunlight back to your neighbours who are probably suffering from SAD disorder.
    It is a disgrace that you are the only one left to sort out this jungle of culpability.

  4. What a hoot, and great to see an enquiry that produces results without taking years to do and £1000’s. In lieu of the burly men from the council (as per earlier comment) I’m thinking loan of a goat might reduce some of the efforts of the poor hard done by and entirely innocent gardener, and could have the side benefit of producing some manure for elsewhere. I wonder if goats eat ash? Given childhood memories of how hard they tugged and ripped my jacket I imagine they may be the only creature capable of pulling out a 3yr old ash seedling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s