The History of England

from Celts through 20th century


Category: Leisure

The love of gardens is deep-rooted in the British people. Listen to men’s conversation in the 8.18 on Monday morning and, later, to the chatter at the office and the factory. It will be about gardens. It will be of jobs done despite the difficult week-end weather; of seeds sown; of progress made. There will be discussion of the best methods of growing cucumbers and arguments about the best varieties to grow. There will be boasting, and wonder, and disbelief, but each man will talk confidently of his own plot or garden which differs from all the others, and which is the place where he himself is an individual and different from other men.

The British like making things grow whether it is in a window-box outside the kitchen, or in the dream garden of many acres. Some take infinite pains with each seedling and will manure and dust and spray to encourage it and to ward off all of the myriad dangers that threaten each cherished growth; each rose or cabbage will be a miracle of nature’s work and man’s but seemingly with nature only a fair second. Others, green-fingered geniuses, will act with instinctive abandon and create a garden envied by all the neighbours.

You will seldom see a suburban garden neglected. Pride and fear of local talk see to this, but more than anything it is due to the simple and inherent wish to make a garden. It will be made wherever opportunity offers: in a box in a back: yard, in virgin soil around a prefabricated house, in the devastation of bomb damage, and where there is no space around houses it will be in an allotment.

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