General

The ivy is a right pain but I've gotta admire it anyway. It doesn't care what the obstacle is, it just goes right up and over. Without it the wall would still be beautiful, how could natural rock not be? But with the ivy it's right up there with my favourite things in life. I can't let it take the wall down though, and left unchecked that's what will happen. So pruners in hand and gloves on, I take a careful look. It'll bounce back no matter what I do, but I want it to still be healthy when I'm done, not look like some lawn-mower went over it.

General

I'd seen dirt under Ben's nails a million times and always put it down to some macho deed. It wasn't until we started dating I got to know him for who he was underneath. As a boy he'd learnt how to care for a garden from his Grandpa and he loved it still. The neat raised beds of herbs and perfect paths of pea shingle in-between, marked with varnished cedar planks, I had taken to be the doing of his mother. It was all him. She didn't know chives from grass or rosemary from thyme. He grew lavender for her and passed his fresh produce straight to his brother, then still enrolled in culinary school. Between Ben's herbs and Peter's fresh pasta dishes, it was the place to be. Even years on simply walking past an italian restaurant will take me back to that house on those lazy warm days.

I'd never seen gardening as a man's thing until I saw Ben out there, his shirt clinging to his sweat and mud on his combats. Those plants were his jazz, a symphony of aroma, never competing for dominance but instead blending to a heady perfection. Wherever we went in life, Ben and I, he'd always need a garden. I took it upon myself to watch his brother cook, to learn his recipes. All these years later I still cook the same way. I don't still have my tinny radio, but instead I program in those same tunes to the house computer and hear them through the sound system - just at the right volume to still hear the birds