We all have something unsightly in the garden, no this isn't Andrew naked gardening, this is something that clings to a wall, no it isn't Andrew locked out of the house forced to do naked gardening. Please stop thinking of Andrew naked, we all have to eat lunch. That unsightly thing that clings to walls is a utility box, some of us have them, some of us do not but eventually we all will have them, they are the new modern accessory and like their name, utility they are, in style, demeanor and colour. We were offered several types, on the wall, in the wall, in the ground depending on cost and location. In the end we had to have it on the wall when they saw the thickness of our walls, we were then offered two colours: white and brown. We looked at having brown but they'd run out of that colour, so we could have white. Weren't we lucky to have white? No. Nothing is more ugly than a utility box, not even a naked gnome doing a star jump over a pond full of pink water with punk fish in. That's pretty ugly. Avert your eyes. So, it sits there in the herb garden being all white, all box like, and all ugly. We have a problem though we can't plant anything that will stop access, so we have a cunning plan.
We have hollyhocks, we have green and bronze fennel, we have hyssop and marjoram and frankly we can hide this atrocity to architecture and taste, in time.
We have planted a wave of fennel and hollyhocks between us, the white utility box and the wall that runs between us and our neighbours. This is not a comment on our neighbours but prevents that moment when they are just stood in their porch and we are gardening, and there is that socially awkward moment where neither one wants to talk because it is a silly o'clock in the morning and there is not enough coffee in the world to start a conversation. Yes, those moments, like the moment someone tells you their name and five years later you still don't know it but you have to work with them from time to time, and you end up just calling them things like, 'You're the man/what a guy/sure dude/you go for it, sister/Bob'. That level of awkwardness needs fennel which will grow tall, but still be ethereal enough to make them think you are a vision. Unless you're naked and then no excuse about world naked gardening day will suffice. Then towards the wall that holds in the herb garden we have woven in marjoram and hyssop, a perfect wave for bees and butterflies to run over.
We decided on gravel in the herb garden, to prevent getting naked, terrible on bare feet and buttocks, but because we could plant through it and in the opposite corner in a sheltered spot we have planted hollyhocks and bronze fennel. You may notice on the photo that the gravel never touches the crowns of the plants, this prevents rot as water in the stone gravel can lead to problems around stems. It may be another year before these plants really get going but what a promise they are to give seclusion, warmth and taste. No nudity is not guaranteed. You should see what some of the cyclists wear coming past our house on the lane, it's enough to make a 1920s Grandmother blush.