A SURVEY I read in recent times almost exploded the myth that gardeners, unlike the rest of humanity, are exceptionally friendly and co-operative.
I stress the word almost, for thankfully I have never had a problem with my neighbours.
I still think of them as being part of our caring community, and never more so since the scourge of Covid-19 appeared.
As to the art of gardening (and indeed living in the garden due to restrictions) I believe it to be a supremely healthy activity for the mind as well as the body.
For those who undertake and enjoy cultivating plants in any measure, the exercise tones and improves mental and physical health whilst providing solace for the grief-stricken and hope for the disheartened.
It’s the bandage that binds body and soul together for countless people in all walks of life and social backgrounds.
In tightly knit communities (which regrettably continue to diminish) it can promote healthier relationships, foster closer neighbourliness, and restore the caring and sharing balance that has been lost in recent decades.
So how do things go wrong between neighbours? Is it a lack of proper communication due to not knowing who your neighbours are, or is it a lack of understanding about each other’s problems?
I know it is easy to become paranoid about weeds or adverse conditions but surely some kind of arrangement can be sorted out without reverting to measures of law?
Words between neighbours, if they are not watched, will do deadly work sometimes.
OK, so autumn leaves from next door can blow in and about the garden, but this happens everywhere.
Ten minutes sweeping will usually see all these collected for disposal in bag or bin. A barrowful will compress into a plastic shopping bag or less.
Those overhanging shoots may take some time to cut and bag, but you’ll find that these are the same growths that gave you the flowers of summer, not in next door where they were originally planted.
If you are physically unable to do these chores, perhaps your neighbour may able to help.
I hear (by post, email and telephone) of neighbours who will not allow the people next door access for the purpose of painting the blind portion of their garage/outhouse.
Elderly women tell me of neighbours who allow their tall trees and hedges to grow monstrously high thus blocking their already reduced light especially in winter.
More again complain of being ripped off by handymen who charge an arm and a leg for fixing a roof tile or changing a pane of glass.
Many are grieved and rightly so, especially widows and the elderly.
On the other hand, the most of us have neighbours who are fair, honest and caring people. They live next door or reside within the immediate neighbourhood.
Let’s treasure them in these distressing times and live out our days of forced restriction away from revel and strife.
Our gardens (and good neighbours) will always be our saving grace.