We are constantly being told that we’re a nation of gardeners.
However, I am not so sure if some of the front gardens I walk past in city and county are those of potential baton carriers for there isn’t much to see or celebrate.
Many are in a state of banality or neglect.
Some have been abandoned altogether or paved over to accommodate a car while more again boast nothing but a disgusting and horrible duo of refuse bins.
And yet some gardens, one in every four perhaps, are places of thrilling wonder however many times you pass them.
These have been primed and bristled with freshly-painted gates and railings bordering neatly maintained lawns and colourful weed-free borders.
Their roses may not have come up to standard this year but even now in late October they look as good as they would in summer — a rare feat in Ireland.
Lollipops of variegated holly and box stand sentinel-like along the gravel pathways and along their length potted plants show colour and interesting leaf texture.
Has all this anything to do with the slow recovery of the economy, our rapidly changing social values, and a seemingly lost passion for nature, the countryside and our fragile ecosystem? I wonder.
But perhaps there is a more far reaching social point that worries me.
Sadly, it makes me realise that there is probably a generation growing up that has absolutely no knowledge of and little interest in gardening.
Many have even less interest in keeping our streets free of litter, of dog droppings, and rubbish of every description.
And certainly they make no attempt at all at hiding their dreadful wheelie bins.
Wheelie bins are essential of course but how horrible they look in the corner of small front gardens and to the side entrance of rented apartments and flatland.
I recognise them (in all their garish colours) as the biggest eyesore in all our cities and towns.
Sometimes, potential property buyers or tenants will book a viewing only to call a short while later to cancel having in the meantime seen the bins not alone to the front of their interest but along the entire street.
So even if the interior of your property is top notch, a grubby exterior can really affect a first impression that can be difficult to shake.
It pays then to keep the garden and the front of the house looking tidy and smart.
How do you hide them? It is not necessary to spend a bundle of cash or a great deal of time; simple solutions can go a long way.
Screens work and at long last house-owners have the option of buying a super, simple wheelie bin screen of synthetic hedging to hide the eyesore.
These have been so desirable of late that stocks have been depleted and you’ll have to wait a little while if you decide to buy. See hidbin.co.uk for full details.