I have to admit defeat. That's not something I say often but I am realistic enough to know when I am beaten. And I am. I have to accept that I am not and never will be a gardener. Those delightful images that I have of me in a floral dress with a wooden trug floating round my estate selecting beautiful blooms for my drawing room will for ever remain just a dream. Well, unless I get some serious help.
When we moved into our house 14 years ago the garden was mature and well maintained. Dull, I'll grant you but cared for. Four children, some hens and several troops of builders later and there wasn't much left of it. It was time for action and those who have been following my life for a while will recall I decided that I was going to have a go at creating my own little idyll. How hard could it be?
I bought books, I read magazines and watched countless episodes of that programme about the National Garden Scheme. I even went to Chelsea in the vain hope that rubbing shoulders with Alan and the like might cause some of their magic to settle on me. If I am absolutely honest I would admit that even in the early days of my romance with horticulture I suspected that we were not going to be the soul mates that I had hoped for. I liked reading about it, enjoyed choosing what to buy and even found the weeding therapeutic. But the bits that actually mean that you have knowledge and passion for gardening passed me by.
But, despite the niggling doubts, I continued with unreserved enthusiasm. I bought and planted and watered and weeded and that first summer everything was going like a dream. My garden was beautiful - immature and new but oh so pretty. Then came the next year. Things came up, bigger and more unwieldy than before. Other things didn't made it through the winter or resurfaced a shadow of their former selves. The garden still looked pretty and neatly presented but it wasn't really going like I'd hoped.
This morning I stared out at it across my coffee cup and felt the cold hand of resignation on my shoulder. I know it's January and the tail end of the coldest spell that there's been for decades but even I can see that I can't take this garden where I want it to go. I need help.
In order to achieve a planting scheme that complies with my manifold requirements I am going to have to consult someone who knows what they are doing. I have to accept that I have neither the interest nor the motivation to learn that stuff for myself. And when I have paid for someone else's hard earned knowledge and it's all there I can continue with the bit I can do - weeding. So that's what I shall do. If anyone knows a good garden designer who has realistic ideas and will avoid anything yellow then get in touch.
PS. In case you all think I am a complete failure in the garden, I feel obliged to report that my veg bed is still going well and it's home grown sprouts again for Sunday lunch!