How I adore pottering around my raised beds when the sun’s rays adorn my lawns. Rodgers, our ageing Head Gardener, has done a splendid job over the years though I cannot help but notice the herbaceous borders are in danger of overshadowing my forking larkspur. Upon further, more detailed inspection, indeed, I note the shabbiness of my lady garden; it has clearly been denied periodic trimming.
My disappointment, momentarily abated by the evocative call of a lone mistle thrush, returns with vigour when I observe that the bird baths not only lack fresh water but reveal a somewhat unkempt exterior.
Yet matters further deteriorate when I venture beyond the box hedges. Really! I must take Rodgers to task for allowing the herbs to proliferate in such an unstructured fashion.
Being a kitchen garden is no excuse for disarray. Indeed, it is of no surprise that Cook’s new assistant was unable to locate the oregano on Saturday evening. Though how she could have selected borage as an acceptable substitute, I cannot imagine. It is hardly to be wondered that the beef failed to reach an acceptable standard. Thankfully, my guests - local dignitaries from the Enterprise Award Scheme – were not blessed with the most sophisticated of palettes and therefore remained unaware of the herbal mishap. (They may have originated from the lower end of the social strata, but I am grateful they limited their use of napkins to the correct facial function. I still recall that ghastly incident last year when a despicable representative from the Mayor’s Office blew his wretched nose on my starched linen.)
In the meantime Cook must take her supervisory role a little more seriously. We have another dinner engagement a week hence and I do not want a repeat of this culinary débâcle. Indeed I will see to it that she details to her young charge both the location and merits of our wide range of free range herbs.
As far as the gardens are concerned, this shameful situation cannot be allowed to continue. I shall invite Rodgers to partake of a pot of coffee with me in the orangery tomorrow morning and use the occasion to air my increasing unease over my foliage and his commitment. The standards of Farthing Hall’s gardens, I will stress, are not negotiable. The simple question is whether or not he has the desire to retain the responsibility of managing my undergrowth.