The new postman doesn’t like my garden. There are too many things in it. He leaves me notes – ‘can you cut back your bushes because of the bees’. He threatens to leave my post at other houses. I feel like saying – you’re a postman, you should be brave – after all, what about dogs? Surely a few bees aren’t a problem? They don’t want to bite your ankles! If I’m home, I see him bending down as he pass the window, preparing to duck under the honeysuckles that run along the wall and over the front door - and incidentally act as a porch, giving shelter when I come home in the rain and am grovelling about in my bag or pocket trying to find my keys. He doesn’t like the honeysuckle 'massive'. It has bees. And moths. And spiders. And various other wildlife. It shelters my snails. And one part of it has big blousy cream and pink flowers in summer, and the other has smaller, delicate white and cream flowers in the early spring, sometimes when the snow is still on the ground, and it defies the worst of the weather.
I don’t think he likes the fuchsia bush by the gate either. From small beginnings it has grown to about two metres in height, and three wide, and at this time of year it’s dripping with red and purple flowers, humming with honey and bumble bees, a clarion call of colour as the sere shades of autumn creep into the rest of the garden. But it doesn’t get in the way. It’s been trimmed back so it doesn’t hang too far over the wall, or get in the way as you come through the gate. There’s a clematis somewhere in the mix as well, a small-flowered blue alpine one, with feathery seed-heads late in the season. This also defies the weather and the salt wind to surprise me with its delicacy and toughness.
The last postman liked my garden – since he’s retired (and taken the job of school crossing guard) he also delivers papers, and we swap gardening thoughts and seeds as the year goes round.
But we all have to get on, and so every so often, I trim the honeysuckle. But not very often!