The Rough Patch

On the advantages of being a crap gardener.

Without doubt, my favourite part of our garden is the Rough Patch.

Rough patch
The Rough Patch from Richard’s Seat.

The Rough Patch led a brief life as a vegetable patch shortly after we moved in, but events soon overtook us. By events, I mean nettles. Fortunately, stinging nettles are one of my favourite flowers, so I didn’t go out of my way to do anything about them. They seemed to like it there, so live and let live. (Live and let live being so much easier than weeding.)

Once the nettles had established themselves, our former vegetable patch became fair game as a dumping ground for any garden waste too bulky to compost: lopped branches, excavated roots and soil, last year’s Christmas tree. Until we bought a garden incinerator, the Rough Patch, as is soon became known, was also the site of occasional bonfires. Despite all this chopping and changing, burning and dumping—or, more likely, because of it—the Rough Patch continues to thrive.

Not only is the Rough Patch my favourite part of our garden, it’s also a firm favourite with the local invertebrates—and, therefore, the garden wrens. My natural gift for horticultural lethargy has resulted in a thriving ecosystem. I should probably get some sort of environmental award.

A few years back, I took one of the heavy millstone grit blocks removed from our house during some building work and set it on end against our workshop wall, overlooking the Rough Patch. It became known as Richard’s Seat. Known to me, that is. I like nothing better that to sit there quietly for ten minutes with a mug of tea, taking in the view, pondering over which garden project I’m not going to do next.

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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