I have a tentative offer on my Winchester house. Or the drive and part of the garden to be exact. The purchaser was the under bidder on this piece of land which we bought from Winchester Hospital and amalgamated into our garden over ten years ago.
In this space I have tirelessly worked, cutting my gardening teeth, establishing thriving colonies of Cyclamen coum, Crocus tomasianus, and snowdrop varities. I have planted a now gnarled avenue of crab apple step-overs, enclosing small meadows of camassias and pheasant-eye narcissus. Rows of espalier hornbeam are fronted by three now large Magnolia grandiflora and an unsusual and elegant variegated Cornus mas. Banks are self seeded with violets and cowslips and Anemone nemerosa. There is a rose garden where every spring I build hazel cages which they fill and flop over, in a picture of bountiful, English munificence.
This gentleman wants this plot for housing. But the house itself, he describes as having ‘too much going on’. Well yes, that’s Chinoiserie for you.
So, like a Margaret Drabble character looking down the pedal bin of a wasted decade (I have just finished reading her slightly unsatisfying novel ‘The Radiant Way’), I contemplate that the wreckage of thirteen years of gardening would be nothing next to the horror of selling this beautiful gem of a house to a developer who doesn’t really want it. So, accepting that I will have to split the house and garden (if I don’t, the next buyer will), I will reject that pedal bin scenario by hitting this garden with a crack squad from the Isle of Wight. Armed with the hundreds of flower pots salvaged from the Castle vinery, everything that can be dug up, will be, down to the last bulb. And yes that does include Rory, my first Welsh Terrier, Peter’s uncle, asleep under the washing line.
So he can take a bulldozer to my garden if he likes, Winchester being what it is, all green space with access will suffer this fate. But not love my house? No I won’t have that.