Confuse or annoy your neighbours

Today’s garden task was a real treat. And with it being Confuse or Annoy a Stranger Day today as well, I can only hope that though we may not have confused or annoyed the neighbours exactly, if any of them saw what we were doing they are at least convinced that we’re quite mad. So if that means they leave us the heck alone, well, good.

In our garden we have a cherry laurel. This is often bought as a hedging shrub but here it’s been left to grow as a tree. All parts of the plant are toxic except the flesh of the berries, which look like small purple cherries and are apparently fairly bland, but popular with birds. Though not in our garden, oh no. Not good enough for the birds round here, it seems.

Last year we didn’t spot the problem, partly because we weren’t out there much last autumn and partly, I suspect, because the ‘lawn’ was still there and most of the fruit probably decomposed soon after hitting the ground. This year, much of the garden is gravelled and most of the berries are landing on the gravelled area. A couple of weeks ago my mother came to visit and of course wanted to see the garden as soon as she got here. Afterwards, it took us a while to realise that she had walked squished berries into the house – I had brought some in on my shoes too, but I am in the habit of taking my shoes off pretty much as soon as I get in, and she isn’t. The carpet in our house is a sort of beige colour, so you can imagine the effects of squishy purple cherry laurel berries. Thankfully, cold water and Vanish undid the worst of it, but it made us realise that we had to take action.

So this morning saw us in the garden, with gloves, kneeling mats and buckets, gathering the fallen berries from in amongst the gravel. Such fun. Next year I plan to invest in some long-handled loppers and cut the tree back before the fruit falls. That, or just cover the entire garden in plastic sheeting sometime around mid-August.

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