It is fair to say the process of selling a house isn’t a simple process. Pop a holiday season in the middle of it all and it can really be challenging.
The first step of getting the house ready for sale doesn’t just include the standard decluttering and making a home a house of show room standard, devoid of all but a few personal items to make it seems homely for someone else. This process while initially challenging if you haven’t had a major declutter in a decade, once it is done it is done, aside from frequently reminding the kids we are to remain in a state to eternal cleanliness until further notice. It makes you wonder if you actually need all of the stuff you have hidden away. (Until you start to go through it deciding if it will be allowed to enter the new place. You need to be ruthless and restrain all sentiment.)
But the garden is a whole other thing. It is alive and has its own set of intentions and not as easy to bend to the process of looking like a show home for an unspecified period of time, as the house is. In the veggie patch, plants come and go and the window of opportunity for that image of perfection is fleeting. A lush and verdant row of onion may look perfect on day one, but in a few short weeks have flopped over and look all bedraggled. A sign they are ready for harvest and need to come out – leaving them there would just be a waste. But then there is a blank spot that will only get filled with weeds if left, so it needs to be replanted with anything that will provide the same healthy verdant growth that was once there.
The butternut squash doesn’t understand they are to remain orderly and spill over the edge of the bed, making it impossible to maintain the grass around them. They are only forgiven because of the bountiful harvest beneath the leaves that will give the new people plenty of comfort food over the winter months.
But the hardest thing to remain on top of is the lawn. Grass doesn’t care what your plans are, and it just grows. However, when you are selling a house, it needs to be perfect all of the time and the boom and bust of the weekly mow just doesn’t cut it. You can’t just have it looking good on Sunday after the Saturday mow and have it all dishevelled by Friday. The far reaches of the property that very rarely see the spinning blades of the push mower gets a close shave every other day. It is hard work and requires frequent nagging and starts to become costly as our teenage boy puts his hand out for financial reward for his efforts. But it has to be done.
The most critical area that needs to stay nice is the back yard and it is a pleasure to say this was in good hands and no nagging was needed. Neville the Gardena Robotic Lawnmower had this job in hand and was constantly bobbing about keeping the yard cut crisp and fresh. But not only did he do a superb job of keeping the grass looking magnificent, he also provided a place of peace and tranquillity amongst the chaos. Just knowing this area was being taken care of was one less thing to worry about. But also, as he randomly worked his way across the lawn, back and forth, this way and that, he provided a mesmerising moment of calm. While sitting on the back step with a cup of tea, just watching the lawn silently being cut, you could feel the stress of it all just melt away.
Once the house sold, there is an expectation that it will be handed on to the new people in the condition it was when they agreed to buy it. The house bit is easy enough, you just have to remove all of your possessions and present them with an empty place for them to fill with their own things and make it their home. But once again that independent living thing that is a garden isn’t about to comply. So as things have needed to come out of the garden, I’ve replaced them with new things that are perfect for now, that I’ll never see come to fruition, but that doesn’t matter to me. I want to leave a lovely garden behind and I get to enjoy this garden up to the very last moment.
The problem is there was a holiday in there as well and we headed out of town for Christmas. This is an invitation for unchecked growth across the whole garden. In that short space of time, unwatched things grow out of control and in an unruly fashion. Within days of our departure, anyone popping by on the off chance we’d still be there would be able to tell we were away by the state of the garden. The plants might as well have had a sign “No one is at home!” The place would have looked abandoned if it wasn’t for Neville. He didn’t even take the statutory breaks and continued through the baking sun and stormy weather to ensure the backyard looked perfect. The lawn looked loved, and we love Neville for loving it for us.
So, as we do the final bits of packing and moving out we know as we hand over the keys, there is one less thing we need to worry about. And before we drive off to the new place, we will scoop up our wonderful Neville and take him with us, where he will have a well-earned break while we decide exactly where the new back lawn will be. I am looking forward to seeing him bob about there, making the new place feel homely and a source of calm in the new chaos we are about to embark upon.
Come again soon – the grass is greener on the other side… well maybe not as green but it is still good!
Sarah the Gardener : o)