Doctors notebook - A minute’s silence for gardens loss

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Something is disappearing from the face of our towns but as it goes something else appears, often in the name of progress, convenience and fashion.

Our front gardens have become car parks.

The roses have gone, the postage stamp lawn (in my imagination always mown and neatly trimmed), the conifers, heathers and hydrangeas, even the dreaded Leylandii have gone.

Every garden has or had its own sense of individuality… you could walk along the pavement, look, enjoy, frown, sigh with envy, smile with relief. Front gardens – part of our heritage, part of our national identity.

Change happens without us realising. Gardens are lost and new ones not made.

A large development on the Tresham College site has no front gardens and, dare I say it, I don’t think there is anything that could be reasonably described as back gardens – more about them in a minute.

So let’s have a minute’s silence for the loss of a great British institution, the front garden.

You do not need to be a gardener to feel a tinge of sadness.

There, I have just been quiet for a minute or two, told you how I feel and now I feel much better.

But there is worse coming.

Our back gardens are being buried beneath decking, paving, pebbles and slate.

One commentator has suggested that we are too busy for gardens, with televisions, computers and mobile phones.

How sad is that?

We worry about new developments on the edge of our towns robbing us of our green fields but we, ourselves, are urbanising our towns and green is disappearing from our doorsteps.

Parks go, school playing fields get sold and gardens… well, now you know what we are doing.

Progress, convenience and fashion have a lot to answer for.

And where is it taking us?

Environmentally it is causing long-term damage.

I am not sure that we will leave this world a better place than we found it.

Mentally we are constructing a different kind of world where our sense of wonder at the natural world will only be seen on our TV screens, when our only garden will be Gardener’s World and not in our own backyards and certainly not in our front gardens.

Perhaps the Kinks got it right in 1968 when they sung about the Village Green Preservation Society.