She barricaded her land with hurdles
after the yew tunnel was traumatised
by those encroaching nouveau riche neighbours
with their breeze blocks and concrete pool surround.
They didn’t appreciate her medlars
were medieval and her melon house
was the stairway to a cellarium.
Her quinces failed to impress them, or bless
them with rare quintessence of quietude.
Those meddlers called her eccentric, with her
quatrefoils and quirky quincunx planting.
Jibbering jackdaws in chimneys warned her
that someone was uprooting history;
that eight genus of lilac were being jinxed
and that her jargonelles were jeopardised.
Eight thousand snowdrop bulbs were under siege.
Her newly grafted damson came from roots
in an orchard she’d helped a parent plant
fifty years before. Her jardinieres
nurtured joyous japonica bushes;
jeroboam-watered jonquils, jasmine,
but nothing was sacred to those next door.
In her tongue and groove conservatory,
she sat on the mouldering chaise longue
she had rescued from a suburban skip,
so wistful about her wisteria;
watchful of the adjacent “For Sale” sign.
Established yew can take a thousand years:
portions of it were folk her father knew.
But no one would abutt her butts again.
Toxophily was the sport for ladies
who set their sights and achieved a bull’s-eye
with every fleched missile they targetted.
“It’s strange thatch spontaneously combusts,”
the loss adjusters said in their report.
“My topiary skills are improving,”
she mused, as their pantechnicon arrived,
to cackles of derision from her cowls.
“Now I’ll think my green thoughts in a green shade,”
she sighed. “Pruning is so satisfying.”
* hortus conclusus: a garden enclosed