Gardening at close quarters has its drawbacks. As Mrs Nickleby noted in Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby (1839):‘The bottom of [the neighbour’s] garden joins the bottom of ours, and of course I had several times seen him, sitting among the scarlet-beans in his little arbour, or working at his little hotbeds. I used to think he stared rather, but . . . as we were newcomers . . . he might be curious to see what we were like.’
Suburban gardening protocol can be a mystery: do you greet your neighbour, or pretend that they are invisible? The sensible solution is a fence. Gode hegn gøre gode naboer – ‘Good fences make good neighbours,’ as the Danish gardener put it.
The provision of effective physical boundaries has exercised gardeners for centuries and while the often feeble fence panel serves many, a well laid hedge is preferable . . . and makes a wildlife-friendly solution.