I’m hoping that they’ll finally get the message

Brian Andrews, Frances Leppard and Charles Mobsby with their trophies

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their small Southsea back garden into a grow-your-own plot

After a friend rather generously described my back garden as a smallholding, I thought that I’d better attempt to live up to this expectation and concentrate more fully on the bare beds beyond the kitchen door.

However, as regular readers of this column will know, one thing has plagued the past few years of my novice horticultural life – cat poo. No doubt you’re all tired and bored of reading of yet another feline evacuation, but trust me, not as tired and bored as I am.

Last weekend, on clearing a veritable mountain of excrement from the garden, I paused to have lunch only to see a moggy happily squatting the moment I had my back turned.

After carefully covering the beds with what I thought was deterrent material, I awoke on Sunday to discover yet another offering. I had foolishly thought that gardening dilemmas would centre around weeding and watering, not thinking up increasingly harebrained ideas to stop cats using the garden as a toilet.

My latest scheme involves using the vast number of stones collected over the years by my children from the beach and placing them at the main area of concern.

In addition to this, I’ve also deployed some of the sticks that have been gathered by the young folk and stuck them defiantly in the bare earth in an arrangement that Andy Goldsworthy would be proud of.

I’ve also sprinkled some foul-smelling green concoction bought from a hardware shop. Let’s hope that they finally get the message.