I think that I might end up downsizing to a window box

Bill Nighy and the cast of Ordeal by Innocence

VERITY LUSH: This is my idea of Christmas telly torture

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I have an ideal of growing a country cottage garden, with tall blooms gently waving in a light breeze as bees waft in and out of the lavender making scrumptious honey.

It’s not that I want masses of land. I simply want a quiet, well-kept spot away from the masses where I can take refuge and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, a Coke at lunchtime or a glass of wine in the evening.

Then come children and suddenly the neatly-mowed lawn becomes a carpet of plastic

But I’m not sure when I’m going to make it to that stage as it appears to me there are five stages of gardening and I’m still stuck in a perpetual circle between three and four.

The first stage is the garden that comes with your first property, when to mow the lawn is to feel as if you’re Alan Titchmarsh.

You may even plant a few seeds and pull up a few shrubs at the back with a vague idea that you’ll make your mark. But instead you head down to the pub and have a few beers.

Then come children and suddenly the neatly-mowed lawn becomes a carpet of plastic: balls, bats, paddling pools, slides, climbing frames, tents.

Stage three is the family pet, when the children have moved on from bright things and instead want living things to play with – furry things.

Things that eat the lawn, wee and poo on the lawn, dig up the lawn and just generally destroy the lawn.

It’s as you’re looking at this that you realise you need some sort of border to keep you distracted from the ruination of your lovingly-tended grass. And this is the next stage.

They’re planted and then cunningly pruned with no idea other than, like your children and pets, plants obviously need a good chop back now and then to keep them in order.

Of course you inadvertently kill most of them, so buy and plant some more – digging up the bulbs from last year while you’re at it.

The final stage, when all this is finished, when the children have moved out and when the pets have moved on, is, I imagine, to sit back and reap the rewards of your green fingers.

But it’s then, I think, that after all those years I’ll end up downsizing to a window box.