My hands were throbbing from the totally unexpected resistance of what had appeared to be a lush and benign lawn. I looked up as I heard the crunch of feet on gravel. Luke was pacing up the drive towards me. Half of me wondered what he wanted while the other half considered offering him the spade and saying, ‘Here, big boy, you finish it off.’
‘Hi,’ I said, resting my pulsing palms on my hips, then lifting them off and folding them in front of me.
‘Hey, Gabriella, I don’t wish to interfere but…what exactly are you trying to do there?’
I frowned. ‘The back garden’s a botanical masterpiece, I thought this would be an ideal place for a few vegetable canes.’
‘Yes. Will that be a problem?’
‘Not for me. But you’ll need a JCB to clear that lot safely.’
‘Why, what’s under here, Atlantis?’
He huffed a small laugh. It was nice to know I amused him. ‘Could be, though I doubt it. This grass only grows on poor soil. And that’s exactly what you have just here. It’s very stony. That’s why Una had so many large planters for her shrubs and ornamental plants. If you want to grow vegetables, you need to build some raised beds.’
‘Raised beds, huh?’
‘I have no idea what raised beds are. Is that like soil heaped up behind a wall?’
‘Can be. Or you can get some wooden boxes built. Fill them with good compost and sew your seeds in those.’
It sounded expensive. Still, if I could find some old timber, I wasn’t averse to turning my hand to a bit of woodwork. I’d handled a saw and a plane at college. And compost couldn’t be that expensive, could it?
‘So, you wouldn’t recommend carrying on with this, then?’
He looked straight into my eyes and didn’t avert them for one second. ‘Nope.’
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