Scraping moss

· gardening ·

We have quite a large block-paved drive at the front of our new house. There's a big flower bed to one side, but otherwise the whole thing is paved. It looked very smart when we moved in, but grasses, other weeds and mosses have started to grow in the gaps between the blocks, and they are encroaching on the surface. I actually quite like the moss (it's a lovely bright green and a wonderful texture), but it makes the area very slippery when it's wet, so it has to go. We've been thinking about tackling it for a while, and bought a small, hook-shaped tool for the job, but I decided that today was moss-scraping day.

I started at the top of the drive, nearest the road, and after a few minutes heard a voice saying, "You've got yourself a big job there." I looked up to see an elderly woman with a shopping basket on wheels. I smiled and agreed. "You want to get yourself some weedkiller and spray the whole lot, then you can just brush it up." I know that she was trying to be helpful, but I was thinking, "I don't want to napalm the front garden, thank you very much". Not wanting to be rude (or start a debate about the merits of organic gardening), I half agreed with her out loud.

For the first ten or fifteen minutes, the work was quite enjoyable and rewarding. You scrape between the blocks with the hook, peeling off a fat, green strip of moss, then move on to the next one. But after fifteen minutes, I was beginning to flag as the novelty of moss-scraping wore off, and a very non-organic napalm campaign was sounding like an attractive plan.

I doggedly carried on through this sedentary version of the marathon runner's 'wall', and eventually found that the activity became quite an engaging routine. I alternated between kneeling to scrape, and standing to sweep away the loose moss and see how much I'd done, and kept thinking that I'd just do a little bit more before I went in. Unlike many things I do in life, you can actually see real, concrete progress with this job, and that was very appealing.

I didn't quite get it all done in the end (it's a space large enough for 3 cars, so that's a lot of cracks to scrape), but the worst is done and it looks pretty smart. I keep looking out the window to admire my handiwork.