The assistant gardeners have been playing croquet using an old family set that we found in the loft. They were a bit worried that my lawn had too many hazards for a civilised game: raised beds full of vegetables, washing pole, rhubarb and raspberries spilling over the grass and lots of lumpy bits full of ‘wild flowers’, not to mention an elderly cat trying to sleep amongst the tall grasses. I reassured them that this was no obstacle to a decent game. When I was growing up we lived near the sea and used to play croquet on the beach. The most difficult hoops were the ones that we set in the sea but it all added to the fun and not a cucumber sandwich in sight. We thought it was quite extreme but I see that nowadays there are genuine extreme croquet clubs. They think it was invented in Sweden 1975. I’m pretty sure we were playing croquet in the sea in northern Scotland well before then.
.. but the point is that gardens are primarily for growing vegetables, having fun, drying washing and providing habitats for wildlife and cats (not always compatible activities). Keeping a beautiful flat lawn is well down that list for me.