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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
R.I.P. Decking
DECKING passed away quietly in a garden in Chelsea after several happy and successful years in which it was the toast of the town and much sought after by the fashionable.

Its happiest times were in summer, playing host to family barbecues or simple evening meals of pasta and Chianti. But its favourite time of all was when surrounded by teams of television gardeners working against the clock to make-over someone's back yard.

The Ground Force team in action
Decking in happier times
Its death was, however, announced this week by the project director of the Chelsea Flower Show, who almost seemed to celebrate its demise. He said there was considerable relief that only a solitary garden on show at the horticultural event used decking, after several years in which it was a much-favoured characteristic.

Now its time has passed, and the affection the gardeners at Chelsea so recently had for it ("Wooden decking is THE garden building material of the moment," said a commentary on the 1999 show) has transferred like a bumble bee suddenly tiring of feasting on the nectar of a passion flower.

Now decking has been dubbed "the lazy alternative to planting", the in thing is "natural" gardens (wild grasses, unkempt planting). But to many of its stalwart admirers, this will be anathema.

Decking is survived by its close friends Water Feature, Blue Fence, Bamboo Pergola and Rustic Gazebo. They may however see in their friend's demise a foretaste of their own future.

Decking's epitaph reads: "A sleeper once again."

No flowers, obviously.

Add your tribute by using the form below:

I thought my mossy patio
Had had its day ere long ago
But now it seems my planned up-date
Has missed its time - decks out of date.
So when upon my back I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
I'll feel the push of concrete slab
Not pleasant, aromatic wood.
And now my head with wonder fills.
What next? Ditch wooden window sills?
Paul Villa, Wales

Yesterday, pushing out the daisies - today, pushing up the daisies.
Stuart, Wales

I am "floored" by this loss - I feel so low. Never again will I recite my favourite poem: "The boy stood on the burning deck(ing)..."
Les Dennis, London, UK

Sad but not unexpected. After all those years of being walked on it is unsurprising that Decking gave up the fight for life. RIP.
Pauline Randall, Scotland

Ah, no more that wooden wrecking.
Say farewell to that demon, decking.
Watch this space, until next week.
'Til the marketeers tell us what's now chic!
Steve Robey, UK

In this time of mourning our hearts must go out to the family members. Poor old Tommy and Willy, never a nail gun to be used again.
Philip, UK

Rumours of my demise have been grossly exaggerated. However, the pressure of being the leading garden feature for so long has taken its toll. I may no longer be in the forefront of the foreground, but will still be able to make an occasional contribution from the backroom to the background.
Dec King, UK

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