Sunday, 13 April 2014

In the Garden

The weather has been gorgeous and it's been time to get back out on the garden. This year it's all a bit different for me, after four years of not being able to physically do any garden chores, I have been back on the garden again actually doing some gardening once more, something I never thought I'd be able to do again.

Gardening was always one of my biggest passions and to lose the ability to do this had been yet another literally heart breaking thing for me. I used to love getting outside in the fresh air, getting my hands dirty and doing a good days work on the garden. I would garden in all weathers, I've been known to be gardening in the pouring rain and even in the dark at times. It is something that can give you an enormous amount of satisfaction, feeling a healthy tiredness when you've finished and then seeing the rewards as you look out over your garden and seeing your seeds and plants grow. It can be very therapeutic and instantly rewarding.

I enjoy every season in the garden, there is always something new and interesting appearing as the year goes round. We have worked hard on our garden to plant varied plants that give interest throughout the year so that we can enjoy it all year round. I love it when the snowdrops first appear and then it's the daffodils and tulips and everything explodes into colour. We also have wildlife areas such as the pond and bird feeders and bird table to attract the birds. 

Throughout my illness, I've tried to be involved in the garden as much as I can, but it was really impossible for me to physically do any work on it as I was unable to do the bending and stretching that is needed and I hadn't got the sustained energy for hoeing, digging or weeding. I used to try really hard to find ways to do things, such as make the pots and baskets up sitting at a table. Even that was a massive struggle though, as it was difficult not to have to keep getting up and down to get compost and all the bits needed and then I'd still need help to move the pots around and Rob would have to do all the lifting and carrying, getting everything ready and organised for me and then tidying everything away afterwards. I really just ended up choosing plants and planning where things would go and then Rob would do all the rest.

During this time though, the garden still gave me lots of pleasure and enjoyment and I loved to sit out in it and enjoy the peace, sunshine, flowers and wildlife. It is always amazing to sit and watch the birds, we often have goldfinches, greenfinches, long tail tits, blue tits, great tits, robins, blackbirds, thrushes, magpies, wood pidgeons and sparrows. From time to time we've had visits from woodpeckers, blackcaps, fieldfares, redwings, gold crests, jays, nuthatches and pied wagtails. They come in from the farm land behind us. We have spotted red kites circling above and occasionally moorhens have visited the pond in winter. We also get herons trying to eat the fish in the pond! Once or twice we have had pheasants wandering through and hedghogs, muntjac deer and foxes like to pass through to wherever they are going. The pond is currently full of frogs getting up to no good and there are pond skaters, dragonflies and newts. We've made a lot of effort to choose colourful plants that will attract bees and butterflies too.  It's a hive of activity if you watch carefully! There is nothing like sitting with a book in a quiet space, but keeping a crafty eye out on what's going on out there! 

Over the last few years we have visited many gardens when we have been out and about to get inspiration and ideas for our garden as well as for enjoyment and just pleasure. We also like to choose new plants we have seen to plant in our own garden and remind us of our travels and good times we have enjoyed. We've got plants from every home we have lived in too, which always bring back fond memories. I love an afternoon out to the garden centre too, choosing new plants and pots. Doing all these things helped take my mind off waiting for my transplant and gave me a massive lift and boost when I felt unwell. 

Now I'm back in the garden once more and taking a more active part albeit I have to keep my mouth and nose covered and wear gloves when I'm digging around in soil, because of my shiny new lungs that need protecting from fungi spores and bacteria - these may cause infection. I still can't do chores that are too vigorous like heavy digging and mowing, but I'm able to do lighter things once more like tidying and making up pots and baskets, short bursts of weeding and hoeing, deadheading and tidying. It feels fantastic to be more mobile again once more, being able to bend, stretch and able to crouch down. Simple acts that were once lost, but now I've been given them back. I never really thought I would ever see the day. I am so excited for summer.

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