Life has got in the way of posting this the second instalment of the creating of my garden, so many apologies. having taken ownership of my plot of land I had to abandon many of my ideas for a perfect garden for me, others, very important others, needed to share the space.
Part Two: The Reality
For wheelchairs and canes there were to be straight paved paths and high raised beds. Walled beds 23 inches high in straight, hard slabs of brick. Brick and more brick. Paviors and more paviors. The endless paved paths were contoured so that there were no steps to trip the unwary, no wet areas to produce slippery mossy surfaces. Where the softness? Where the hidden secret places? Where the wine?
My mother’s preference was for large, double-petalled flowers and modern bulbs. There were other considerations. Insect-heavy plants are not ideal if someone cannot see or hear. Wasps and bees regularly sting my sister, they would have to be kept away from seating areas, and so green was the order of the day in the little courtyard. Where that early morning coffee amongst the wildlife? No flowers there – they were going outside my mother’s room and the conservatory. At least being the only gardener left I could, and did, ban the terrible ‘lawn’ from my life for ever!
This space had to be levelled and top soil brought in. The top soil had to be augmented with bulk and goodness. 100 bags of horse manure and the same of rotted garden compost was double-dug in. By moi! E-bay supplied at least 80% of the planting at bargain prices – what a wonderful treasure house of goodies! I over-planted to create a ready-made garden for mum and she enjoyed her few years here.
I still had my eye on the great and good of gardening – I planted a wild life edge of woodland hedge. The thin, shivering saplings that graced that first winter exercised one’s imagination a great deal. I fenced off an area planted a ‘frog’ pond or two and declared it the ‘wild’ garden!
I had insisted the builders did not throw away or burn anything of potential use. So I was the proud owner of dozens of pallets which over the years became planters of varying sizes. There were bricks and tiles in abundance which slowly became wildlife walls and shelters. Chicken wire fences filled with the stone and rubble of new land became home to the beetles and spiders. I organised others to erect posts, rail and tactile paving to guide my sister. In quieter moments I made deep planters in the house (to be within calling distance) from decking tiles, for fruit bushes. I had compost bins made and found time once a year to spread the treasured results over the land.
It became ever more difficult to spend time in the garden as my mother grew increasingly frail. My friends rallied around and came to stay at regular intervals to erect structures to be sat on, to drape climbers over, to contain earth. They hammered and painted. I dashed out once or twice a year to do something or other and spent a great deal of time staring out of my mother’s window narrating the life in the garden and my plans for the future.
Between caring for mum and becoming a regular visitor myself to hospital beds, my energy levels decreased each year. My mother died and I got cancer; and still this garden of mine languished.