On Sunday, with it being such a warm sunny day and desperately needing to clear my head , I decided to work on ‘my little bit of garden’ for a couple of hours. Having been stuck in hospital all last week confined indoors to such a regimented and exhausting routine and with little or no exercise or sleep does have a tendency to send one a little bit mad. On top of all that because I have had very little time to myself these past three months due to working almost every waking hour…including the weekends, the garden had become somewhat neglected, so I thought it was about time I did some preparation and tidying up ready for some planting over the coming months.
Being in a two storey set of flats and living on the top floor means that we all share the yard area, but we have only two sections of gardening areas between us all. The area of garden is situated outside the kitchen windows of the flat below me and on to the flat on other side of the main rear door. This flat used to belong to an elderly Welsh gentleman called John, who sadly passed away about 6 or 7 years ago. However because his eyesight was failing at the time he had to give it up, and as a result it became very overgrown with weeds. At the time he asked me if I would like to take it on. Having been bought up in a house with a large front and rear garden, in addition to my father having an allotment for many year,s and always being around plants and flowers I jumped at the chance of finally being able to have my own little bit of garden to do with as I wanted.
Because it had become so overgrown with weeds and neglected, it was a mammoth task to get it all cleared up, dug over and replanted that first year. Fortunately, I have been able to stay on top of it each year ever since, and just keep it generally tidy and each spring/summer replant. Last year however I really didn’t feel much like spending any time in the garden, and as a result I neglected it ….hence the reason I got stuck into it the weekend. I really didn’t want to disturb the ground too much as the daffodils are now starting to flower, and little shoots and buds are forming on the roses and fuchsias. I have a very small greenhouse type structure by the side of the garden, where each year I have planted my own seeds in trays of compost or soil and nurtured them in to seedlings and plants before planting them out into the garden and the selection of tubs and planters around the outside edge of the garden, once the chance of any late hard frost has passed. I like to keep it very simple but colourful with pansies and dahlias from my own saved seeds, and a few geraniums cuttings. I also enjoy growing from my own seed tomatoes (Alicante and Moneymaker), courgettes, runner beans and at the back against the wall a row of potatoes. In the tubs and trays outside the greenhouse I tend to plant the mixed lettuce salad seeds, and some spring onions so that in the summer I can just go and grab a handful of fresh leaves to enjoy with a salad. In another corner of the garden I have a patch that has several rhubarb crowns. In one of the containers I usually have a selection of my favourite herbs…….basil, thyme, mint and curly leaf parsley. I have also created my own little stepping stone pathway through the ground to be able to move around in what becomes such a confined space……after all a lot of stuff in such a small area.
This year despite all the tidying up the weekend, I am a little late in the planning and planting my seeds, so I have decided to cheat just a little bit and instead when the time comes to go out and buy the pansies and tomato plants. But luckily I still have some time to plant the seeds for the salad leaves, spring onions, courgettes and dahlias, and already have a few potatoes in the cupboard which because I haven’t had much time of late to do any cooking, they have sorted of sprouted and will do the job really well as seed potatoes. As for the beans I will give them a miss again this year. I don’t want to take on more than I can handle at the moment.
In the one corner of the garden I have the most wonderful lemon colour rose-bush, which I planted in memory of my late mother. Lemon and peach were her two most favourite colours, so it seemed appropriate that I should choose one of those two colours, and although she loved all flowers, she used to particularly enjoy roses. She always used to looked forward each year to my dad cutting that first single rose out of our old family garden, and placing it in the small vase that used to sit on the wall unit in the dinning room. I have three rose bushes in my garden, all a similar variety and all bought and planted at the same time, but it is strange that this one yellow bush always has the most incredible continuous bloom, and it even still blooms well into November. I feel guilty each year when I have to cut it back and prune it. But at least come the springtime each year it has renewal and a chance to bloom again. I want that same chance in my life this spring.
Having thrown myself into my job these past few months, which was my way of coping with a lot of my personal problems, working early mornings and late into the evenings as well as the weekends, its time to slow down a little without actually grinding to a halt and start thinking about me, about my health which hasn’t been particularly good on a mental or physical level these past couple of years. Last weeks stay in hospital has finally given me a little ray of hope on the horizon, I’m still extremely cautious about the treatment and nothing is guaranteed, but I made the decision to go ahead with it thinking I will never know if I don’t take the risk. If it helps to get a certain quality back into my life again , and gets me back on track again after the most dreadful start to the new year, then it has to be worth trying. If it will allow me to spend some time fishing on the riverbank in the coming summer months, and some time spent in my little bit of paradise…….. sitting or working in my garden, then it has to be worth taking the chance. So the 26th March is all set up for me to go into hospital again, this time as a day patient and have the treatment, a series of Botox injections into the bladder. And I hope then I can start actually living my life again…..rather than just barely existing or surviving it. If it does work, it will make a huge difference to what sort of jobs I can apply for and do when I do lose my current job later this year, but it will also hopefully make a huge difference to how I am allowed to live my life.