Sunday, 28 July 2013

Blood, Sweat, Tears & Takeaways

One of the big advantages of moving to mum's house is the garden. It's a lot bigger than ours, and very private as it backs onto allotments and fields, so it's not overlooked.

The garden was mum's pride and joy. She was a very keen gardener, and until she became ill, she spent almost all her free time out there - weeding and maintaining of course, but also tweaking and changing. Moving plants, buying new ones, and relegating some to behind the shed, although she rarely got rid of anything! Even after she became too ill to garden herself, she was happy to issue requests and suggestions to Al and I, so the garden was always kept tidy at least.

This is how the garden looked in early summer, but I'm ashamed to say that since we lost mum, we've completely neglected the garden. Mum would hate the state it's got into! I know we can't keep it exactly as it was - and we wouldn't want to. What worked for mum won't work for us, so hopefully once the house is done, we can also landscape the garden. We'll definitely want something that's lower maintenance, with a much larger seating and decking area than mum had, and probably a larger lawn for Buffy dog.

So, the question is, what do we do between now and then? Well, although there's no point landscaping it when there's going to be so much building work going on, we decided we ought to do something, so yesterday we made a start on tidying it up. Stupid idea on such a hot day! We spent hours up there trimming shrubs that we might want to keep, and digging up some that we definitely didn't. We cut the lawns (2 of them) and the beech hedge at the front, and collected bags and bags of garden waste to take to the tip after completely filling the garden recycling bin.

And the result, after all this hard work? We were hot, sweaty, exhausted, scratched to bits and the garden barely looks any different! We've hardly touched the surface of what needs doing - there are LOADS more shrubs to be trimmed and removed, not to mention lots of paths and raised beds to be dug out - oh, and we haven't even started weeding yet, and most of them have gone to seed, which will be even more of a nightmare next year!

Which is why the title of this post is blood, sweat, tears and takeaways - I wasn't in any fit state to cook after all our labours yesterday, so after a planned lunch of fish and chips, we skipped the low fat homemade prawn curry, and had a Chinese takeaway for dinner. Eek! Don't want to be doing that every time we tackle the garden! Although, on the other hand, just how many calories does gardening burn anyway.....



  1. Oh wow Jay, such a lot of work, and I imagine really quite painful and emotional at times! xxxx I don't envy you.

    I've only just found your blog and I shall be looking out for updates. :-)

    P.s. dontcha know my hubby is a landscape designer? ;-) bit far away tho methinks. But if you need any help with advice, planning or plants, let me know, I'll get Mike in a good mood. :-)

    1. I'd forgotten that Jenni! Part of me feels really guilty at destroying what's evolved over 40 years. Mum lived for that garden, and even when she was ill, there was a big picture window she could - and did - look out of for hours.

      She really wanted us to have the house, and make it ours though, and so that has to include the garden