It’s the oddest thing really, I’ve lost something over the last couple of years, and really don’t know how to get it back. It’s my love of gardening!
Ever since I won a potted Busy Lizzie at the infant school fête at the grand old age of 7 I have loved flowers. I never thought about it much growing up. I just knew I loved them, it was part of me. I think I assumed everyone did.
One of my best memories is sowing Zinnia seeds with my dad, watching them grow into the most beautiful, glowing colours! Eventually I took over my parents garden, redesigned it, dug a pond, as you do. It was something that was inherently part of me. I was a gardener.
I remember a school trip to Alton Towers, and while my peers were excitedly getting on and off the rides, I was gazing wistfully at the gardens, thinking I’d much rather be there, among the trees and flowers.
So that’s how it was, that was my life. Dogs and gardening were at the epicentre, and always have been. But then we moved here, to the house we live in now. Something has changed!
Of course there has been one thing after another, it wasn’t an easy move. The usual problems, I think many new house owners find, and that’s the problems that have been hidden by the vendor, and only become apparent when you turn the key to your new home and step inside. That was quite demoralising, but you just deal with it as best you can, or live with it!
As usual, I was drawn to the garden. A large pond was already there, at the bottom of the garden, and it always pulled us. Forget the house, this was our happy place. We got past our first Winter here, and the first remotely springlike day, the boys and I were out there. Making it our own.
As Spring intensified, we noticed the wildlife this garden attracted, birds we’d never seen before, and a resident squirrel. We even gave him his own food box which he and his mate still use.
It was a warm spring and early summer, in fact there were some really hot days. One of my best memories is the squirrel lying prostrate on the gnarled, old, overhanging branch of my neighbour’s apple tree. Sitting there, beautiful blue sky, the boys at my feet on the cool grass, Pimms in hand. What a day!
But as time went on, as with everyone’s life I guess, things happen. To me they felt like punch blows. To put it simply, a dog barking complaint made to Environmental Health, though it was a case of mistaken identity. My mum had dementia, and the subsequent stresses of that, culminating in the loss of my mum, then exactly 5 months after losing my mum we lost Toby, my heart dog.
And all the while more problems becoming apparent with this house. But over time, and I think especially since losing my mum and Toby, I’ve lost my love of the garden, and gardening.
I never thought I’d see the day this happened, and I didn’t even realise it was happening. The oddest thing is, I still love looking at gardens, I love gardening programmes, to the point where I’ll watch one and think, right I’m going to get going. Then I look at it, and turn away.
As I write this, I can tell you it has been a few weeks since I’ve been to the bottom of the garden. I rarely go to the pond. But I can’t explain why! It feels like something is stopping me.
So from today, I’m going to endeavour to get out there, and do something. To be among the plants, tidy, weed and whatever else needs doing. But I know already it feels like I’m facing a brick wall, that I first need to smash my way through. It feels impossible!
Maybe I’ll try tomorrow……