The Garden – Somewhere to Relax Or A Source Of Stress?

We’ve lived in our house now for almost 10 years and despite the fact we have a small, compact back garden, I must confess we’ve never really got to grips with it.  What should be a relaxing oasis of greenery has become a bit of a sore spot and a source of stress.

If you have a garden you’ll know that what you use it for changes year on year.

When the kids were small, it was somewhere safe and self-contained for them to sit on a rug in the sunshine and play with their toys.

Every summer the grass used to be sacrificed to the great god that was the inflatable swimming pool and the regular addition of chlorine and bug rescue via a battered old net.

Then there was the summer I briefly flirted with becoming an organic gardener and managed to produce a glut of home grown tomatoes, most of which never got eaten.

Next to the tumble-down garden wall there was once Forsythia, Geraniums and Fuchsia.  We even had a palm tree which, sadly, didn’t survive the less than balmy Welsh winters.

At the moment the husband is in the middle of another one of his schemes.  He has put down a layer of mulch upon which he plants to put potted plants – flowers and shrubs – so that we have a manageable garden.

Like all of the husband’s schemes, though, it does rather rely on him being here to carry out this grand plan. And, as with all Hobbis DIY and gardening enterprises, these activities usually come second to family commitments such as taking the kids out, football, ballet, visiting parents and, occasionally working at weekends.

Lest you think I am wafting about in a crinoline waiting for order to arrive out of chaos without lifting a finger, I should point out that he likes to oversee this stuff and finds it relaxing after the stress of a week in telecoms.

So, as you can see, the back garden is in rather a state of flux with a wall which needs rebuilding as it is now bowing outwards and falling down in places and a garage which we’d love to knock down completely and replace it with a log cabin to use as office space.

The husband occasionally mutters about turning it into a gym complete with treadmill and rowing machine but, personally,  I’d prefer some office space of my own so I can escape the battered blue armchair in which I currently spend far too long.

I have a huge admiration for those who create beautiful gardens and tend to them so that we all enjoy gorgeous displays of flowers come spring.  I do think some people are naturally green-fingered.  My dad is.  I am definitely not.

To be frank, I think it’s time to think about getting a gardener, not only to tend to our plot out the back but also to help my dad, for whom, their much larger garden is becoming difficult for him to manage.

There are loads of companies offering gardening services and you can hire someone to do anything from landscaping and paving to garden design and tree surgery.  We regularly get leaflets stuffed through the front door from small businesses and one-man-bands touting for the work but I’d recommend getting garden quotes from reputable firms.

That way you can get a quote or estimate in writing and you’ll know exactly what you are committing yourself to pay for.

As we head into summer it’s possible that there might be some progress in the garden, but given the number of DIY projects we have to do indoors, I suspect it’ll be a while before we have anything to make the Royal Horticultural Society proud!

I have high hopes that Caitlin has inherited her grandparents’ green fingers though.  Of all of us, she is the one who spends the most time there.

Do you have a garden?  Do you spend much time there?

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