The reluctant gardener

Saucery in the back garden

Other people know the names of plants. Other people ‘get out there’ whenever they can to pull up a few weeds or check how their latest plant is doing. Other people look upon a trip to the garden centre or nursery as a pleasant excursion, and drive home keen to give their new leafy acquisitions a home. Other people wander outside every morning to see how their garden grows. Other people do all those things – but not me. Until now, that is.

Over the past six weeks I have found myself pouring more and more time into the back garden which I am fortunate to have. I do it very inexpertly, and with the peculiar combination of ignorance and enthusiasm with which we greet any new hobby. However, I am loving every minute of it. When I tried to explain this to a friend recently, she nodded sagely and acknowledged the value of eco-therapy. I am starting to know what she means.

Nineteen months since the death of my beloved wife, there are many reasons why I find this particular kind of therapy useful. Bereavement can be a messy and overgrown place – where precious memories disappear under the relentless march of the now. It has been therapeutic to reverse that trend as the garden starts to emerge from the weeds. Before1.jpg


Weekends and evenings can be the loneliest times – especially as summer evenings grow longer. Out there, though – with muscles aching and birds singing – it seems to recede a little – like the weeds. As a Christian, I love the fact that I can only do so much too. I can work out there for many hours, preparing the soil and planting new flowers – but when I go out in the morning it is God who has done the magical thing of bringing pink, white, yellow or red flowers from green plants.

As things progress, I have been looking for a way to mark out the newly rediscovered flower beds – which is where the ‘saucery’ comes in. For many years, Fiona collected cups and saucers. Back in the days when we could still make trips out together, we loved nothing more than to potter in antique or junk shops looking for pretty examples to add to the collection. As you can see below – I have decided to scour the local charity shops for odd saucers – which now form my border:


CLICK for more views of ‘Project Garden’


Hunting through the charity shops to look for them, and then kneeling on the ground to push them gently into their new soil home is proving to be a labour of love in every sense. Odd saucers are not easy to come by, as it turns out. However, help is at hand – as I shall describe in another blog post.

For now, I shall enjoy the peace and the colours in my old garden made new, and thank God for both the past and the present which I encounter there.