When I moved into my cottage on 20th June 2008, battered and bruised from the breakdown of my 15 year relationship, never having ever lived on my own, I inherited a garden – the previous tenants being in their 80s and gardening was their passion.  In previous houses I’d had acres of land, and usually employed “a man” to “do” for me.  My garden is beautiful, one of the things I vowed when I moved in here that I would always try and maintain the garden to the level that Evelyn and her partner has done.

So today was a gardening day – there is something so therapeutic about just pottering around a garden, snipping away, pulling up weeds.  This is the first year for five years that I’ve not grown my own veggies nor had pots full of flowers and I still find it really sad not opening the door and seeing my pots overflowing with the flowers that I’d planted – I’d buy plug plants and then think “they’ll never grow big enough, let’s shove a few more in” so my pots were always full to bursting of colour! 

I also inherited a greenhouse, and it’s sad now to see it totally empty, full of weeds, but I have so many happy memories of my dad tying up tomatoes, of my strawberries in pots being decimated literally overnight by mice, but also of going out and eating the tomatoes straight off the plant, of courgettes that turned into marrows, and of going out and picking out lettuce.  One thing I could never ever do was “prick” out the small seedlings, i always felt as if that was killing a life, so my carrots never grew massive.  However the sheer pleasure of being able to go out and dig potatoes from the patch and have them for supper will always stay with me.

My one most hated task was mowing the lawn – and I did that for the final time tonight 🙂  Over the years I’ve mowed over the cable – twice, mowed down numerous plants, broken  blade on the mower, and still somehow the little red flymo my dad bought me for apparently £8 is still going strong.  I’m so proud of myself for the last five years and my gardening skills, when I was stressed or worried, I went out and pulled weeds, it was a never ending task but I always found it so strangely relaxing…… I hope that the next inhabitants of my cottage appreciate my garden as much as I do, I’ve tried to keep it as natural as possible, so I’ve always got butterflies and bees, and for five years I’ve fed my birds on a daily basis, and the pleasure I’ve gotten from watching my squirrels, robins, blackbirds, and my special favourite the yellow headed bird that I never really found out what species it was, will always remain with me.  Aruwen and I lived out in the garden a lot of the time, the garden is all enclosed so she could wander in and out as much as she wanted. 

I’m so sad to leave my cottage – it literally does have roses growing outside the front.  But I have so many happy memories, it’s where I learnt to live on my own, where I learnt to do all the things that my ex did for me, I’d barely paid a bill until I moved in here.  I’m so proud of myself for never having run out of oil (although I came close!), got a red bill, survived being snowed in twice for almost a week both times.  I grew up in this cottage and I found out who I really was – someone who can survive whatever life throws at them, and I’m so much stronger than five years ago.