Gardening for the (almost) uninitiated

Right up until last summer Ash had always done the gardening, with me in a supervisory role, but over the couple of years up to his diagnosis he had needed a little prompting.  Last summer he had no interest whatsoever and the beautiful space outside our back door was beginning to look decidedly unkempt so I had a choice.  Either I could go for the natural look and hope that wildflowers rather than weeds would take control (unlikely I know) or I could start to take an interest in what was growing out there and work out how to keep it alive.  Luckily I have a very good friend, a gardening expert, who has spent years trying to initiate me into the joys of gardening and she was delighted with my newfound interest.  Until now our routine has been for her to come and look at the gaps in the flower beds, join me on a trip to the garden centre, choose the best plants for the job, leave me to pay for them and then return home with me where she would place them in just the right position giving Ash instructions for planting as she did so.  This has worked well for years and I have always realised how lucky I've been having her as a friend (and not just in the gardening sense) but Ash was no longer able to take in the instructions and becoming rather overwhelmed by the whole thing so this time I listened to the instructions and I did the planting.  I was then quite excited to see that what I'd planted not only grew but actually thrived and I started to take even more interest spending hours out there over the summer, delighting in watching the plants grow and the garden looking progressively prettier.  When life was sometimes difficult and times were occasionally dark I would go out and potter, breathing in the peace and quiet of the evening (and those times were almost always in the evening).  At Christmas Jake looked out of the window and made the throwaway remark 'the garden's looking good' and I felt so proud of myself that I started making plans for this year.  Yesterday I made the most of the sunshine and ventured out armed with secateurs and loppers to see how tidy I could get it all.  You'll be pleased to know I'm sure that not only does it look very tidy indeed but Ash came out to join me and we spent a lovely 2 hours out there until he heard the rugby calling.  This then is progress in two areas.  1) Unlike last year Ash, showed an interest in the garden which he used to love and 2) I can add yet another new skill to my list.  Am now really looking forward to the next few months and am even thinking of buying a gardening magazine!