We moved into our house over a year ago now, and one thing we were really looking forward to was having a garden. This was the first time in S’s life that she would have a garden to play in, and she almost exploded when she saw it. I brought her into the empty house to take a look and she took a rather nonplussed wander through the living and dining rooms before reaching the kitchen and asking, “is that a back door?” She immediately went out to inspect the garden, and declared that this was the perfect house for us.

Last year, all of our excitement over having a garden fell by the wayside as I struggled to keep on top of a workload, housework and general life things. As my hernia got worse and worse, I found that even mowing the lawn was a struggle I couldn’t cope with – and then, once I’d had my operation in September I couldn’t even lift our garden furniture to put it in the shed for the winter. Seven months later, I am still not comfortable with any heavy lifting, twisting or straining and so not much has been done so far.

Over the winter nothing grew and it wasn’t too bad – but now we’ve had that winning combination of rain and sunshine, and our garden has become a jungle. The lawn is a mass of dandelions (both kinds!) and the trees and shrubs against the wall are… far from against the wall any longer! Our garden needs some serious work!

Talking to a friend in Canada about this recently, she suggested I hire a gardener. Apparently landscaping in Mississauga is a big deal, and when she moved house last year the first thing she did was hire a landscaper to come in and landscape her garden, which now looks amazing. I was too embarrassed to show her photos of my jungle of a garden, but I’m wondering if perhaps she has a point.

My lease here requires that I seek permission before making any major changes to the garden – but I also know that my landlord doesn’t much care what goes on. So I could probably get permission from him – and therefore the lettings agent – to do whatever I want in our garden. Perhaps we will finally get rid of the holly tree that makes summer paddling pools such a prickly experience!

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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