How to garden when you can’t garden

There is so much more to gardening than actually getting in there and getting your hands dirty (fun as that is!). There is planning, monitoring, learning from mistakes and of course, enjoying the garden!

Not being able to garden when you want to is extremely frustrating but, as I have said before, you can’t go round being annoyed all the time, you have to make the best of it. Yes, we could convert the garden into lots of raised beds, reachable from a wheelchair but that isn’t going to happen. We like the garden how it is, and we will like it even more after some more tweaks!

As with all projects, it’s always a good idea to think in advance about what you already know that will help and what resources you have to call on. You probably already have a good idea of which plants and flowers you like and which work best for you. If you are new to the area where you live, you could always have a look at other houses orientated the same way as yours and see which plants are thriving in which position, at least in their front gardens. There are, of course, lots of books and online resources to help decide which things to plant and how to look after them. I like the Hessayon ‘Expert’ series and have also found plant finder websites to be useful for finding a plant for a specific place. Resources also includes people: it’s great fun to have a chat with other gardeners about what works for them and to share your own tips (rather like this!)

The next stage is to work out what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. Planning also means you don’t end up having to move plants after you’ve put them in place: we managed to plant something that needs sun in the one place in the border that doesn’t get any, so it had to be moved as did something short that we planted behind something that turned out to be taller than expected – I probably hadn’t done enough research in advance!

The next stage is monitoring: the day-to-day tasks of weeding, deadheading, watering and general nurturing which, as I can’t do them, I have to remind my under-gardener to do, but he’s getting the hang of it!

The final stage is assessing what you have achieved. Of course, the garden is an ongoing thing, it’s never ‘finished’ but, maybe in Autumn, it’s worth thinking about what worked, what didn’t and why and what you would do differently next time.

Enjoying the garden
Enjoying the garden

I find that even though I can’t really join in with the physical work in the garden, there are many other aspects of gardening which I can!


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