Garden Blog - Blog Post

Normal Service Resumes?


The previous post was unexpected and somewhat out of character for this blog. Spelling it out plainly, I am grieving, having been recently bereaved. A parental figure that was a key part of my life for a long time recently passed away from a terminal cancer after 14 months of palliative care. The garden, with all its spring exuberance, is helping me to cope, but it is also a reminder of what was lost.

Pot of free white tulips in a Spring garden

It’s been a month since and the raw pain has gone but the feeling of loss and has not, I expect this will take some time to recover from. I am still on mentally shaky ground and it’s been, frankly, exhausting.

The time and energy spent processing this life-changing event and supporting close friends and family has diverted away from the gardening jobs that I should have done by now. Jobs like:

  1. Pruning the roses
  2. Pruning the hedge
  3. Pruning anything else

There are lots of other jobs but that rather short list covers the emergency stuff. Seeing a list of just three things makes is look deceptively quick to deal with but as in all cases, the devil is in the details.

Hanging sedum baskets already looking good

The days are getting longer and generally warmer so there will be more opportunity and time for me to catch up. The first NGS visit (by a private group) is towards the end of May and that’s just under five weeks away. For me, that’s not much time to get stuff done but those five weeks cover some of the most rapid growth and change the garden sees over the season.

Ferns unrolling like party blowers

At the moment the Camellias are finishing, the amelanchier and magnolia are out in glorious flower and the ornamental cherry is not far behind – unlike me. Lots of other plants – the herbaceous perennials in particular – are beginning to emerge and I’ll shortly be able to see where I have gaps that will need filling in. The daffodils are also out and this makes it rather hard to see where the gaps are in the main border because it is all a mass of green leaves and yellow flowers. I’m currently sourcing plants and backups and making Plans B, C, D and E to try and avoid the dreaded “bare soil” through the late spring and summer. I’ll probably employ copious annuals, I’ve just got round to sowing them.

Plan for the patio pots and garden gaps

I’m still hampered by grief, but I know that when the NGS season is in full swing and the garden is full of people having an enjoyable time, I’ll suddenly stop and realise that the aching sadness has been replaced with memories and a feeling of bittersweetness. So I will try and persevere in the garden and continue working to try to get it looking as good as it did in the photos last year (the evidence that it can be done), for the benefit of all those visitors that will visiting. I think focussing on the season ahead, remembering what all the hard work is for and anticipating the cake (and funds raised) will be one of the paths to resuming normal service.

Daffodils in the main border
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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Lynn Hunt 17/04/2023 - 8:30 pm

Sunil, I’m so sorry to read about your loss. Thank goodness for our gardens. They are a tonic for the soul during sad times. Take care!!

Wendy 17/04/2023 - 10:13 pm

Oh Sunil, I’m so sorry for your loss. I think I mentioned I lost my partner early last year so I know exactly what you are going through. It’s dreadfully painful and you will be feeling as if you’ve lost your way for a while. I also threw myself into garden work in an effort to block the emotions and the constant over-thinking. It works to a degree, plus you get a wonderful looking garden! My thoughts are with you. Wishing you peace.

Tammy Schmitt 21/04/2023 - 8:28 pm

No apologies or explanations needed for that last post. It should be celebrated. Our blogs are parts of us and you showed a beautiful and tender side of yourself. Grieving is hard and shouldn’t been apologized for. Loss hurts. Give yourself time and grace, my friend. You are on no one’s schedule but your own. The garden looks amazing, as usual.


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