The last 10 years have presented me with some huge and at times nearly overwhelming health challenges and associated lifestyle changes . Early retirement from a job/vocation I loved, a long list of serious chronic illnesses resistant to conventional treatment, many life threatening infections, breast cancer, multiple fractures, disability and learning to live wheelchair dependent. The impact has been huge not just on me but rippling out from close family to friends and colleagues. Despite the enormity of what I/we have faced I have learned to live my life differently but in a way that allows me to focus on the journey, on the moment not on where I am heading. I feel very lucky to be alive at all and have made a choice to live life as absolutely fully as I am able rather than roll over, sit on the sofa and watch Jeremy Kyle. Central to my resilience are the connections I have supporting me both close family and close friends.Without them I would be stranded. My 4 dogs, of course, are essential support. Connection with nature in all its many forms is critical to my daily life and inextricably linked to my unstructured spirituality

The nurturenature therapeutic garden project that will be recorded in this blog is a result of my inherited passion for gardening, my belief in its healing properties, inspiration from Helmsley Walled Garden ( and my lifelong need for a project and to contribute to the wider community.

nurturenature  is also about life at Station House, our crazy family home and refugio for others in need of somewhere to stay for a while. It’s about how I have found strategies that help me to live maintaining my natural  optimism; a list that includes mindfulness, meditation, creativity, gardening, disability solutions, yoga, food, baking, cooking, good coffee, prossecco, alot of laughter and WTFs, refusal to give up, ignoring the “what ifs”, embracing opportunities……and bizarrely despite the many struggles I face daily I think I am more content than many whose life is apparently much easier.

Today I watered of course, potted on chillis, peppers, artichokes, parsley, cardoon, cucumber and sunflowers. The polytunnels are beginning to produce a small but exquisite crop of tomatoes daily; so far only tomatella, tigarella and sungold are ripe. We are awaiting our first taste of Black Russian or Greensleeves with baited breath. Both look bizarre but apparently taste amazing. I tried my hand at paintbrush pollination of aubergine (Emerald Isle) and chilli (Jalapeno and Holy Mole). It’s meant to ensure reliable fruit production…watch this space. Cucumbers were enjoyed not just by the human members of the Station House family but also by Woody who gobbled down a cucumber rashly left at his height by Jud. Later he followed this up by Ian’s freshly buttered bread put down on the stair lift chair  momentarily (but not momentarily enough!!). The garden is growing too fast to keep up but beginning to take shape so that it’s potential to become the picture in my mind can begin to be seen. So much to do though between now and the finished first draft – for of course a garden is never done, it always remains an evolving being.

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.

David Attenborough

image; cardoon flower, grown from seed this is second year and first flower

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