A glorious spring/summer day. Sun shining with real warmth. Very exciting – first flowering bluebells spotted in the wood today. Lovely walk with dogs. Bertie, our miniature chocolate labradoodle (sort of cocker spaniel size) swam in the pond having manfully carried what amounted to a tree trunk in his mouth all the way there. Never has a man been more obsessed with sticks! The other three dogs watch him swim energetically across the pond with the tree in his mouth and bark but don’t venture in higher than their knees. Actually, I have to say it looked quite enticing today. But I didn’t think trying out even the off-road wheelchair in the pond was a very sensible strategy so being uncharacteristically sensible I stayed on dry land. Wild honeysuckle and perennial sweet peas also emerging in the woods and its surrounds so won’t be long before they flower too. Back at home sitting by the bottom gate of the house in what we call the growing zone because it has the polytunnels and racks of plants for sale, (although obviously the whole garden is actually a growing zone), we had a number of people call in to chat about the garden and its progress. Some I knew, others were just passing and interested. Some bought plants, others just enjoyed the garden. Either way it was lovely. The garden like the woods continues to spring into growth, the magnolia is about to flower, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths everywhere. Perennials that died back completely over the winter emerging from their hidden depths in the soil green and fresh ready to bring colour and joy to the summer. Early veg crops beginning to flourish – broad beans with flowers on which will therefore shortly be followed by pods and then delicious baby broad beans – yum yum. Some exciting things this week…..planted asparagus bed carefully following instructions – now just got to wait 2 years until we can eat the first stalks and about 5 until it is mature but I love that it is planted and can’t wait to watch it develop over time. There is an urban myth that asparagus beds should be planted over a dead horse for the nutrients from it but ignored that bit of advice. Not very convenient really and potentially rather smelly. And a major event ….I was lucky enough to be awarded a bursary from the Hardy Plant Society (http://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/) to support development of the nurturenature healing garden for which I am enormously grateful. A very big thank you to them for their generous donation. At a personal level I also heard that I had been appointed as a stakeholder (patient) trustee for a palliative care organisation called the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA –http://www.thewhpca.org/) Palliative care is about optimising quality of life for individuals living with any sort of life limiting illness not just end of life care which is a common misconception. I, for example, have been lucky enough to benefit from exemplary palliative care for the last 9 years which has been critical to for example, managing my pain and fatigue and allowing me to live my life to the fullest extent possible. I feel tremendously privileged to be able to contribute to the WHPCA and very lucky to have got the post which I can do entirely from home and at a time that my energy levels allow. Perhaps more about palliative care in a global context in my next post. And of course what we are doing by providing a healing garden might be one part of the holistic jigsaw that makes up palliative care for someone. Sitting here in bed with an iv infusion and my PEG both running and the prospect of two iv infusions tomorrow and then one a day for the next 10 days seem daunting sometimes but then again is part of the (palliative) care that enables me to have such good quality of life. And the garden and all that goes with it is unquestionably part of my ongoing palliative care helping optimise my physical and mental well being.
As Maya Angelou says .
.”I want to thrive not just survive”
….a bit like all those lovely plants really..