cancer has meant I can't manage my garden

I have a fairly large garden and just loved gardening following advice and tips from GW but in August last year I got cancer

Now need redesign as too many flower beds for me to cope with

Refused benefit so ideas on cheap but nice ways of slabing/paving/grave etc. to make a lot less flower beds and hence maintanance. I get stressed about it.

Sttach couple of pics so you can see my garden.


Back tomorrow

Advice welcome

Thanks Trudi










I will explain the lot sometime front too but no pics



  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Hi Trudi, so sorry to hear you are ill. I understand how upset you must be, we are all very attached to our gardens.

    Hope you dont mind me asking but what are you able to do? I mean can you mow the lawn etc, do you have someone who could help you with one off heavy jobs?

    What about making borders around your lawn, and having lots of shrubs? Things like choysia, eventually, all you should need to do is keep the lawn tidy image

    Unless you are happy to use chemicals, i wouldnt go for gravel etc as the wweds always find it! image
  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,008
    Hi Trudi, until you are feeling better is there a local group who might be able to help? In our area we have an active scout / guide group and a garden club. Might be worth checking out before you make changes. Good luck
    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,171

    I agree.   First find out if you can get help, especially of the cancer treatment is going well and you are likely to regain your energy.  

    However I do understand it's dispiriting watching a well loved and tended garden going to rack and ruin.   I lost 2 years in my garden thanks to back surgery and then 2 feet reconstruction ops.   I have been OK since this spring but it is back breaking work trying to get back in control.

    The simplest and cheapest thing to do would be to remove the plants - maybe hold a sale to raise a few pennies for you or charity - and then level and grass over the beds.  Paving will require a lot of preparation and materials and expense.

    All the best for a full recovery so you can enjoy your garden again.

    The Vendée, France
  • Jane50Jane50 Posts: 2

    Hi Trudi, where do you live? Anywhere in Surrey, I'll come and weed your beds!

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,386

    Hi Trudi, I understand how you feel as my mum is facing the same as you and can not manage her garden right now. I help by weeding, cutting back, grass cutting etc and mum is definitely less stressed for it. She also has pond like you and gets stressed as she can not get out and feed them. Have you any family that could help maybe by taking on one task each? If you update your profile to state wher you live I'm sure like Jane50 above many fellow gardeners on this site would love to come and help you. Would you consider reducing your pots, maybe have someone plant them into your borders for you? It takes me nearly an hour some nights just to water them and I'm fortunately fit and well. Your garden is beautiful and I'm sure you don't want to change it too much as I'm sure it gives you such pleasure. Don't be proud and refuse help or any benefits you are entitled to, you DESERVE it.  You could use it to pay someone to cut your lawn once a fortnight or for someone to come along and cut back, weed and tidy a couple of times a week. Please keep in touch with us all as I think talking to fellow gardeners on here will definitely de stress you too.  Also I know there are disabled gardeners on here who no doubt will have some top tips for you. Take care Trudi, I do hope you make a good recovery and make some good gardening companions now you have joined the forum x

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,815

    Hi Trudi - what a lovely garden ... and a lovely rabbit image  

    I'm sorry to hear you're not well at the moment - I hope your make a good recovery very soon and that the treatment isn't too bad.

    I'm wondering whether the Macmillan Forum members may have some ideas of where you might get support for your garden .  I've known them to help out in all sorts of very practical ways.

    Good luck image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,480

    Hi Trudi

    Just wanted to add my best wishes & to agree with many of the comments above.

    Dove's suggestion to contact Macmillan is an excellent one. Similarly, many towns now have a local Volunteer Centre and they often have a list of people who would be pleased to help you look after your lovely garden - either short term or long term.

    On a practical level - if you (or somebody) is able to manage the lawn, I think I'd keep it (or most of it) - a neatly edged & mown lawn can detract from a multitude of sins elsewhere!

    The suggestion to significantly reduce the number of pots is a good one as they are really quite labour intensive and unforgiving if neglected for more than a couple of days in hot weather. I would also consider planting a lot of low maintenance shrubs in the borders (things that require a once a year tidy up rather than regular dead heading) - viburnums, eleagnus, cotinus spring readily to mind. Some good ground cover plants in between will help cut down on weeding.

    If you are still able to be out and about pottering you can still have a couple of small areas to do the jobs you really enjoy doing - perhaps a couple of patches to sow some annuals each year for a bit of colour allowing you to keep your hand in with some light dead heading - especially if you can do it whilst sitting down.

    Good luck with your treatment and - as others have said - give us an idea of where you are & you might have a small team of new friends turning up - trowel in hand image 

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Hi Trudi. I'd like to echo the sentiments posted already. The suggestions for finding a local group of volunteers is a great one. The only drawback is that you may find it hard letting people loose in your little haven, no matter how well meaning they may be. I know I would. Perhaps someone retired who is looking for something to keep them busy would suit better. I think Topbird's suggestion about the grass is a very good one. A tidy lawn with neat edges is very pleasing, and if other areas are less neat, they aren't so noticeable when they're nicely set off with a bit of lush green grass. 

    Good luck with your treatment. You'll get support here, and if any forum members living in your area say that they will help you - they will. I'm sure of that.  There's some terrific people on here  image 

  • Thank you all, I am sorry but getting tearful at your kindness

    I live in Felixstowe Suffolk

    I have planted some of my pot plants into the garden, but not al am trying to get round to it. My hubby mows and does a bit but like I sad ge has no idea.

    I hve developed periperal nuroligy or something like that meaning i have numb hand/feet, making it even harder. at the moment I am unable to do anything. The hospital told me I may be left with permanent nerve damage but after looking it up sometimes it goes after a few months, so I am hopeing it will go.

    I will look into the scouts and no I do not have family able to do it.  My mum lives too far away and is elderly herself my sister can' be bothered as she puts it. Mum in law is elderly and has her own garden. A woman at church offered to help I may ask her. Althought do not want her doing it herself. When I am a bit better.

    I will look into local groups as I feel sad watching it just go to weed. I have tried to keep on top f my raised bed and bog garden area as I want to keep them, slowly pots are going.






  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,478

    Don't hesitate to ask the lady at your church Trudi.  You may find she knows someone else to help and if the other members of the congregation find out she's helping it may spur them to help too and take it in turns.  Sometimes people don't want to be too pushy and intrude but all the same would love to help.  Your garden looks very pretty.

  • more pics





  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,050

    For every person that can no longer manage their garden there'll be someone who would love a garden to manage. Matching them up is the problem.


  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 3,754

    I agree, I think ive said this on another thread but you may have a neighbour who would love to grow vegetables but doesnt have the space or someone who is waiting for an allotment.  They might be keen to use some of your garden as a vegetable plot and in return provide you with some fresh produce.  Perhaps you could advertise in the local paper or put a notice up in the local DIY shop or gardening centre. Hope your treatment goes well and that you are soon able to enjoy gardening again.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,008

    Trudi, there is help out there, the problem is a lot of us don't like asking. If we don't ask the answers are harder to find. Your garden looks lovely and loved. I am sure you will attract genuine help.  I had to have help in the garden and I contacted a card in the board at my local B & Q.  Good luck, wish I was nearer and I would come!

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Hi Trudi, I'm not very good with ideas sorry and nowhere near as experienced as the others that have already posted.

    I really just wanted to add my best wishes for a speedy (and full) recovery, starting with your hands and the numbness, I hope it goes soon.  It must be heartbreaking for you, I sprained my ankle and even 3 weeks of not being able to garden has driven me mad and made me feel down so I can't even begin to imagine how you must be feeling.  I've just shown OH this thread and he said if we lived nearer he would come and help, that's coming from someone who doesn't do gardening apart from the lawns.

    I'm sure if you asked about someone would be willing to help you.

    in the meantime, I think your garden is beautiful and so is your rabbit image

    All the very best and hugs (you'll get lots of hugs on here!!) xx

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    If i could get to you Trudi, i would help, although your garden is sooo much neater than mine! image

    How are you? Keep your chin up, things will get better x
  • Trudi.  Sounds like you are quite down, and no wonder.  Just remember there will be many people wanting to help you, and by allowing them to do so, you will be helping them.  We all know how great it is to be asked to do something when someone is needing it.  Just don't get stressed and exhausted over it all.  Plants and gardens are resilient, they can wait!  Love to you.

  • Hi Trudi,

    Sorry to hear about your health. I hope your situation improves and you can get back to it.

    I don't have cancer but i have serious illness and know how devastating it can be. The first thing I will say is that you should appeal if you have been denied benefits. The system is designed to reject everyone initially and they know that those who are too sick can't fight it. They bang on about benefit cheats, but they are much harder to weed out so they go for the easy target instead - those who are actually sick and in need of the benefits. But the majority of those who go to a tribunal win it, because they are really sick. It is cruel of our government to do this to us, but if you can, do appeal, and don't worry about it, the tribunal where you actually see real people face to face are much more just.

    Regarding the garden, mine went almost entirely to pot when I first got sick, but I have gradually been able to get back on top of some of it. So the good news to start with is that, if it goes downhill, it can be recovered at a later date, when hopefully you will be better after your treatment. Not all is lost. You will be surprised to see a plant still there hanging on that you were sure would be long gone.

    I would suggest you make thing lower maintenance. Weeding takes lots of energy so if you can plant shrubs that look after themselves well and fill up the space leaving less for weeds.

    I covered my beds in weed control fabric then stones. I got help for this because it was too hard for me, but don't feel bad asking for help, especially when it is making changes so that you dont need to ask for help next time. It was well worth it, I basically have zero weeding to do on my flower beds now. It also helps retain moisture in the ground, so less watering needed.

    Chose things that look after themselves and come up on their own each year, rather than annuals which you need to sow each year and deal with each time. This makes a big difference.

    It is a gradual process, and can be theraputic when you are going through such a hard time. Don't worry if it is not perfect, you will get there in the end. I am about three years into my project to make my garden lower maintenance. It will take me another year or two before things are how I want them.

    Wishing you the best.


Sign In or Register to comment.