besides having an arthritic spine I also have very little balance and it's this combination which is depressing the hell out of me. I've always loved my garden but now I can't do anything, main reason is my damn balance, my wife who is ten years younger than me has to do it all, she does love our garden and keeps it looking lovely, the frustration I feel is causing me bad depression. I have never felt so bloody useless, It's making my life miserable , James


  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
    edited 18. Apr 2021, 15:09

    Hello James, i’m Sorry you’re feeling so low. I’m a keen gardener too, my husband not so keen on it but he will dig or hack where directed. I had a new hip fitted yesterday so we had a concerted push and got a few garden jobs done before I went in, as I know I won’t be able to do anything much after I get back for a long time. But it was pretty painful.

    My mother, now 92, was a passionate gardener, but like you, her balance is almost non existent now, and she just hates not being able to do even the smallest jobs in the garden, she finds it deeply frustrating, but she still gets so much pleasure from her little courtyard garden, watching things grow and all the birds, butterflies, squirrels, frogs and woodmice that visit.

    it’s a tough one, but there are a few things you can do. I think just getting your hands in the soil is so important, so I help mum to get her hands dirty by getting her in the garden on a chair and bringing pots over for her to plant up, or helping her down to the ground (and up again) to do a bit of planting at the edges. If you can balance a little, you may be able to use some long handled light tools (cross between a hoe and a fork) to turn the soil over and kills off a few weeds (don’t venture into the bed, I can tell you from bitter personal experience it doesn’t end well!). Perhaps see if you can have someone build a few raised beds that you can lean against or sit next to to get your hands dirty. You may still be able to do a bit of deadheading or pruning on shrubs near the edges, or get a little wheelchair that you can move around and then sit so you can have a furtle around the edges of beds, or use it as a dual purpose stability aid and clippings transporter..

    I do understand that doing something so physical is good for body and soul, but sadly there does come a time when we have to rein back on the physical a bit. It’s ok to feel sad about that, but try to focus on the things you can still do, find new ways to do things, or for everything you have to give up, replace it with something else, maybe something new ,that you enjoy. For mum, she loves the opportunity to at least get her hands dirty (as do I). But for every gardener, we have to keep reminding ourselves to stop and just enjoy being in it, enjoy the plants we’ve tended, the vista we’ve created, and most of all, the wildlife that it attracts and who share our gardens with us as their larder or their home.

  • JRDAD1
    JRDAD1 Member Posts: 9

    Lilymary, thank you for your lovely message, it is very helpful and informative, I know just how your mother feels, what you suggested is worth thinking about of which I will and give it ago, I will let you know how I manage, once again thank you. James.

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    Yes, I have problems with balance, co-ordination and OA.. I set myself the target of doing one useful practical thing every day in the house or garden - anything else is a bonus.

  • LucyC
    LucyC Member Posts: 7

    So sorry to hear that you are so down James and I totally understand why you are feeling like you are. Do you have raised beds for your plants? We have a large garden which is mainly grass but I have raised vegetable and flower beds which I can manage and an outside table and chair where I can pot up plants. It still lets me garden but at my pace and within my capabilities. Hope this helps you, kindest regards Lucy

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
    edited 18. Apr 2021, 17:56

    Well done James, give it a go, find new safer ways to do what you can, and feel good that whatever little you do, it’s a bigger achievement now that it’s a bit harder for you. All things are relative. Usain Bolt may be pretty quick, but I’ll be equally pleased when I just master stairs on my new crutches!

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 406

    Hi JRDAD1,

    Im sure your wife doesn’t think so and I do understand how you feel I agree with LucyC raised beds so you can sit to help but I bet you compliment your wife on the garden and I bet she’s pleased when you do see we are never useless we’re just slightly worn

    I have no husband and I look at my garden and think wow it’s a mess but guess what we are what we are and you have each other I’m sure she wouldn’t want you any other way

    take care

    love Jona 😊