Apprenticed to my Mother: The Great Outdoors


Mum and dad’s garden circa 2001, plus dad’s finger…

My mother loved her garden. The family home in Hampshire morphed from an awful clay pit with a few decrepit fruit trees into a beautiful oasis. My parents put extraordinary effort into the conversion. Fortunately their skills were complimentary: mum designed – she had the eye, the sense of scale and colour; dad the passion – he believed in the inevitability of the ultimate success and celebrated each small and large step with gusto. Indeed little happened of a positive hue without a tipple being imbibed. ‘Imbibing’ was more than a pleasant adjunct to success; it was at the centre.

When mum left Silver Crest after 36 years, it was the leaving of the garden that took the most decoupling. Happily the new bungalow had a garden though immediately I foresaw a problem. Mum was 80. She’d had a hip and…

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