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Have I made the right decison?

(26 Posts)
Falconbird Mon 23-Feb-15 08:22:10

I had to move house when my DH passed away and I'm living in a nice flat with an ensuite and all mod cons. The downside is I don't have a garden.

I thought that was would be a good idea because I'm 68 and still agile but I was thinking about the future and not being able to do the garden work.

I'm beginning to miss the birds, a fox who used to call in, and planting flowers etc.,

I could move again but it would be a huge effort.


annsixty Mon 23-Feb-15 08:57:14

I am not a gardener at all Falconbird but I would so miss not having a garden to sit out in and I do enjoy pottering. However I think you made the right decision to move whilst you were able and it is true that unless you can employ a Gardener you may have found the upkeep became a problem. I hope you have some local parks to walk in and enjoy.

Teetime Mon 23-Feb-15 09:00:29

Hi Falconbird have you thought of joining organisations like RHS and NT and make some trips to see gardens. The National Open Garden Scheme might also be a good way to see smaller gardens perhaps local to you and make friends?

Greyduster Mon 23-Feb-15 09:01:52

I went out into my garden last week, intending to have a bit of a tidy up and DH and I ended up knocking ourselves out when he decided to take out an intrusive honeysuckle hedge. Even with that, there's always a lot to do just to maintain it. I thought to myself then, and increasingly think, "I could do without this" and if it weren't for him, I would not cope with this garden. Probably couldn't cope with the house either. I am the same age as you, so don't consider myself 'old'; I just have a lot of things I want to do other than be a slave to the house and garden. I'm sure you do too. Your flat sounds lovely, and you've got your priorities right. Do you have a balcony you could grow plants on, or are there any community gardening schemes you could get involved in? They ran a couple near our last house and were always asking for volunteers.

annsixty Mon 23-Feb-15 09:09:22

Yes I had forgotten about the NT. They use volunteer gardeners at a.lot of their properties, but perhaps it is the idea of your own garden you are missing

Liz46 Mon 23-Feb-15 09:15:49

Could you perhaps share an allotment with someone?

shysal Mon 23-Feb-15 09:17:10

window bird feeders
Have you thought of one of these? I would hate to be without some outside space. I hope you make the right choice for you.

Mishap Mon 23-Feb-15 09:17:30

I think that you will find that in the long run you have made the right decision. We love our garden to look out on and sit in, but, as to managing it, it is quite beyond us. We are allowing it to go back to nature a bit; and someone comes and mows the grass for us - I won't call it a lawn!

I think the suggestions above are eminently sensible and constructive. Can you see any green from your windows? How near is the nearest park or green space?

Perhaps your daily schedule should include a trip to a green place - you can enjoy nature without all the hassle of the upkeep. Moving again so soon sounds like a big undertaking.

janeainsworth Mon 23-Feb-15 09:39:10

Falconbird You don't say what sort of flat you live in, whether it's a converted big house or modern purpose-built block, but is there any land around it that you could cultivate?
Perhaps the other flat-dwellers feel as you do and would welcome some joint effort - obviously permission would have to be obtained from whoever owns the land.
My MiL has lived for many years in a purpose built complex of sheltered accommodation owned by the local council, and the residents have been allowed to make flowerbeds and put up bird feeders. MiL's flat is on the first floor and she looks out over a cultivated bank and she can watch the birds coming to feed.

annodomini Mon 23-Feb-15 09:48:46

I agree that, in the long run, Falconbird you will find you've made the right decision. I moved from a 4-bed house with a large garden to a two-bed with a fairly long garden which I had landscaped in order to make it manageable. After 14 years, I find that I am not as able as I was when I moved and even a 'manageable' garden is quite hard to deal with. I have help with the rough work and do the planting and sowing myself. I was sure back in 2000 that I had made the right decision - but I didn't have a crystal ball. Would I have done anything different? Probably not!

Greyduster Mon 23-Feb-15 10:02:28

You're not alone in missing your wildlife. In my last garden, we had foxes, a wide variety of birds, I even had a badger stroll across my patio one late evening and amble off to disappear into the hedge at the bottom do the garden while I sat watching him with my mouth open. We moved to this house three years ago and I haven't seen any wild animals (except DGS!), and the only wild birds we see, in spite of this being a more rural location, is the local population of sparrows, a robin and a few blackbirds. Like you, Falcon, I miss my birds, but this house, like you flat, no doubt, is newer, warmer, easier to clean (apart from all the b****y windows!) and cheaper to run, so it's a trade off I happily accept for the moment. A stroll out with a pair of binoculars usually keeps me happy.

granjura Mon 23-Feb-15 10:09:18

Well I truly feel for you- I have to admit I would find it very very difficult to not be surrounded by flowers, birds and other wildlife.

Make enquiries at the council or library- many areas have community gardens or projects. The problem with feeders for birds near flats is that they can make such a mess and attract complaints from other tenants. Perhaps get in touch with the RSPB re the kind of feeding station that would be suitable- and the kind of food. Perhaps fatballs and peanut nets? But do be careful, as most fatballs are made with tons of palm oil- thus increasing deforestation and the plight ot orang-outangs and other wildlife- the trade-off is not worth it.

Tegan Mon 23-Feb-15 10:35:40

As I've said before, I would love to downsize as I seem to spend so much time and money maintaining a house that's too big for me and even doing the garden [which is only small] is often a chore and not a pleasure. There are purpose built bungalows near to my daughters and a lot of people have said that they would love to live in one if it wasn't for the fact that they have a communal garden and they would like a tiny separate one to sit in. Is there a u3a group you could join that has a bird watching or walking group perhaps?

Falconbird Tue 24-Feb-15 06:12:21

All lovely suggestions.

There is a park about ten minutes walk away and I do go to the park quite often in the fine weather. It has some lovely trees and snowdrops coming up and daffodils. Someone told me there was a Handkerchief tree there so I'm going to look that up and will take photos.

It is a relief to be free of worries about the house and garden which were becoming too much for my husband and myself before he passed away.

About four years ago I pulled a hamstring pulling up some plants in the backgarden and it frightened me. DH was alive then and without him I would have been in a predicament as I could hardly walk for three weeks.

When I was looking for somewhere to live I took that into account because I still have an impulsive nature and could be tempted to have a go at heavy garden work rather than have to wait and pay someone or ask my sons who have enough to do. There were times in my old garden when I nearly poked my eye out pruning back trees and shrubs not to mention being stung by ants and getting heat rash from staying out too long gardening.

Does anyone have any garden related injuries to share.

The flat is in a block of private apartments and the flats are surrounded by shrubs which are maintained by gardeners which does feel luxurious.

It's swings and roundabouts I guess and I think I've made the right decision. It's a relief not to be looking out and thinking "I must mow the lawn" or "Should I try and cut down those branches myself or pay out for the chap to come and do it." I had five big trees and just before my DH passed away one of them crashed to the ground in a high wind. The chap who did some garden work said "It was a sign."

When I was looking for somewhere to live I was hoping for somewhere with a small courtyard garden but there was nothing available. I think I will keep looking at properties in the area and if something with a small garden came up I might think about one last move but I doubt it.

Luckily my grandchildren aren't too keen on gardens and never stayed long in my old garden. They seem to be worried about creepy crawlies and things that might bite or sting them and I did take that into account when I was planning the move. When I was a child I loved being in the garden and so did my sons.

Riverwalk Tue 24-Feb-15 06:44:14

Falcon you're only 68 and still agile so don't spend the coming years hankering after something when you could do something about it now!

I can understand being reluctant to move again so soon but as you've not been there too long you might not have accumulated much 'stuff'.

If finances allow, why not be on the look-out for a similar flat with a terrace/balcony. You could have lots of tubs, window boxes and a table and chairs. smile

Falconbird Tue 24-Feb-15 07:27:56

Yes, I will give it some thought but as I've moved house 3 times in the last year I am a bit knackered. shock

I think I will settle here for a year and then review the situation. A little balcony sounds like a good idea.

I have seen so many friends and relations become overwhelmed by houses and gardens they can't cope with and I am pleased that I've avoided that situation.

I can have fun looking up properties and taking my time.

nannieroz111 Tue 24-Feb-15 12:16:48

I live in a house with a fairly large garden (far too big for me to maintain) it was my DH's pride and joy. I am looking to move somewhere smaller and thought maybe a small bungalow with a manageable garden. It would need to really small. I was wondering what living in an apartment was like having been used to a house (noise, etc.) Any suggestions or tips? confused

Anniebach Tue 24-Feb-15 12:35:33

I moved six years ago to a bungalow with a very small area back and front where I have garden pots. I have just applied for a bungalow with a garden , I miss a garden so much, I am concerned about ageing and not being able to do heavy work but if I am lucky and can move I will make the garden low maintenance immediately . Am waiting to hear if my request as been accepted, I pray it will be

Retiredguy Tue 24-Feb-15 12:36:23

This retirement place we bought and moved to last year has a huge garden and I do wish we'd bought something smaller and more manageable.
I don't have the energy I once did for the heavy work hence we're already having to pay to get some gardening done and that's likely to increase over time.
I'd not want to be without somewhere to plant a few flowers and to sit out when it's nice weather though.

Anya Tue 24-Feb-15 12:41:29

Exactly Falconbird enjoy looking around and seeing what's available.

Mishap Tue 24-Feb-15 13:19:09

Garden related injuries? - I slipped a disc in a big way whilst pulling up a weed many years ago and it has never been the same since. There was a bad nerve entrapment and they wanted to operate but I declined the offer.

annodomini Tue 24-Feb-15 14:01:42

My back was never quite the same after I'd struggled to dig up a stubborn berberis, about 35 years ago. Much better nowadays, despite a wrong diagnosis by an osteopath, eventually sorted out by a very good physio.

janerowena Tue 24-Feb-15 14:11:28

My 'second career' was as a gardener, and where do I start?

We have had to move around a lot, so have often been in rented flats while looking for houses to buy. I always said that I would never ever buy a flat unless it had at least a balcony, somewhere that I could actually walk outside and feel fresh air all around me, and have a few pots. The last one was lovely, it had a garden but no balcony. However the garden was ruled over by a tyrannical tenant (in a big old house divided into four flats) who had lived there for years and defended it fiercely against all invaders. So if you move to a flat with a garden, take that into consideration too. All Hell let loose when I pruned 'her' box shrubs, too early in her opinion, but actually at exactly at the right time. Apparently she had been looking forward to doing it.

merlotgran Tue 24-Feb-15 14:58:54

This year we have got to do something about making our large garden more low maintenance. Most of our veg is now grown in raised beds which has helped a lot but DH still likes open ground growing so I leave him the potatoes, courgettes, squash etc. We now have help three hours a week which just about keeps us ahead of the game.

I'm planning to put in a lot more shrubs. Perennials have always been my passion but we garden on very fertile soil so digging out nettles and docks over the years has well and truly done for my back!!

I was hoping when DD moved on to the farm last year that she'd take on some of the work but I'm going to have to accept that her interest in garden just about stretches to a few pots and even then she has to be reminded to water them. hmm

My dream would be a sheltered courtyard garden and a shared allotment (with a fit young man) for the veg.

Dream on, as DH would say.

Eloethan Tue 24-Feb-15 17:41:53

Falconbird I think it you can afford it (without depleting your capital too much), you should keep looking around for something that is more to your liking.

I would find it very difficult to live somewhere with no outside space at all - at least a balcony/small patio area where you can sit outside in privacy and have a few flower tubs. I don't think a communal garden is quite the same as having your own little bit of garden.

I agree with Riverwalk that at 68 you're too young to settle for something that you're not entirely happy with, especially if you have the means to put it right.