“Oh wow!” said the delivery driver. “It’s like walking into paradise!”

We get that sort of thing a lot. The narrow and faded street is lined with parked cars. The car-park you have to cross to access my son’s home is scruffy and overgrown. There is nothing that leads you to expect what you find behind his gates. Clean, geometric lines contrast with the encircling green of trees, bright spots of colour from the young plants, the tranquillity of running water and the harmony of the pentatonic wind chimes. There is usually a red kite wheeling overhead, sometimes the occasional squirrel and always a symphony of birdsong.

So far, Nick must have heard just about every complimentary phrase possible as people walk into his garden. They will lean over the pond to admire the huge and colourful fish and comment on how quiet and unexpected the space is, just five minutes from the town centre. To be fair, the whole things works rather well.

While I love my son’s garden, especially its relative ease of maintenance, my own tastes run to semi-wild cottage gardens. Give me a flower bed of my own to fill and it will soon be overflowing. Nick prefers order, space and neatness. I like chaos. Our vision of beauty is subjective, but here I work to his…and sneak in the odd bits of chaos where appropriate.

It struck me today, though, that although people see the beauty of the ‘finished product’… not that any garden is ever finished… they do not see what has and still goes into creating beauty. Nick’s garden took months to build… and that was just the bare bones, before we started planting; then we dug in the manure. Every day, I spend a couple of hours outside, either watering, deadheading, weeding, feeding, sweeping and scrubbing, or cleaning out the two pond pumps and filter… and that is without the big jobs like jet washing. And, much as I complain about some of the things I have to do, the results are worth it.

Another thing that people do not see is the true nature of this garden. It is designed to be accessible. From the discrete placement of handrails as part of the design, to the carefully measured distances between handholds… even the sculptures, securely concreted into the ground, serve as extra grab rails… every detail is designed to allow my son to get around his garden on his own two feet, while still allowing wheelchair access. Colour, sound and fragrance compensate for damaged sight and plants are positioned so that he can enjoy their scent without needing to be close.

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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21 Responses to Growing…

  1. Sadje says:

    It must have taken a lot of thinking and planning. I’m glass the result is so amazing.


  2. carylbeach says:

    Yes Wow! and I love the sculpture and it’s multi purpose. A real credit the garden is fab!


  3. it is indeed beautiful. Clearly shows the effort put into it.


  4. beth says:

    beautiful and what a wonderful compliment


  5. V.M.Sang says:

    Fantastic effort must have gone into this garden, yet it looks so beautiful and effortless. Kudos to you for helping make it so accessible as well as beautiful. (and for importing a bit of chaos!)


    • Sue Vincent says:

      A lot of people had input to make this work… but we’ve had a lot of practice with making accessibility discrete and stylish. The ‘official’ versions of so many necessary features are usually ugly and obtrusive. There are other ways 😉


  6. I’m probably more like you, Sue, with the untamed wild garden, but Nick’s spot looks so peaceful and soothing. And you’re right that few will truly understand the work and thought that went into it. But that part too can be rewarding. Well done.


  7. Dale says:

    How the hell do you do it all? Does your day have more than 24 hours?
    That is a gorgeous garden. I, like you, prefer a more disheveled look 😉


  8. KL Caley says:

    What a beautiful garden and such a clever (and intricate) thought process behind it, thank you for the insight. In November last year, my husband took on an allotment so that has taken up a lot of our mental space planning that, trying to keep it both accessible for our toddler so that he gets the enjoyment of it and at the same time keeping the plot safe from his trampling, grabbing and poking hands – a mighty challenge. It sounds like you have managed the dual-use perfectly. Great Post. KL ❤


  9. Jennie Fitzkee says:

    Nick’s garden is a beauty. It is perfect for him. No one can imagine all the work that went into the making. I”m more like you, preferring a softer, more natural garden. Oh, the weeding! It’s a labor of love. Your parallel reflective thinking is spot on.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Sue, your post will not allow me to ‘like’ it. So, please know I do.


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