Most blind gardeners do many tasks on their knees. This is not possible for me, so the beds have to come up to my level instead.
Arise raised beds
As you can see, the beds are built of bricks overlaid with wood. In most cases high enough to be comfortable seating; and narrow enough for me to be able to reach the far side. So that when working these beds I can choose to either sit on the edge or rest my knees in a semi-kneeling posture.
The raised pond too has a stone coping wide enough to sit on. Even the lower square bed in the fruit cage is narrow enough so that I can reach the middle from any side.
When moving tools, plants, pots or even compost around the garden. I use my triangular walker, which you can see has a covered bag and a narrow seat, both can be pressed into carrying things.
The broad wheeled wheelbarrow is also useful. Though I tend to pull it behind me rather than pushing it in front. The low platformed truck Is a push-me pull-you; I can use the handle to lean on, or if preferred, pull it behind, bobbing like a tender being trailed by its engine.
Clippings, old plants and other vegetable matter are often moved to the compost bins in the Trug. A flat-bottomed flexible plastic basket, which is towed behind me on a length of string. This useful piece of equipment is light enough so that I can usually pick it up and empty its contents directly into the bin.
I favour detachable tools, which I fit on to several handles of different lengths. So far I have collected a hand fork, trowel, 3 different kinds of hoe, two rakes, and a gadget for dislodging weeds from between paving stones and a garden broom; all of which fit on to the same handles.
A warning here, I once broke the shaft of a fork from this set. Taking it back to the shop to complain, I discovered that these tools come in two strengths. I needed the thicker stronger set because my soil is heavy, sticky clay. Still my Mother benefited from my mistake. I gave her the lighter set and bought a new set of heads.
When not in use they are usually hung up in the shed. In addition I also have two other trowels of different widths, one stainless steel spade, a favourite pair of secateurs, a pair of loppers and a pruning saw. A soil sieve also hangs in the shed. A couple of discarded wooden spoons, and two old teaspoons from the kitchen have found another useful life in the greenhouse.
I also have three other small invaluable aids: a magnetted wand. When closed this looks like a pen with a round blob instead of a knib. The magnet is attached to an extendable arm like an Arial on a portable radio. This little gadget will pick up any ferris metal objects such as screws and even a small can of 3 in one oil. The second aid is the same size as the magnet wand, but is a sharpening tool with three different surfaces. This helps me to keep the edges of my tools keen.
The last gadget is a simple wooden dibber with several indents at approximately 1-inch 2.5cm apart, useful for dibbing small planting wholes for seeds.
As a blind gardener I need things to have a place, and I usually remember to return the detachable heads to their hooks after use. Tools with no holes in their handles are tucked behind the wooden bar with the hooks on; Other smaller tools are kept in a small set of drawers screwed to the wall of the shed just inside the door on the left. Persuading others to put tools away in their allotted places is not always so easy.
Most gardening tasks are within my capacity. There are though, some things that even I cannot do. One regular chore of this kind is clipping the hedge. I did think about replacing them with fences, but fences need regular attention and in my experience have a habit of blowing down.
Hedges on the other hand filter both wind and noise. They also provide nesting sites for small birds. Here you see Katy who comes along to trim my privet about 3 times a year.
In the autumn she and her husband also put up the layer of bubble plastic in the greenhouse, which acts like double-glazing. Helping to keep out frost and the heating costs down. In late spring they return to remove the plastic and let in more light.
Pruning high up on the apple cordons and the fig is also beyond my reach. Linda helps here, and often ties in the Jasmine and Roses as they continue to climb up the pergola. These friends and I exchange plants and surplus produce, as well as gardening tips and gossip.
To get in touch with Elisabeth, please fill out the form below.