I used to think gardening was for retired people. I liked looking at a nice garden. But doing the work? Nah, too busy. Tarmac the lot.

And here I am writing a piece about gardening for my blog. How did that happen?

Well…

We used a local handyman to come and mow the lawns and trim/prune our shrubs.

It became obvious that our back garden was more work than he wanted or could handle.

So, I started mowing the lawns myself. I used to have a little competition with myself. How fast could I mow both lawns and be sat back down having a brew?

I still didn’t care much about the job in hand. It was a chore.

Our back garden is on a steep slope. From our back door, it goes uphill. The previous owner had done quite a bit of work. There is a patio and lots of shrubs etc.

A couple of years after we brought the house, while the garden was tidy, it was overgrown in the beds.

And in the bed running along the top of the garden, there was lots of bastard. Oh, that’s my name for bramble. The prickly, grow everywhere bastard.

So, now there was a task. And there was nobody to complete said task unless I did it.

There was also a challenge. As it turned out, one of many challenges. I won (the first round of) man v bramble.

I admitted (to myself) that I’d enjoyed the experience. I discussed the idea of putting a rockery in that top section of the garden with my wife. She was keen: “go for it,” she said.

Now, at this point, I’m still working out that I could do the digging, placing of stones etc. in hours. Planting? Oh, my wife will want to do that.

So, off I went.

There was this root…

Having dug out, cut back and generally murdered many shrubs, the root issue came as no surprise.

I should say at this point: the garden was over-planted. The previous owner had planted loads of shrubs and bushes, in an attempt to solve the: what will we put in the beds?

I could see the problem, being on a serious slope was a challenge. And I started to think about how to fix it – and still build my rockery.

So, now I was digging the patch for hours every Sunday. I worked the soil and then sieved it too (hold that thought).

I couldn’t believe the amount of shite you end up digging out. Roots, lumps of rock, big lumps of clay, more roots…

Then, I broke my spade.

I was digging a hard patch of ground (my garden seems to have loads of them) and the blade made a loud screech.

I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t the handle, the blade itself had split. So, I purchased a new one (from Messrs Kent & Stowe) and I was well chuffed.

Not only that, but I was standing by the door in excitement, to take delivery of a soil sieve from Amazon.

Then, it occurred to me: you are happy because you have a new spade. And it’s thrilling to own a Bulldog soil sieve. What’s happened to you?

I got into gardening, that’s what.