IN A SUMMER GARDEN - 2019

Welcome to our gardens, our alfresco bolthole, our sanctuary and our little piece of paradise.

Our small but welcoming front garden.

Our compact, but now totally secluded and lush rear garden.

My wife Sandy and I were married in 1997 and at that point in our lives we had virtually nothing materially or financially. It really didn't matter, after years of emotional difficulties we were just happy to finally be together and we wanted to start renovating our home.

Unfortunately, raising the deposit for a mortgage had taken everything we could scrape together. We were absolutely skint and our unaltered 1960 bungalow therefore stayed exactly that - a 1960 bungalow - for many years into the current millennium.

TRUE INVESTMENT (TIME & EFFORT - NOT MONEY)

There was no alternative but to go into the garden and start work on things that cost as little as possible.

What a stroke of luck that period of financial hardship proved to be in the long run. All our time and energy back then was 'by default' focussed on our gardens - front and back.

Projects were commenced that cost little or nothing and with a serious back problem, I found myself restricted to the very gentlest of gardening duties. Progress was going to be very slow indeed. By this time our sons and daughters (from previous marriages) were adults and so planning gardens to one day enjoy with our future (joint) grandchildren became our firm goal.

TRUE PAYBACK (PEACE & TRANQUILITY - NOT MONEY)

More than two decades later that investment of time and effort has paid off at long last and for the very first time, this summer - 2019, we could finally relax and just enjoy our small but lovely gardens with the minimum of maintenance now necessary (and any minor maintenance that is needed, being an absolute joy anyway).

GRATITUDE (TOTAL)

There's nothing grand about our gardens, we just think they're lovely, and we're so truly very grateful to have them.

We're now a far, far cry from the 'hell hole' of a flat (with no garden or outdoor space at all) that we were trapped in, through negative equity, for several years before we married. We'll never forget those incredibly difficult years and the perpetual negative experiences of living sandwiched between noisy neighbours (both above and below) that made life so intolerably stressful.

Those earlier negative life experiences and many more besides have made the tranquil place we now inhabit all the more enjoyable. We know just how very, very lucky we are. Peace at last!

I truly believe, EVERYONE deserves the right to a decent, warm, comfortable home and some private outdoor space wherever possible. It's the least folk deserve in this crazy helter-skelter world.

The following gallery has pictures taken this summer - 2019.

Please click on the pics and scroll through what was a truly beautiful summer.

And then there's this other hanging garden in Cliftonville I oversee:

But that's another story...........

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Clive Hart