I have a confession. I hate gardening. I don’t possess either the skills or the patience to create beautiful landscapes. It feels like I’m putting in huge amounts of effort for little return.

Here is a true example. Years ago, when we moved into our current house, I bought my wife a young apple tree. We planted it in the front garden, and then largely ignored it.

As faster-growing things began to grow up around it, I hardly had time to notice that the tree was not really growing at all. We moved onto new and exciting projects like extensions, new driveway, and so on. The tree was just about tough enough to hang in there, but it was clearly being deprived of nutrients and light by the rapid spread of the bush beside it. It had no chance to grow.

In the spring of 2021, I decided to take action. Donning a pair of gardening gloves, and the garden saw, I spent an hour or two removing the bush. It had grown so big and thick that it took ages to saw through its trunk.

The apple tree was now exposed, and looked isolated and weak. I. was able to see for the first time how it was leaning lopsidedly against the brick wall. I pulled off all the old tiny raisin-like fruit that adorned the tree. This made it look even more forlorn.

The next step was to buy a stake. I hammered the stake firmly into the ground near the apple tree, then used it to support the trunk of the tree. The tree now had something solid and dependable to hold onto, and help it grow in a new direction. I hoped that this might help a bit, but my lack of experience in such matters meant I was unsure whether the tree would survive.


Two days later, I went outside to look at the tree. I will never forget the feeling of utter astonishment at what I saw. There in front of me stood an apple tree that looked nothing like the tree I had left a mere 48 hours earlier. The tree was suddenly covered in dozens of tiny new green leaves!

My teenage son (who is far more green-fingered than I am) asked me “Dad, what have you done to the tree? It’s so much taller!”  I hadn’t noticed, but he was right; obviously the stake had helped the tree to face in a new direction, but there was no denying that this tree which had been stagnating for 20 years had grown. In two days!

A week later, and another miracle (at least to me) – there was blossom appearing rapidly! Over the course of just 24 hours, beautiful pink blossom had covered the top half of the tree and it looked resplendent.

I have every confidence that we will see fruit very soon.


I won’t lie, I STILL don’t like gardening. But I will still do it, because I know that there is a sense of joy at seeing the results of ‘having gardened.’ And it makes a difference. To that apple tree, at least.