This morning I ventured down the path between the nearby apartments. Four on my side and four on the opposite side.

I have to be careful. Not just to cross my rocky yard, but the path I walked downis not smooth either.

I wanted to show you the changes since the last time I took photos.

Below is my yard and patio area.

I will get better photos when I move things around a bit and try to get pots leveled.

Still Trying To Come Up With A Better Plan:

I’m certainly not anywhere near pleased with things yet, but with all the factors to deal with, I haven’t yet come up with a good plan.

I haven’t seen my neighbor John who lives across the path this past week.

If he doesn’t carve out the path I need this summer, then I’ll hire someone else I suppose. I know he has to work on his brother’s yard too.

Below are the trees I can see when I look up from my patio. The one with red leaves is the second tree down from me. It’s really more in Steve’s yard.

I can’t remember what kind of tree it is, but the leaves sure are beautiful.

The tree leaves, both red and green, I see when I look upward from my patio.

The tree in my yard is finally beginning to leaf out.

They tell me it is always the last tree to have its leaves emerge in the springtime. You can barely see the shape of its elongated leaves on the branches.

Do you have any idea what kind of tree it is though it’s hard to see the leaves thus far? They just sprout outward from the branches in little spikes.

I’m thinking Steve said it’s a cypress tree, but I can’t actually recall.

In Walking Down The Winding Path 5/7/22, these photos or are the trees to the left of my patio.

Moving On Down The Stone Pathway:

This is across the next sidewalk moving toward the pool area. There are various areas where residents can grill food and have cookouts on the grounds.

The pool area closest to my apartment beyond the winding path.

Below is the woman’s yard at the end on the other side of the pathway. I like her pile of rocks and the gazing ball on top.

Maybe I should do something like that.

I’d have to order an aluminum gazing ball. I’ve learned over the years that the glass gazing balls always get broken at some point.

Maybe seeing this will give you ideas for my yard.

In Walking Down The Winding Path 5/7/22, this is the enclosed yard of the woman living at the end.

My Problematic Yard:.

And then we’re here at my yard again. The pots on top are not exactly level yet.

The plants you see are not planted in the containers. The pots of plants are just placed inside because 1) I don’t have enough soil. And 2) because I don’t know that I can lift the bags of soil at this point in time.

Every time I try to lift something slightly heavy I get a sharp pain in my right hip and ankle. And then I have to go inside and apply ice quickly before it gets out of hand.

It’s discouraging. I think I may look into having another set of eyes look at things.

My chiropractor, who is good friends with the doctor I currently have, said maybe I should look into orthopedic surgeons to see what they might have to say.

My yard with the big blue pots and galvanized tubs I've filled with flowers and plants.

The doctor I have now is more of a podiatrist who also does surgery. He seems to be a bit uncertain about what to do in my case. His answer was the brace.

But both the brace and the walking boot hurt to walk in. So when I’m home I don’t wear either one if I can get around okay without them.

The thought of things being this way for the rest of my life is depressing.

In Walking Down The Winding Path 5/7/22, this is my old washtub I brought from Texas filled with shade plants

Hosta Plants, Coral Bells & Ivy:

I put my two hosta plants, two coral bells, and a pot of ivy inside this old washtub top that Kendra retrieved from my old place after I was gone.

Oh, how I love that old thing. The rusty spots and wear are beautiful to me.

How I want to get out there and get moving! My inability to make my yard beautiful is discouraging because this time last year I already had done so much.

My house plant Monstera spending the summer outside

But I suppose all we can do is accept the limitations we currently have and try not to let them get us down too much.

That’s just not easy to do.

In Walking Down The Winding Path 5/7/22, this is one of two blue pots filled with plants

So I shall bide my time and try, for probably the first time in my life, to learn that patience too can be a gift.

I just don’t want to make things worse than they already are by pushing through the pain as I have in the past. That obviously hasn’t worked for me.

It’s all in your perception of things and how you react to them, I suppose.

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47 Comments

  1. Sorry I’m late in seeing this post. I believe the tree in your yard is a Bald Cypress. It’s the only Coniferous tree (evergreen) I can think of that drops its foliage in the winter, then puts out new foliage in the spring. And yes, it is usually the last tree to leaf out. It does well in wet, swampy areas which is probably why it was planted in your yard. Unfortunately, it is not a good tree for a small property. It is famed for its “knees” or large woody growths that come up from the roots. The Bald Cypress that I had was beautiful but had “knees” coming up everywhere and made mowing difficult. Those “knees” might also be contributing to the unevenness of your yard.

  2. Everything on the winding path looks so pretty in its spring finery!
    I agree that an orthopedic surgeon is a good place to get a second opinion. Possibly even a second one, if surgery is suggested, since not all doctors are created equal.

  3. Would one of your grandkids come and do some work for you on the patio? You could supervise and tell them what you need… potting soil in the pots, pots placed where you want them, etc?

  4. Brenda,
    Please get and use a cane!! The ones with 4 feet at the bottom allow you let go of it without it falling over. A physical therapist explained to me (after knee replacement) that using a cane takes 40% of the weight off that leg. You should use it inside your apartment to keep from tiring out those sore joints.
    Hang in there Deborah

    1. I have a cane. I can’t use it because of the shape my hands are in. My right wrist was partially fused in 1982. And I have terrible arthritis in both hands.

  5. Hi Brenda,
    looking at the tree in “Steve’s yard” ; could it be an ornamental plum? I have one in my flower bed next to my driveway and it has the most beautiful pink blooms until the red/brown leaves come in. I love it’s colors, similar to some of my Japanese maples.
    I was talking to my sister, Nancy, a retired orthopedic nurse; who is now doing geriatric nursing. She literally has a small clinic in the trunk of her car! She suggested you have a entire workup. She says if you have been overcompensating for one area many other areas will have been compromised. Please don’t wait because time is not on your side; I want to see you happy in your garden and able to walk in nature. I just turned 70 ; April 10th, and have been fortunate enough to overcome some foot/ ankle issues myself.
    Happy Mother’s Day and give Ivy a sweet pet from all of us.
    Susan, from the Pacific Northwest

  6. Podiatrists do not have degrees in medicine–they’re not M.D.s – I would never allow one to operate on me. I hope you follow up with an ankle specialist who is an Orthopedic surgeon. The one I use is the Ortho doctor for the local University football team, so he knows his stuff. You can use your same X-rays and MRIs if they are current. I am in a bad way with my back, and there is nothing I can do about it. Awwwww. I am considerably older than you with several health problems that make me not a good candidate for surgery, although that would help my spinal condition. So please don’t wait too long if you want to try the surgeon route – the younger/healthier you are, the better the outcome.

    1. I didn’t notice that he didn’t have MD behind his name. I thought I was with someone best to help me. On Google, it says this about him…He is board certified in foot surgery and reconstruction rear foot/ankle surgery through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. I thought you had to be an MD to do surgery.

  7. I didn’t realize the dr you were seeing was a podiatrist and not an orthopedist. Yes, you should definitely see an orthopedist, especially one that specializes in ankles. It is ridiculous to think you should wear a boot and/or brace your entire life. That’s not realistic.

    I don’t know what that tree is; it doesn’t look familiar to me.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. I was told people wear braces and walking boots indefinitely. I went to this doctor because he specialized in feet and ankles. I didn’t realize I should be going to an orthepedic surgeon. No one told me and I didn’t know.

  8. I hope you are using at least a walking stick or a cane when you walk on the rocks! I agree with seeing an orthopedic surgeon forthwith! I know it’s hard not to go walk where you want. I used crutches for several months after I fell and hurt my knee, as I still wanted to get out in my yard.. so it was crutches for me and it worked fine.. then a walking stick.. a very sturdy one! It sounds like the ankle problem has also caused so many problems with your hip and back, because of the instability… I hope the orthopedic surgeon could also check into that and do an MRI to see what is going on there. Nothing worse than not being able to get in our gardens and work like we want to! Marilyn

    1. I think what you have done is very pretty! Such a nice variety. It will never be like your old garden. This area is completely different. I know that it is so difficult to accept your limitations. I have been there myself. I am about your age. 66. I have not been able to do all that I was able to for awhile now. It sucks sometimes. Are your grandson and granddaughter able to help. I don’t how far they live from you.
      I hope you can find a doctor that can give you more options! I was blessed to find one that gave me a lot of relief. Not perfect, but better then it was. Foot/ankle.

  9. Brenda, I hope you do get a second opinion from an orthopedist who specializes in ankles. I had lots of trouble with a podiatrist years ago and a friend’s husband had surgery done by a podiatrist who messed up his ankle terribly. I have been a follower of yours for years and every time you tell about your ankle pain I wince! I think there is something that could be done to help you. Your plants look gorgeous. You really do have a green thumb.

  10. The patio is coming alive with so many pretty plants. Hopefully you can find a way to get it leveled so you can enjoy it more. The plant in the green pot sitting in a clear saucer is beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. I’m finally getting my house painted next week. So can do some planting after it is all done. We are under water restriction out here already.

  11. I was seeing my primary care doctor and my podiatrist about my ankle. I went to an orthopedist who for the first time explained to me what was happening and why. Do find a good one who specializes in ankles, it will help so much.

  12. Oh, Brenda ! I’m so sorry I didn’t realize your doctor was a podiatrist. I spent a year and a half paying and enduring treatments and very painful injections with a podiatrist. I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon and he diagnosed my problem immediately and made plans to fix it. Orthopedic surgeons have far more training and experience. Please find one in your area. I think you will have a far better outcome with an orthopedist who specializes in feet. They all seem to have a particular part of the body they specialize in. I’ll be praying that you find the one God knows is best for you. Hang in there. Better things are coming !

  13. I agree with Margaret. Get one or more recommendations for a good orthopedic doctor/surgeon in your area, ask your current doctor and ask your neighbors if they know someone or have heard good things about someone. You can probably find information online. In this day and age there may be ways to treat your damaged ankle that your current doctor isn’t aware of, there are new treatments and approaches continually being developed. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life in pain or fear that the pain will strike at any time and be restricted or fearful to do the things you love to do (gardening, walking about beautiful places and taking beautiful photos, etc.) because of debilitating pain flaring up. Explore different medical options. I think your flower arrangements look great. The blue pots are gorgeous and the tin planter is the perfect counterpoint. I don’t know how you may be able to level them unless you try shoving some kind of shims under the planters where they won’t show, or how you can possibly do that yourself! It doesn’t look like there is any level surface at all, not with the concrete blocks and the rocks and stones in your garden area. I hope you do not try to lift those pots or move them yourself and move the stones around underneath them, trying to get things evened out. I know it’s hard to ask for help, I had to learn that and to rein myself in, because there are some things physically that I just can’t do or should NOT do any longer – my body sure lets me know if I forget I’m not “superwoman” and try to push myself into believing I am. Is it a pain in the neck (figuratively) not to be a “superwoman” any longer – YES! But the reality is I need to ask for help doing certain things or hire people to do certain things for me around the house and yard. It’s been a process dealing with “aging gracefully,” but also liberating in a way to acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with getting help to do things I would be better off not attempting myself or that I don’t want to do 🙂

    1. Don’t worry about me moving the pots. There are only plants in pots inside and they aren’t heavy. I didn’t fill the pot with dirt. I shoved flatter rocks under there. I don’t think there’s one level spot in that whole yard.

  14. I was looking at the leaves of your tree thinking it was a cypress. Then I saw the comment that your neighbor thinks it is a cypress. Your plants look lovely. Hopefully you can come up with a plan.

    1. I think the trees are beautiful. If they keep my yard from getting sun, so be it. I’ll deal with shade plants. And all these trees should help to keep my apartment cooler.

    1. Thank you. I keep comparing it to my old patio, and that is silly. At least there aren’t snakes falling out of the ceiling vents here.

  15. Looks like your surroundings are beautiful. A different viewpoint from your former place. Plus the like minded neighbors that enjoy flowers. You will find your own way to add to the landscape to your satisfaction. A little at a time. Maybe not in the first year or so.
    I am quite perplexed that you have not been seeing an orthopedist. I never could understand why you didn’t have better options. I encourage you to see one yesterday.
    Best of luck to you.

    1. I don’t know. I can’t remember why I chose this doctor 8 years ago. I guess no one told me it should be an orthopedist and I didn’t realize that it should be.

  16. Would the complex allow you to hire someone to level out your garden area? That sounds like it would be a good solution for your dilemma plus that person might find a way to work around the ‘step up’ area, too!

    1. Everyone else around me has pretty much done what they want with their yard. They’ve told me that they’re just not supposed to get too close to the sidewalk with their yard stuff. I may just get some estimates. Just walking across that rocky yard this morning taking photos was like walking on tennis balls.

  17. Definitely go see an orthopedic doctor. I thought that is who you were seeing already! I am sure your doctor has tried his best to help you, but it is time for a new set of eyes on the problem.

    Your garden is always beautiful; you will have a beautiful one here, too. But please make an appointment with an orthopedist before you do anything else.

  18. Everything is so pretty already! The colors are just gorgeous!! Hopefully, you can find or hire someone to help with the various plants 🪴 & flowers 💐 in those beautiful blue pots!! 💙
    How many are there?
    You must take things easier now Brenda. Would be a shame if you hurt yourself.
    Hopefully, celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow with ❤ your family. Maybe brunch or an early dinner get-together!
    Have a lovely day Brenda!!

    1. My daughters are busy with my grandson’s graduation. So we’re going to celebrate next weekend. Doesn’t matter to me when.

  19. Brenda,
    You are amazing. You have accomplished more in your home, and now on your patio already, than most people who don’t suffer from body pain. I know how you must feel, wanted everything to be done and finished outside, but think of it this way, no matter if later than you want, it is something you love, to look forward to. Little by little, and each little bit outside, will bring you joy, and that’s a good thing.
    Wishing you the best, have a wonderful weekend. Hugs from 61 degrees WI.

  20. I think if you can just get an area you want cleared from the rock so it’s level and it’s dirt, you’d feel 100% better. Then re-evaluate. Sometimes that one thing makes a huge difference in the plan! Save the rock in a pile in case you want it later. I’m pretty sure the brick is so your patio doesn’t flood. A landscaper would know and could plan. I wonder if you can have one come out just to give you ideas on that brick and rock area? Then perhaps hire someone else to do the actual work? It really would be worth it.

    1. While you don’t consider this area complete by any means, I think you’ve got a great start. I love the way you nestle pots together, varying sizes, textures, and heights. This makes an interesting, yet cohesive arrangement, very pleasing to the eye. Lots of people without your keen eye just line stuff up and call it good! Blah!

    2. That would help enormously because I’m scared I’m going to fall on that yard, and so are the neighbors. When they see me out there on it and they’re outside, they keep yelling for me to get down and back on the patio. I have to put my arms out level just to keep myself steady enough to walk on it. I noticed during my little pathway walk this morning that they’ve been digging in more yards. Has to be the drainage.

  21. I love your new place Brenda. All the lovely trees and the fact that mostly the tenants
    make their gardens/patios look great with flowers and shrubs. It makes me so happy to see trees every where. I heard the other day about ‘forest bathing’ it entails walking thru a treed area and just taking in the sights and smells. It is supposed to be so calming. Apparently some doctors in the US and Canada give some patients a pass to go to a park or forest as their treatment.

    1. I’ve never heard of forest bathing, but I like that idea. I think there are dozens of trees here. So many that they’re pushing up the sidewalk in areas.

  22. Brenda, I’m glad you are taking your time and not hurting yourself. I know, in the end, your little patio will be Shangri-La and people will come along to enjoy it. I do hope you find a pain free solution so you can really enjoy your outdoor space. What I see of your new living situation is lovely and sweet neighbors also. Have a blessed weekend and Mother’s Day. Sandy

  23. Look at all you’ve accomplished on your patio. I know it’s not exactly what you want or what you’ve had in the past but it’s beautiful. I love that you put your plants in the galvanized tub(s) in just their pots. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. We’re so much alike, Brenda! We need to do what we can when we can and if we can’t we need to accept our limitations. It’s OK!
    By the way I bought a larger indoor plant for my home – you’ve inspired me.
    More hugs from me to you! Have a joyful Saturday!

    1. Hope your new plant does well. I’m one of those “git her done” people who want it all done yesterday. My daughter Kendra is like that too. But you’re right: focus on what I can do.

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