My husband and I finally retired from our small shop in the city, and we decided to move to his family home. When he inherited it decades before, there was enough money to maintain only the house. The yard and gardens had grown wild, and I decided it was time to tame them. I found an old family album that showed the yard and garden at their best, and I thought I would make a project of restoring them.

I began the week after we moved in, and it took more than a month before I was satisfied with the front yard. The bushes near the house had grown nearly to the roof, and the lawn was a tangle of weeds. I recruited my grandchildren to help pull the weeds, and we hired some help to cut down the largest of the bushes. Some of them needed to be replaced, but that just made it easier.

After finishing with the front of the house, it was time to tackle the backyard and garden areas. Mowing took care of most of the yard, but the garden was a disaster. I wasn’t quite sure where or how to start, and then the next door neighbor dropped in. She congratulated me on the yard work, and she inquired if I needed help with the garden.

We sat down for tea and talked about how the garden had looked years ago. She asked if I was looking for professional help, and I admitted we didn’t have a lot of cash for that type of work. She then told me she gave gardening lessons, and she asked if she could use my garden as a place to teach her students. She said the students paid her, so it wouldn’t cost me anything for the restoration. We quickly came to an agreement, and we enjoy chatting there almost every day.