The English Garden

Gardening for THE SOUL

For Michelle Thomas, her one-acre garden in rural Essex has helped her cope with serious illness. As she puts it: “Being in the garden among my roses is better than any medicine.”

When she first moved here 32 years ago, the ancient cottage was in a poor state with no heating or hot water. “There was no garden,” she says, “just brambles 25-foot high. I brought in a tractor to plough up the land and found three greenhouses and two sheds that I hadn’t known were there. It took three years to clear the site, then I put down grass seed as I had four young children and no time or

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