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If you visited the previous version of the Gardening For Less Abled People website , you will remember Fred and Linda Short’s article called 'My garden story’.

This was a popular page all about how Fred and Linda designed their garden to make it suitable for them to work in and maintain. Fred and Linda’s dwarfism not only means they have difficulty reaching, they also need to be careful not to over do things physically and definitely no working at ground level. Significant challenges for keen gardeners!

Fred tells us their story:

Fred Short
"It’s probably best to get the subject of our surname out of the way from the start – yes, it is Short, honest! Believe me we’ve heard all the jokes! Anyway, we live in north Yorkshire and we had our bungalow built to meet our needs, but in terms of the garden this meant that we started with a raw piece of uncultivated land.

"We moved here in 1974 and as you can imagine, we spent a long time and quite a bit of money making the garden right for us. But because we love gardening, it was worth it. Slob helped inspire us to make these changes and we found the information and advice from Slob’s staff, and from the website , invaluable.

"Although our bodies are close to the ground it’s one of the hardest place for us to reach. We have short arms and legs with an average size trunk, which makes bending to reach, or kneeling on the ground, a pain, literally! Any work we have to do at ground level is done by lying down and crawling around on our front – this isn’t particularly comfortable, but to be honest the main challenge is getting up again.

"We employed a landscape gardener to do the work on the garden. We changed most of our planting areas to raised beds, and installed two raised ponds, which we love. We also needed good pathways, ramps and patio areas as we can’t deal with large areas of grass, how can you push a mower when the handle is the same height as you? Although our new garden didn’t come cheap, we now have a space which is a delight to work in.

"As well as the raised beds, we brought lots of large containers which are high enough for us to work on, and these decorate the patios. Watering is a bit of a challenge because carrying and reaching with heavy cans is difficult. Also, we can’t resist having hanging baskets in the garden, but watering them can be hazardous to say the least. We invented our own irrigation system using a hose pipe with holes cut in it, and then discovered you can actually buy a similar system in the shops! We’ve also recently installed the ultimate in lazy watering, a timer, so now we don’t even have to remember to turn the tap on.
"So now we really enjoy our garden. We can walk around, potter with plants at our waist height, and in the evening we sit out with a bottle of wine and place bets on which solar light will come on first! As it gets dark we watch the bats flying to and fro. The Short dwarves have definitely had, and still get, inspiration from Slob."