Happy to have Katie as company in the garden

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their small Southsea back garden into a grow-your-own plot

One of the reasons I wanted to start gardening was to inspire my children to enjoy the outdoors and to learn the joy of growing things to eat.

I pictured me and the family happily wiling away the summer days weeding, watering and gathering crops to supplement our wholesome meals.

Of course the reality over the past few years has been that, thanks to our busy lifestyles and a constant demand for my attention, gardening has become the time when I want to be by myself (often mumbling imagined conversations), away from the children.

However, last weekend was the first time in ages when I didn’t feel pressured to rush around like a lunatic, cleaning, doing laundry and helping out with stacks of homework. And Katie, my youngest, was keen to help out with some gardening.

For the first time in ages, my heart did not sink and instead I grinned, thrilled that she was taking an interest.

So for around an hour-and-a-half we planted sweet peas of various colours, and mustard and cress in the shape of her initials and in old egg shells in egg cups.

We weeded outside and planted out the broad bean plants that had grown to a good size.

We filled up the bird feeders and watched as obese wood pigeons pecked away at the seed and blue tits enjoyed some suet.

Sharing moments like this make gardening all the more special. And guess what? She was really good company.