In 2001, Sue Ingram’s world was rocked. Her husband was admitted to the hospital in a near coma from diabetes, an event which was to have lifelong implications for his health. To find peace through her pain, and to create a place of rest and revival to help him heal, she turned to gardening on her Kennewick, Washington property.
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Sue Ingram had known she’d wanted to garden for some time. “When my youngest daughter was little, she picked all the neighbors’ flowers,” she laughs. “I knew we’d have to have a garden for her, so they wouldn’t all hate me.” Though she hadn’t gardened in any serious way before then, after that eventful week, “my whole world just shifted,” she says. She knew she wanted to focus her energies closer to home while she helped her husband convalesce, and creating a therapeutic garden “was a way to make something beautiful out of something hard and ugly,” Ingram says.
Most people would feel intimidated by the thought of creating a garden from scratch on a modest suburban lot, much less on the third of an acre Ingram has, but she just jumped right in. “We started at one end and did a section at a time,” she says. When things didn’t work out, Ingram enjoyed the usual gardener’s dance of transplanting and shifting elements around until they worked. “I tell my neighbors, if you don’t like it, just move it—you really have nothing to lose,” she says.