AFTER green-fingered grandad John Wilkinson was forced to have a leg amputated, it seemed that all was far from rosy in the garden for him.
But the former scaffolder refused to let his disability beat him, and he is now showing his flower power by making a blooming success of a horticultural hobby.
John’s life was put in danger by a blood clot in 2002, forcing him to have his right leg amputated.
He was forced to retire from work, but the 56-year-old continues to live a full and active life.
After working as a scaffolder for over 30 years, he became a taxi driver before ill health forced him to give up work.
John, a father of three, said: “It was tough when it happened, but you have to keep your head strong.
“It’s easy to feel sadness and get down about it.”
After moving into a bungalow in Dundee Court, Jarrow, the green shoots of recovery were soon evident as John put his mind to transforming a barren back garden into a haven to be proud of.
The colourful garden has proved a hit with neighbours and family, particularly with two of his five grandchildren.
And it’s not just in the garden that John is putting his time to good use.
He has also been busy making stage props for his grandchilden’s drama club.
“You will be amazed about what you can still do,” said John.
“I never think ‘I can’t do that. I think how will I do it’. You have to put a lot more planning into doing things.
“When I moved here, the garden was all flat. I have put up 26 hanging baskets, done the patio and put in benches, so I can sit down while I do it. I put up trellises as well and have lots of climbing plants.
“I do it all by sitting on the ground. I do have a prosthetic leg but I prefer my walking sticks.
“The grandchildren love the garden. I have stones spelling out the names of Emily, who is eight, and Eadie, who is six. They both love coming down to see it.
“Whenever I am out in the garden, when people see me, they always come up and say how much they like it.”
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