Cancer Gardens, full of lilies and roses, and pretty froths of baby's breath, are a feature of garden shows. Sponsored by Macmillan, or insurance companies; I walked through one once, where you passed through a dark narrow space as if stepping through a crematorium, to emerge into a frothy white and pink paradise on the far side. I didn't like that garden. I'm still young enough, or restless enough, or angry enough to find the fictions of in a better place, or at rest now horrible, dishonest and cruel.
That black mulch, the rot, that is the real stuff of death and the most honest kind of rebirth. When a much-loved friend unexpectedly became the first in my social group to die of cancer, a few years back, I took the day off work, unable to cope with the awkwardness of crying at my desk (I'm less bothered by that now).
At home, alone, at a loose end, I looked out into the garden and thought about digging or cutting something - hard, physical work-through-it work. But then realised I hadn't attended to the compost bin in a while, and spent the rest of the day up to my knees in worms and filth, crumbling old eggshells and fishing out those premium tea-bags that never compost properly.
Now that's what I call taking consolation in your garden.