I think I've finally figured out how to get my garden going without the frustration of previous years.
First was the purchase of a pink foam kneeling/sitting pad. Oh my goodness did this make a difference in wanting to bend over the garden and weed it! Now I can sit or kneel for quite a while before I get tired and sore.
Second was the gloves I borrowed from work. Ok, 'took' from work. We use both latex and non-latex gloves. I noticed how strong the non-latex gloves were and tried them out under my gardening gloves. Holy crap did that make a difference! I don't mind dirty hands...but only if I can get them clean. In previous years I was unable to get my hands completely clean no matter how much I scrubbed under the nails and fingertips. Now my hands sweat but at least they get clean easily.
The last thing that changed the gardening experience was the idea that it doesn't have to be done. If I don't do all of it....so what? If I only do one section it doesn't commit me to getting the entire thing finished. It's ok to stop and start at my leisure. That concept is incredibly freeing.
So now my garden has sweet peas all along two sections of chain link fence, I moved my mini lilac bush to a shadier area, I planted five new hardy rose bushes, weeded out everything but the Snow on the Mountain (I think) ground cover, and made room for the Lily of the Valley to grow. Whew! Now, if I keep weeding it all and watering it, I should have a pretty yard like I've wanted for years :)