The garden is alive with activity: on the warmer days bees are out in force looking for early nectar, bumping into me as they go; seeds are being sown at a frenetic pace ; a new border has been made on the edge of the drive using topsoil, garden compost and mushroom compost (that has been sitting around since last autumn), planted up and mulched with bark chippings; the first autumn sown sweet peas have been planted out as they were outgrowing the root trainers and starting to get rather unruly; pruning of Cornus, Buddjela, Hydrangea, grasses etc. has all finally been completed … the list of jobs that need to be done seems to grow far more quickly than I actually get things done!
On top of all of this life is taking a new and exciting turn; I am now working a couple of days week at Perryhill Nurseries in Hartfield, East Sussex. Despite having only done this for a few weeks so far I am learning a great deal about plants that I think it would be difficult to pick up just from reading books and pottering about in my own garden and the garden of clients …. yes indeed, clients! I am now fully set up as a gardener (a.k.a Crafting Your Garden) and enjoying the challenges that this raises. Today I spent 4 hours pruning a mass of Cornus and the list of things to be getting on with week-by-week grows with each visit.
Gardening for others is quite different to gardening for oneself; all those little shortcuts that you might take in your own garden you certainly don’t do in a client’s garden, everything must be completed to the highest standard. I also think that it takes time to become completely comfortable both with the client and with their garden; it is necessary to watch and to learn how the client interacts with their garden, which parts and plants they most value, and to try and understand what their garden means to them.
So there we have it, short and sweet as I think most posts will have to be from now on as the season gets into full swing. Happy gardening to all!
Now I’m not one for shopping in the sales; past experience has taught me that most of what is on offer is trash and that trying to shop in the sales is to witness human beings very possibly at their worst. The internet, however, has changed all this and I can now find bargains whilst sitting in the comfort of my own home, looking specifically for what I want rather than through what is piled on tables and racks.
And what did I want? Tools of course! I’ve been after decent hedge shears and lopers for some time and after doing a bit of research decided on some made by Bahco. Next was to find what I wanted at the right price. Having looked at a few websites the best price I could get was through My Tool Shed, not a site that I’ve come across before but one that I’ll be using again I’m sure.
New tools ... new start?
And what is the new start I here you ask? The book might give the game away, Paul Power’s ‘Start & Run a Gardening Business,’ one that I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of setting up for themselves. I’m not yet up and running, still doing the research and planning to make sure that I start on a sound footing.
The reason for the intended move is twofold: firstly I have felt for sometime that my current career isn’t really going anywhere and that I’d like to be my own boss and to work doing something that I truly enjoy, namely gardening, and work outdoors rather than at a desk; the second thing that has encouraged me is the recent hike in the rail season ticket to London (now just short of £4,000, about 18% of my salary) coupled with a 5% pay decrease that I had to take last year.
Commuting to London to sit at a desk doing something that isn’t really going anywhere becomes senseless. And so, readers, ‘Crafting Your Garden’ is born (the observant amongst you will have noticed the spin on my surname!) and hopefully in the coming few months we will have lift off, assuming that I don’t lose my nerve or that I’m not talked out of it. Watch this space.
I always come away from Sissinghurst
with a deep sense of satisfaction and joy; both the garden and the surrounding landscape exude a magical quality, but they are also tangible links to the past and markers of how we envisage the future for both our old houses and estates and the countryside.
The unseasonably warm weather of the past few weeks has encouraged much into life that might otherwise still be considering rousing from its winter sleep. The Lime Walk, Hot harden, Woodland, and Orchard were all teeming with colour and vitality.
My wife and I have been visiting Sissinghurst now for a number of years, usually two or three times from Spring to Autumn, and we never tire of it. There is so much to capture the imagination whether it be on a grand scale when considering the overall design of the various parts of the garden, or in the detail of each flower and plant.
Below are just a few pictures of the many that we took. If you want to see some more then pop over to my wife’s blog
to see the pictures she has posted.
- A magical view through the woodland
Looking across to the orchard
Plenty of colour in the Hot Garden
Magnolia against blossom