Me maximising the green waste bin capacity

What I have learned from my first year as a gardener

I am one year old. A couple of years ago I decided to give up one profession and do something which, on paper, looked like a really smart thing to do. Looking back, on my first year I thought I might share my top ten of things I have found out…

1. Get used to wildlife finding its way into your domesticlife – My wife has just observed a caterpillar (literally) cantering across the living room floor. Much discussion of its origins ensued but it is likely to be related to my new found profession. Having watched various insects wander around the inside of the car whilst waiting at the traffic lights my position is less than tenable (but don’t tell wife).

2. You can never ever have enough pairs of (matching) gloves. That time I left two gloves drying (same paw) on top of car as I drove away from a client is always on my mind.

3. You need two of everything when it comes to hand tools – you can bet you bottom dollar you will either leave your prized tool behind because it has a lovely wooden handle which blends in perfectly with the border you left it in or you are just not really that organised yet.

4. Always take your own watering can because I have yet to find a client with a watering can that has its rose attached. Where do they all go – seriously is this some conspiracy with socks, teaspoons and Biro’s to take over the universe – I think I now know what is at the centre of Black Holes.

5. I know nothing. My former life involved computers, I won’t bore you but I did it for a really long time, loved it, I have done and forgotten more than most I believe but when it comes to gardening I am an amoeba if that. Did you know there are 2,400 varieties of Snowdrop?  No, I didn’t either but when I found this out it became clear no gardener can ever know everything.  Having said that, I love it (except the pay of course), and I would gladly do this job for free if – I could.

6. I have found myself watching gardening programmes on TV recently and shouting at (my wife) the TV that such and such has got it wrong – I have arrived(ish).

7. Cats… I love cats, I really really do but… I am now keeping bramble cuttings so I can distribute them liberally around the freshly turned over beds and introduce the concept of “Pain in the bum” to their lives.

8. Ah that moment when you have have sorted out a long neglected area the client wanted completely clearing and then says… “Those lilies from my late wife’s parents are very precious…”.

9. It is October and a client tells you they are keen to grown beans, carrots, lettuce, potatoes and lots of other veg and also have big flowers full of colour all in time for Christmas. I feel an expectation management exercise is needed.

10. I love my clients, each and everyone of them who took a leap of faith (I am only a 1 year old remember) and decided I was the right gardener for them. I hope I don’t disappoint, I hope they continue to want to employ me because I love their gardens and the fact that you become in a small way part of their family. In particular, I really do value the chance to help them create or retain a place of comfort, enjoyment and the wonderful memories past, present and future they have… However, I can I just ask one small favour… please keep the plant labels.

So let’s see what the next year brings!