I am very lucky that I genuinely like all of my gardening clients and I’m even more privileged that I work in some amazing gardens. They don’t need to be large, or have an abundance of expensive blooms, but they do need to have some wildlife. Even a few birds cheer a garden enormously.
In one garden, it’s more of a surprise if I don’t see squirrels than if I do and voles, mice, pheasants, snakes, dragonflies and a cornucopia of bird species ensure that garden has a very special place in my heart. The fact that the owner is also a true lady in her manner makes it all the better.
Many of my clients know little or nothing about gardening, so I am even more spoilt by deciding for myself what I’ll be doing each week. Sometimes they’ll have a little request but more often than not I’m left to my own devices.
Other gardens have owners who know their horticulture and know to the tiniest pimpernel what they’d like tackled each week or each fortnight and that’s okay too; I just womble away at my work and put ticks against the list.
Of course, there are downsides to being a gardening. Some of that wildlife isn’t so friendly and horseflies are an unwelcome addition. Brambles scratch me and nettles sting me but I’m willing to forgive both for the fruit from the bramble and the pesto I make from the nettle.
The one thing I am often educating my clients about is bird nesting season, which runs from the beginning of March all the way through to the end of September. It is illegal to disturb any nesting bird in this country, pest or not. This is one reason why most chainsaw works happen in the cooler months. It is also because that’s when the sap retreats back down the tree, so crowning or branch work then won’t cause the tree to bleed out by losing too much sap and then die.
All in all, between the gardening, the tree surgery, teaching people on events and the volunteer conservation work I do as well, it’s not a bad life.