Driving through the countryside to visit a client it struck me that outside work is not what people do anymore.
Yet people should aspire to work outdoors. Hurting labour, a few aches and strains some dirt on the hands does more good for you than sitting in the dim glow of an office. Add the warmth from the sun, a lovey flower, the sense of satisfaction from newly turned over earth and I truly believe this work will offer you both physical and mental good health.
If you are thinking of a change of career then why not Horticulture? You’ll be healthier, happier and all the better for it.
There is nothing quite like cutting lawns on a hot March day. The shaggy winter coat the garden is instantly defined, and the appearance of the garden is much improved.
And then there is the scent. Can anything lift the spirits more than the smell of cut grass after a long winter; I think not!
I arrived at the border, plants heavy with morning dew. The sun sits low in the sky covered by a ghost of a cloud.
My fork strikes the first blow against the earth and I feel at once relaxed and at one with nature.
We are built to move. We are designed to nurture. We deserve to be happy. This is why I love Gardening
Matt Miller, Professional Gardener, Designer and Landscaper.
The start of the year is an exiting time in the garden, a time to plan, a time to plant and a time to start building landscaping projects ready to enjoy in the coming warmer months.
Alas I’m only at the planning stage at the moment and I doubt I will get any further than this before early Spring meaning I will loose out on bare root, and root ball planting opportunities this year. This is regrettable mainly for financial reasons as buying plants this way is significantly less expensive than the alternative of pot grown planting stock....I seem unable to follow my own advice frequently dispensed to clients of “building and planting in the winter, ready to enjoy and maintain and harvest in the growing season”.
One pressing project is our driveway. A fairly large area which is at the moment and to be frank a mess. We’ve a number of large tree’s including Cypress, Yew and a very beautiful Magnolia and a reasonably good Beech hedge all of which are breaking up the horrid tarmac which makes the majority of the area. To have such a number of large trees in an amenity area is not practical and given Laylandii are, at least in my view, a horrid blight on the local landscape the decision to have these removed was an easy one.
Living in a conservation area we had to apply for permission and oddly the local authority placed TPO's on them.....quite why is it impossible to know but they did give permission for the Yew to be felled, so just before Christmas my team removed the largest Yew and reduced another. I'm now left with possibilities of not only a new, practical and interesting driveway, but also to incorporate garden area, all of which I am exited about.
This project is by in large designed and I will start the build in the coming months. The build will be documented here together with a “how to guide” which I hope will be useful to anyone who happened to come across this blog.
Happy New Year!
The weather has been unusually warm, in fact the warmest I can remember for December. Everywhere I look leaves hang on trees when they should be gone, spring flowers are popping up, birds are calling out for a mate and fighting for nesting stops apparently fooled into thinking it’s Spring.
The change in the climate if undeniable even if there is some debate on what, exactly, is causing it; all I can do is adapt our gardening practices to mitigate the effects I and my business have on the environment.
This bring me onto a recent article I read about the “no dig” approach gardening and agriculture. Apparently soil holds up the 3 times more carbon than plant life and the idea is to prepare the soil well, once, then add organic matter each year from then on. The soil will not only retain carbon, but rain water and micro organisms which could potentially help with climate change.
I will encourage clients to take this approach, and from this year forward promise to garden this way.
At this time of year the garden starts to hibernate and the gardening world fall into two tribes. Those who spend the next 2 months out of the garden, and those that spend this time preparing, pruning, planning, dividing and planting. My business and I fall squarely into the latter, while those that fall into the former will spend from February to November trying, in vein, to keep on top of all that needs to be done while regretting all the missed oppertunties to improve their garden.
I’m often asked how best to maintain and developing a garden and the answer is simple. Do all you can while you have the chance because the garden and nature waits for no man.
I normally take some time on Saturdays to collect my thoughts about my horticultural week and write my blog, but last week was different. Turning on the Radio I heard about the attacks in Paris and my blog seemed too insignificant to think or write about, my thoughts consumed by the terrible grief relatives must feel and an irrepressible feeling of there but for the grace of god go I.
I have visited the gardens of Paris a few times and was struck by their beautiful formality and the juxtaposition in the way Parisians use these spaces. Lovers walk hand in hand, friends laughing smoking and drinking coffee together, dog walkers briskly moving amongst the borders, crowds gathered watching street performers and families enjoying the open space. This to me summed up Paris full of life, beauty and Joy and long may it continue.
It has up until late been a fantastic Autumn. Warm days with not much rain, sun illuminating the reds and oranges in the branches of the many gardens I visit each week. Then on Saturday the rain came, torrential making a simple trip to the shed like an SAS training course.
But I like the British weather, constantly changing and surprising it wakens the senses and somehow makes one feel more alive.
In the deep midwinter my team and I have often been so cold it’s been difficult to hold a pair of loppers, when working on the many pruning jobs we carry out for clients at that time of year. However, this struggle is somehow bond up in the pleasure we get when the sappy branches spring into life and the season starts anew.
The weather no matter what it throws at me is part of gardening and my love of it stems from there.
After a hiatus of about 2 years I’m back and I think I really should explain reason for my absence; lack of time, sadly a situation only to familiar to most working people. I return at the back end of the season and after a glorious weekend late autumn is suddenly upon me with rain lashing at the study window.
Our garden looks as though there has been a season long party and now it’s over it's time to clear up, pack away and think about planning the next get together. Leaves clutter the paths, the long herbaceous is border is still flowering in part, and my new box hedge is still, thankfully, blight free.
However, I love this season with all its reds, oranges and bronzes our local countryside is truly a wonderful sight to behold; the low sun makes everything shine just a little brighter. The one regret from this season is not keeping my usual garden journal leaving me more than a little lost in terms of what I have done and what I should be planning to do in our garden over the coming winter months.
It’s a very busy time for our team, with so much clearing, pruning, planning and planting they’ve hardly time to draw breath before Spring when hopefully we will see the fruits of our winter’s labours. Speaking of which the rain seems to have briefly stopped so I am up to my log pile to split some wood for tonights fire.
I have taken a big decision to invest in a new mower; now to most I know this seems like a trivial thing but a commercial mower costs more than a reasonable family car so for a small business like mine it is a big commitment. I have had various success and failures with mowers in the past some had fantastic cutting results but literally fell apart in transport while other have been robust but unable to cut the finest of grass.
The courtyard is now taking much more shape I have laid about 25 square meters of beautiful Sandstone and have another 20 meters to go.