I'm going to admit to shamelessly pinching the idea for this post from Rona at Flowerona, who posts an update of her (always very exciting) week each Saturday.
As i've been asked several times just this week, - what is it that you do?, - I thought i'd give you the behind the scenes look at the glamourous ! life of an expert gardener.
During the winter, I get weekends with my family, - but as soon as spring appears, Saturdays are for seeing new customers and doing consultations in their gardens.
The morning started with my 6 weekly Chiropractor appointment, with Alain at Guildford Chiropractic Centre
Then I went off to see Mrs W, who i'd done a consultation and planting plan for last year, but life got in the way of completing the plant move.
This is the border last year, - the aim is to add more height and interest later in the year, in a traditional cottage border style (without quite as much work) in pinks and purples.
We reviewed the border in it's 2012 state, - we also talked through redesigning the herb bed on the other side of the garden.
I then went to do a new Consultation for a couple very locally to me (I walked, that's the 2nd customer in the last 3 months that are soo close) They've recently had a deck built so that they can sit outside and enjoy entertaining friends. However at the moment the rest of the garden isn't much to look at, so we talked through the plants they have, what we can improve and move around, and i'm doing a planting plan for them to give the colour and effect they want at the edge of the decking.
The key project for today was to take down our old greenhouse, to make way for our new one. As I wasn't quite tall enough to help without getting directed (shouted at) We called in help from our friends Dana Leigh and David, So while the guys did the greenhouse, we went and pruned some apple trees at Grace and Flavour - (yes in the rain, and I did moan incessantly, but we didn't stop until we'd finished) We then had a lovely lunch in front of the fire to defrost and dry out.
Monday morning is almost always admin for me. I hate paperwork, so try to get it out of the way early in the week. Invoices, emails, phonecalls updating my website and blog are all monday morning jobs. Then I also found time to visit a couple of local nurseries for bits and pieces needed for clients this week, before pick up and my Son's swimming lesson.
The evening was a meeting for the organic team of Grace and Flavour. - Really for me, this is a chat in the pub about plant varieties. I unwisely took my ipad with me to look up details, and by the time I got home i'd ordered several books - for research obviously
A regular gardening session today, - one of the 5 gardens I go to every month. This town garden has a very sunny side and a very shady side, and this was the first time since November the shady border had been defrosted, so I had a great session cutting back, weeding and pruning everything into shape. This was the garden I keep the ivy trimmed to its junvenile form.
After finishing there, I had to dash across Guildford to take photos of a project that I gave advice for last year, where the hardscaping has now been completed. I took lots of pics so that I can plan the plants and trees for the borders, and the transformation that has taken place is amazing.
Another regular client, and one where i've now developed 4 borders over the last 6 years. There are now plans to move the garden on even further, so a garden designer has been called in to give a big picture of how to change things. I was introduced to her today, and she seemed very nervous to meet me, saying she didn't want to take over, but i'm far too close to this garden, having been in it monthly for the last 6 years to come up with something completly different in a concept design. I'll get the pleasure of moving the current plants around into the new borders that will be created.
Most of the session was made up of weeding, but I pruned roses, moved around some seedlings, and dug up some Asters that were creeping too close to the lawn. These will be potted up and sold at the plant fairs i'm taking part in May.
I also planted up a container with some spring colour, using the fantastic homemade compost that's been brewing at the bottom of the garden.
Luckily there was football on TV this evening, so there were no complaints when I spent the evening doing planting lists
The start of today was totally non garden related, - A coffee morning for School mums, - although it was held at Squires, and gardening did come up in conversation. (so actually can't get away from the garden stuff can I)
I then headed off to my local nursery to pick up an order - and off to my client for planting 2 woodland edge borders with Hellebores and Sarcococcas. Plus 2 trees to add to a border I planted there last spring. The 2nd tree took longer to plant than I thought (serves me right for getting a good deal on a multistemmed birch and upping the spec) but luckily Hubby was working from home, so did the school run.
I got home just in time to gather up all my bits together for this evening's talk. - To the Southern Branch of the National Vegetable Society, about Herbs. It was just down the road in East Horsley Village Hall, so not far to go, and they were a very appreciative audience who also totally destroyed my preconceptions of Vegetable Society members being older gents with caps who grow Vegetables far too big to be edible.
Friday is my gardening club day. I try and get in some exercise after school drop off, - but as i'm walking or swimming, i'm planning at least 3 activities of 10-15 minutes for each of the 3 age groups of children that I take. The first group at lunchtime is the reception children, - who are all very enthusiastic, but not terribly skilled at their hoeing, hole digging and seed sowing. The next group are the year 3's - 7 & 8 yr olds, who are by now worldly wise and think after 2 years they know all about gardening. I then get a break for a sandwich, and have an hour to weed, replant and harvest crops ready to sell to parents before group 3 (yr 1 & 2) after school.
By 4.10pm when i'm finishing clearing up after 3 lots of activites i'm a lot more tired than when i've done a full day of gardening, - or is that just that it's the end of the week?