As I type this week’s Journal to the sound of Jean Michel Jarre’s ‘Oxygene’, I look back across a week of early starts, work commitments and a large dose of home schooling. Week three is now done, lockdown continues and finally the new weekly pattern settles into a rhythm.
All has been very quiet on the home gardening front, with everything in its place and all ticking over nicely – there’s lots of activity to come but for now, this ultra slow pace is fine. Some grass seed that I sowed over the festive period is just starting to show through, and whilst the gravel-topped spring flower containers move not, the Miscanthus grasses frequently do with each chilly, passing breeze.
Tuesday’s workday came around and passed by quickly, and with its mild temperature gave rise to a very full day spent largely up ladders whilst trimming hedges. I’ll add a video link at the foot of this post which I paused to record whilst working away, but essentially the trimming is a catchup exercise after some of the yew hedges weren’t quite finished last autumn. It’s hard work, believe me, but hugely rewarding.
I love trimming hedges, especially tightly managed ones like yew or box. The activity brings the satisfaction that they’ll hold their perfect form for months to come, and for me, the more artistic their design the better. This does however mean that it’s difficult to walk away from any specimen unless I’m absolutely positive its freshly trimmed form is just right – which means numerous trips to and fro and up and down the ladders to check that all is good – wearing to be sure!
Wednesday evening brought a zoom presentation of a garden design I’ve been working on for a friend. Whilst I’ve been involved in a good few zooms now, it was another matter entirely trying to ‘walk’ someone remotely through a design plan sitting on my drawing board. On reflection I really feel for the designers out there in similar positions who must be working in similar ways to keep their business activities alive.
At this stage, I’m happy with the plan I’ve produced which after much work is firmly etched in my mind as a real, actively growing space full of intrigue and character. After meeting my brief, my design work will now sit for a while for consideration, for editing and developing quite possibly, and may even see creation at some point depending on numerous external factors of course.
Side Note: It’s a lesser known fact that garden designers and architects actually time travel to picture their designed garden as it matures – just like ‘heritage’ gardeners travel time travel to understand, visualise, and ultimately restore historic gardens. What talented and underrated group of people eh!
Thursday brought another homeschool day but I managed to squeeze in a virtual coffee morning with a host of garden managers and similar staff. There was a good deal of chatter that was entertaining and informative, with all of the venues taking part suffering, and I don’t use that word lightly, from the effects of the pandemic. Besides this though, the hour was uplifting and very welcome, offering opportunity to share some time with a positive group of people.
What particularly touched me though was the talk of garden staff jobs being cut through redundancies last year. I know this was inevitable as each business looked to weather the storm, and ultimately to survive, but it must have been particularly hard hitting for anyone involved. Let’s face it, horticulture isn’t the most highly paid career anyway, without the setback of a job loss – especially at a time when alternative employment is thin on the ground. Let’s hope that all involved have found suitable positions elsewhere by now.
I can’t finish this week’s journal without a brief mention of this morning’s snow – a beautiful blanket was forming as I woke, which continued to sweeten the garden scene as it continued. Whilst lovely snowy garden pictures were quick to arrive on my social media, I’m already looking with a dose of cold reality to the week ahead, and I won’t mince my words; it has until Tuesday to disappear – I have gardening to be getting on with!
Until next time then, thanks for dropping by and getting to the end of another Gardening Ways Journal entry. Best wishes, Gary
Link to ‘Today in the Garden – Tuesday 19th Jan’ Warning ⚠️ I actually talk to the camera!