3 days in the life of 2 gardeners in a pandemic


Weirdly, the day was much the same as any other Spring gardening day from previous years except that now I am working with my stylist/hairdresser… (more about that remarkable story another time).

We no longer have our breaks together and tend to work a good few metres away from each other, but the pattern of the day is much the same. There are certainly discussions about what we will and will not listen to on the radio and the topics of our conversation often relate back to coping strategies of our own, our friends and families. On the whole the tone ranges from up beat, funny to considerate and caring.

In a time of frenetic growth and change in the garden, we are just about keeping up with jobs to be done along with taking enough time to get involved with the task in hand and finding peace in the meditative nature of the work.

We began the day in the woods, collecting hazel sticks.

N began making support structures for Dahlias, Achillea, Peonies and Sanguisorba, all of which would end up falling over in a strong wind or heavy rain storm, never to look as good again for the rest of the year, unless they had supports. We need to make the supports now as it involves pushing the sticks into the damp earth. If we wait until they are actually needed, the ground is too hard to push them in the ground.

I took on the watering (see previous post). On my journey around the garden I checked on the ducks nesting in the courtyard. One in a corner behind the box ball, another beneath the rosemary shrub.

So difficult to see in the photos but the mother ducks have preened out their soft downy feathers to line the nest. If I was going to be hatched anywhere, I would certainly choose one of those places.

After watering the courtyard pots and all the many previously named watering hotspots in the garden, I return to find N cracking on with the plant supports.. N is an artist along with his many skills, so it didn’t surprise me to find there was a sculptural element to his structures

If it doesn’t make sense in this view it is because these are dahlias still covered with a leaf mulch to protect them from winter frosts. As soon as May comes we can whip away the mulch and keep their supports

Meanwhile, I am weeding and edging. and N turns to separating, dividing and delineating the perennials.

DAY 2, Same gardeners, different garden

Different garden and on with the masks and gloves…. It’s safer.

N had a day of serious digging. Initially our remit was to grow a greater variety of flowers but now we have decided to grow as much food as possible. Clear the beds! I escaped the digging for a while to prick out the tomato seedlings that were climbing out of the tray

We can’t help but enjoy our surroundings whilst catching up with the watering

DAY 3 Different garden, different gardeners

The summer wedding here has sadly been postponed so we are putting this year down to a trial run. Nevertheless the spring borders are looking fabulous and are a treat for the increased number of family members now holed up in this quiet country location.

Today the last of the roses were pruned, more seeds were sown in the greenhouse and much of the day was spent weeding and watering of course.

So, many similar tasks in all the gardens but the variety of aims for each garden, the style and scale, the changing work colleagues and the assortment of clients all make this job one of the best I have ever had. I feel very lucky that in spite of this terrible pandemic, we are still able to work and put it to the back of our minds, for a moment at least.

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