Our gardeners find working on a garden can often transform the life of its owner.
Mr J had become increasingly unable to cope with everyday life and his garden had become dangerous and a worry to him. It was also a local eyesore and a housing and an environmental health issue.
When we first visited the garden of the Milton Keynes Council property it was obvious that for many years nothing more than a cursory sweep by a lawn mower had ever been done at the front of the property. And this was obviously infrequent. This gave the impression that the home was neglected and on speaking to Mr J, that was exactly how he felt.
It was a terraced property so we had to go through the house, although when we started work we found the rear access. The curtains were drawn and the back door and rear window could not be opened without a great deal of cutting back of plants, prising and effort. The garden was taking over the property. Virtually no light came into the rooms because of the plant growth. We eventually gained access to the rear ‘garden’ and spent a day, cutting, clearing and tidying. The garden was left completely cleared with safe access to the rear gate and back lane. Mr J said before our work on his property it was like being in prison. That was no longer true.
Mr B had been a keen gardener but now had multiple health problems. His beautifully laid out garden was just untended. He thoroughly enjoyed our visits, working with us to get things looking as they had previously. Our visits became an exchange of ideas about each area of the garden and the plants. He told us that before we came he kept his curtains drawn because he could not face the untidiness. After a couple of visits, he bought a patio set and often enjoyed a cup of tea sitting in the sunshine. And now he sits outside chatting to the gardener as he works. This story could be repeated about other clients, many times.
I met Mr R in summer 2016 and he was one of my first clients. His garden was laid in terraces, so there was no lawn. He had clearly been a keen gardener as I could see numerous tubs and large pots along the terraces - but what I couldn't see was what was in them! Due to chronic arthritis and a long period caring for his wife, who was now in hospital, the garden had not been touched for a couple of years. Weeds and climbers had taken over and the terraces were in a very sorry state. Mr R wanted to see if I could return the garden to something he could enjoy looking out on.
I started by the house, mostly on my hands and knees, and worked my way outwards over the course of the summer. My aim was to reach the back fence! Eventually I made contact with the fence and cleared along it. This prompted Mr R to have a new fence put in, which looked very smart. Around this time his brother, a carpenter, came to stay and put in a decking walkway right outside the sliding doors at the back of the house. This enabled Mr R, who needed a walking frame to get around, to get out into the garden and to his shed on one of the terraces. I found that some of the fruit trees, which Mr R had assumed he had lost, had survived being buried and were still fruiting. And so were some of the vegetables in their cold frames. Mr R’s face when I presented him with his own soft fruit, shallots and potatoes was a joy to behold!
By the time the fruit trees, planters and terraces were finally looking neat and tidy Mr R's wife came home from hospital, but sadly she died at the end of the year. Mr R decided he would move to be nearer his brother on the south coast, so he put the house on the market. It sold very quickly, no doubt due in no small measure to the neat and tidy garden attached to it. I was sad to lose Mr R as a client, but he allowed me to take a lovely camellia in a tub from the garden as a parting gift, which is now thriving outside my house.