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One of the occupational hazards of being a professional gardener is that you end up having to say goodbye to people you’ve become very fond of, and to gardens you’ve nurtured and got to know well.

That’s happening to me at the moment – my lovely woodland garden (the one with all the rhododendrons – see here and here… and here…. I’ve been there a long time!) is going to go to another owner. The current owner says he’s moving before Christmas, so I have a month or two yet I think, but it’s a funny feeling – rather than making plans on how to bring the garden forward year on year, I’m now just keeping it tidy and ticking over until the next person arrives. Worse – I’ve become really fond of the current owner, who’s a lovely man and very kind and gentle. He’s elderly, so needs somewhere smaller and more manageable, but I shall miss him.

It’s taken me by surprise how much the people who own gardens reflect on the qualities of the gardens themselves. I’ve looked after just one garden for someone I didn’t get on with – and I didn’t like the garden either. This one was a little sterile and overgrown when I first arrived, but over the year I’ve been getting it gradually into shape so it has more movement and life in it now. In just the same way, I’ve taken time to get to know the owner, but gradually he’s become a friend as well as a client.

Gardening really is about people as much as it is about plants…

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