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…and in with the new. Having lost my lovely woodland garden in the hills, I’ve been able to say “yes” to a new client, someone who’s been very patiently waiting for me for nearly a year now. So I have a new garden to look after – always exciting as you come across something you haven’t dealt with before every time.

I’m starting for her regularly in the New Year, but I went in for a half-day clear-up the other day just to get a feel for the garden. My new charges this time include an unbelievable climbing rose, at least 20 years old and with a trunk the thickness of a small elephant’s leg. They’ve had a problem with it as it was tied a bit haphazardly to the front of the house and blew off in the wind, so is now rather butchered to keep it within bounds. Time to get out my drill and vine eyes, and do a lot of persuading that this time it will work (honest, guv…)

The other large and very old shrub I’m looking forward to caring for is a Japanese quince – I’ll try to take a photo of it and post it in spring, as it’s the biggest Japanese quince I’ve ever seen, too.

I spent a while thinning it out as there was an enormous amount of dead wood in the middle – these are quite untidy shrubs when they’re just left to grow, so they’re usually trained to a wall, but in this case I can see why the client didn’t want to as it’s clearly going to be absolutely spectacular in flower. It had spread quite widely out from where it was meant to be so the clump needed reducing a bit. Hopefully though I haven’t done too thorough a job, and it’ll still be able to wow us all next year.