8. Garden planning, maintenance and management
The garden is a central part of most peoples homes whether owned or rented. On a basic level, it’s a main focus of the each day, we walk through it, we look at it.
GardenWell™ is ‘organic’ in as much as the programmes encourage using no chemical biocides and no artificial fertilizers. While we make as much compost as we can from garden resources, we also bring in animal manures and soils from outside; these are not always to full organic standards.
So we’re as ‘organic’ as we practically can be. The principle is to ‘grow the soil to grow the garden’, and, alongside a rich and bio-diverse soil ecosystem, that results in healthy plants vigorous enough to shrug off most garden diseases. We use physical barriers to deter slug and possums – but if a few get past to eat the gardens, well… that’s life.
Our role as ‘Head Gardener’ is to help people make the best use for themselves of their garden. For some it will be a place constructively to burn off pent-up energies; others may find a sense of purpose in the meticulousness of ‘pricking out’ seedlings or hand-pollinating.
The client decides, some some assistance, what type of garden they want, what they want to do in regards to re-designing and focus for garden work. It is a compromise between that and what our soil and climate will support.
Without pressure, there’s always more to learn, more to experience – there is for us. Often the simple act of getting hands into the earth, getting grimy, sweaty, knowing we’re working toward a tangible, result, can take us out of the repetitious patterns of thought we so easily talk ourselves into.
There’s a range of tasks available, to suit the range of clients; and we provide the know-how to carry out those jobs.
We also look after work safety matters. Physical safety through lack of injury but more importantly emotional and mental safety…aiming for people to feel safe though not nannied.
We hope to keep the gardens we work in attractive places to be in, but thats not always as important as helping ensure that clients feel their work is recognised and appreciated.
Most importantly, the structures of the garden – the work, the organic methods, the seasonal aspects and the rest – are there principally to help it function, a means to an end.
It’s a place where you can weed and talk, or watch the blue wren risk getting closer while you mulch the flower-bed, or lose yourself in the blue of the sky or the hiss of rain or the swish of the wind through the trees in a quiet moment alone; a place to find some recovery.