Gardening Journal – Entry 9

“The rain actually worked in our favour, as by the time we got out there, it had stopped drizzling but the soil was soft enough that the plants came out very easily. I started by removing the edging plants, which were tougher to get out, and then I worked towards the centre. The sub dots were scent marigolds and they came out of the soil really easily. Lastly, we used a border fork to remove the dots: cannas. These were tricker to remove but eventually came out after some teasing…”

Gardening Journal – Entry 8

“Luckily for everyone involved, this machine was newer, lighter and very simple to use. Before our colleague started it up, he said, “Just to let you know, it’s quite fast,” and was immediately dragged about 5m into the bed. Important information: this man is the tallest person I’ve ever met and with legs twice as long as mine. Needless to say, I turned it right down to a modest Gear 1 before taking it for a spin…”

Gardening Journal – Entry 7

“This morning we completed some individual risk assessments to ensure that health and safety measures put in place meet our specific needs. After that, we returned to the lavender beds near the river Thames to cut the lavender back to the crown. Usually, this is not advised and only to be done in our circumstances – when the alternative is losing the plant entirely….”

Gardening Journal – Entry 6

“Initially, I used the harness as it is meant to help take some of the weight off the machine and make it easier to manoeuvre. I did not find this to be the case, as the harness was too big for me and did not fit on my back. Instead, it pushed my head forwards when I was working and made it difficult to looking up a the plants without straining my neck. This is another in several examples of manual handling aids causing more issues. Eventually, I used the machine without the harness and – while this made it a lot tougher on my arms and shoulders – it helped my keep the lines (and my neck) straight…”

Gardening Journal – Entry 5

“I’m starting to feel more confident cutting different species and heights of hedges and if the feeling in my arms right now is anything to go by, I’m going to be JACKED by the end of this apprenticeship…”

Gardening Journal – Entry 4

“When left unpruned, lavender becomes leggy and woody and eventually, very little of the stems bear flowers. Usually, lavender has a lifespan of four to five years. In order to encourage the lavender to produce some new growth and extend its life, we cut back all the diseased, damaged and dead before pruning back to any new growth at the base, keeping any remaining stems to 5-10cm. Hopefully in a few months, we will start to see some fresh, new growth and we can wait a few more years before having to replace the plants… “

Gardening Journal – Entry 3

“The long-arm hedgecutter helps you cut taller plants, such as the Trachelospermum jasmioides we worked on that was climbing a tall structure. You can adjust the angle of the arm to help to reach tight spaces and avoid bending too much. I found it a lot more fiddly to work with that the usual hedgecutters I’ve used in the past. This was largely due to being smacked repeatedly in the face by a dangling carabina I couldn’t reach… “

Gardening Journal – Entry 2

“Just as the sun started bearing down on us, we worked on creating a new cricket pitch, as an end of season booking had been made. This involved marking out an area… again. I can confirm that it was way too hot to be remembering measurements and working out squares and square roots, but nonetheless, we persevered…”

Gardening Journal – Entry 1

“The machine we used to scarify the turf was a much older model of the one I’m used to. Between spewing out black smoke and flames from the exhaust (yes, actual flames) and its clippings collection box falling off at every turn, I felt myself missing our sleek scarifyer back at the depot!..”