Well my dear friends gardening under lock down is extremely challenging. You wouldn’t think so, but even running a business like this I have had to find ways of adapting.
Christmas 2019, I was preparing to have operation in January giving me plenty of time to recoup in readiness for the end of February to re-start by gardening business. By then, I hadn’t worked for three and a half months due to the wettest winter in England followed by my operation.
I remember the evening we were all told by the Government to Stay at home, Save lives, Save the NHS.
Where do you begin when you are told this and run a business that you earn all your income from? It was the beginning of a new gardening growth season when I should be caring for my client’s gardens and looking for prospective new gardening projects and clients.
We were told we must stay in our homes – what the devil was I going to do – how was I going to survive?
I found myself either shut in my shed or sitting in my van for two weeks and going to bed hoping and praying that this was a dream but unfortunately reality set in. I am used to being out all day and I was finding it very difficult being at home.
I realized gardeners were permitted to work so I made the difficult decision to return to work – if my customers still wanted me to? Some did, some understandably didn’t.
I am having to communicate differently, to minimize risk to my clients and myself. Instructions are via phone call, text, email, Skype, Facetime or Zoom rather than face to face.
My clients are asked to say indoors whilst I visit, I do miss having a chat with my regulars. I am wearing gloves, disinfecting tools and asking clients to leave gates and waste bins open, we must look after each other.
I am still able to source plants, but this does take a little longer. I have tried to support the nurseries I have been dealing with for the last 20 years, lockdown has had a big impact on the horticultural industry, they offer a click and collect service to minimize contact.
Getting rid of garden waste has been difficult and I am trying to encourage clients to use my shredder for shrubs and small tree branches, this can then be used as mulch on the garden.
Understandably, people are spending more time in their garden, the sale of seeds and compost have gone through the roof and people are wanting to learn more about gardening. If you are unsure what to do there is a wealth of information out there and I can provide Zoom or Skype consultations to talk you through any aspect of gardening.
I am truly grateful that I have been able to continue to work as I know that has not been the case for many other businesses.
A number of my clients are taking more photographs of their gardens and using them for inspiration for drawing etc. I have seen so much wildlife but I am always too busy gardening to take a photo! The blossom this year has looked so vibrant and the air feels so much purer, despite the difficulties, it has been a wonderful period for slowing down and appreciating the plants and the good things in your life.