Sunday, 27 March 2016

Why I do what I do

People pick careers for many reasons; job security, money, interest, challenge, opportunity to make a difference.... I'm a gardener, and I get enormous amounts of happiness from the work I do.

But Ben, you might ask, what about all the cold and wet days, don't they get you down? Cold and wet days are a physical and mental challenge, an endurance test I suppose, but they are an important part of my personal well-being; think about it this way, if every day was hot and sunny you would simply take hot and sunny weather for granted. By enduring the discomfort of cold and wet days you quickly learn to appreciate the warm and sunny days!

The other thing that contributes massively to my happiness is that every day I see something AMAZING! Yes, 99% of the planet don't share my wonder at the natural world but that's their problem, not mine. To see beauty in the buds on a bare stem, to enjoy the high drama of mist rolling in, or maybe just the sound of birds chirping away while you work... these are the things that make life rich.

Take this flower bud; this is Rhododendron sinogrande, one of the large-leaved tree species. It's a magnificent shrub/tree for a special spot in the gardens of the more discerning gardeners, and it takes several years to get to flowering size. Once it starts to flower the trusses appear each year and are eagerly anticipated; even though the flowering season isn't very long the period of excitement and eager anticipation as the buds swell lasts for several weeks before a single flower opens.

This is why I really love what I do! Every garden I visit has something happening, something to anticipate. I get in my van each morning wondering what I'll see during the day that will make life better.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Out with the old, in with the new

After 10 years of abuse, neglect, rain, mud, strong horticultural disinfectants, opening packaging, fires (well, two bonfires specifically) and plant sap I decided it's time my Felco No. 2s enjoyed an honourable retirement! While my new secateurs might be shiny and sharp they lack the character of my old ones...