Saturday, 26 June 2021

Which jobs do professional Gardeners hate doing?

I have a short list... most people expect me to say "digging out bindweed/couch grass/ground elder" but actually, there is some satisfaction in those jobs: to do a proper job, you have to clear out everything in the bed or border, literally lift every plant and clean its roots, then replant everything.

And there is a certain satisfaction in a newly planted bed or border.

But there are some jobs which are just hard work, with not much to show for it - cleaning herringbone block paving is one of the worst, closely followed by planting bulbs - because it's back-breaking work, with nothing to show for it, for months and  months.

 I suppose I should also include The Weeding Of The Patio on this list - another back-breaking job, but at least with this one, you can see the results.

Here's one I did earlier:

There we go - an average, every-day patio, with almost every joint bursting at the seams with weeds.

There are several ways to tackle this sort of problem: my preference is to grit my teeth, and just weed it by hand, using the faithful Daisy Grubber.

You can spray it with weedkiller, but generally speaking, I don't like unnecessary chemicals, and luckily many Clients feel the same way: and besides, you then spend a fortnight looking at the dead brown bits until the Client, in desperation, begs you to pull out all the dead stuff, which is just as much work as it would have been to have weeded it by hand in the first place.

Then there is the Weed Wand: a staggeringly Ecologically unsound piece of kit, being basically a gas-canister powering a long-handled blowtorch. The cost, ecologically, to make those devices, and the gas canisters (which only last a few minutes) is horrendous: and the results may look marvellous at the time, but all they do is scorch the top growth, leaving the roots not only undamaged, but presenting them with a fine mulch of potash, just to encourage them to re-grow.

Which they do.

So, on balance, it's out with the Daisy Grubber, and it's hands-and-knees time: or, in my case, Giraffe-at-the-Watering-Hole time, as I have trouble kneeling for any length of time, owing to an old motorcycle injury (don't ask).

And, a couple of hours later (it was quite a big patio, this is just one part of it), there it is done, and my! doesn't it look better!

In a perfect world, I'd get out the pressure washer and clean up those stone slabs, before replacing the furniture.

But for that day, I just swept up all the debris, and there it was done.

So, definitely on my list of "not my favourite jobs", but at least once it's done, there is an element of satisfaction to it!

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