2017 is my 20th year as a self- employed gardener and with an established customer base I do not need to rely too heavily on advertising. Most of my enquiries are word of mouth and I have become increasingly aware of how many enquirers are looking to cover their garden space with labour saving gravel or similar functioning hard material. A stroll around most housing estates confirms the significant number of characterless often tasteless gravel or hard landscaped gardens where useful space for attractive planting has been converted to dead space.
Before I upset any readers don’t get me wrong gravel is a useful attractive product which I often use myself to compliment and highlight garden features, paths etc. but prefering plants I think it is all too often overused as a simple quick fix solution to simply and cheaply reduce the chore of garden maintenance. During one of my moaning sessions to my wife about this she kindly pointed out that had I been in any other occupation than a gardener perhaps we too would have a gravel garden: Point taken.
I enjoy reading and writing and blog mainly to have an online record of what I do in my garden. A few months ago I applied for and was accepted as a probationary member of the Garden Media Guild. To become a full member I must be able to earn a living from garden media so I have three years to achieve this. No pressure. Being a probationary member I have access to a full member who mentors me in the process to make a living from garden writing. After looking at my blog, my mentor complemented me on my horticultural back ground and obvious gardening knowledge but concluded that my blog lacked a strong focus and that no one was really interested in my garden. I needed to find a niche and provide readers with “news they can use” using my garden as a backdrop.
Had I been younger I may have been a little hurt but I gratefully accepted her critic and over the past couple of months have been looking to focus on a specialisation useful to prospective readers, using my garden as a backdrop.
With my wife Carol’s and my mentor’s welcome observations I have decided to focus my blog on encouraging people with garden space to choose low maintenance green over low maintenance gravel with useful tips and practical planting ideas. I hope to guide people to invest early in our plant heritage, to create a more personalised, enjoyable and satisfying low maintenance gardens which will grow, mature and blossom with them.
Thinking over my conversations with my gravelly customers I do not think they are gardening shy, more overwhelmed with where and how to start their green paradise and make it easy to look after. I hope to point them in the right direction, support and encourage them enough so they too can guide their family to the contentment and other benefits a green garden can bring to family life.