New Year, New Challenges

Sound the trumpets, send for the messenger, release the homing pigeons. It’s official – I’m self-employed! Film editor/director, garden presenter, gardener.. and tea maker.

This week, I’ve worn out the soles of my boots going door-to-door, posting garden flyers in letterboxes, all in the hope that someone will require my gardening services. Peeking into other people’s gardens has given me the chance to look for ideas, and think about how I might be able to make their green spaces sparkle.

Then early yesterday morning, I packed a knapsack, and headed for the bright lights of old London Town. On behalf of Suttons Seeds, I was guest presenting on Michael Perry’s Garden World on QVC, talking about the Charlotte Russe Mulberry Standard and Grafted Turbo Veg. I’m thrilled this has become a regular gig for me, as I get to talk about the thing I love most – plants. As always, it’s great to spend time with the talented Michael Perry, someone who has supported Agents of Field since the very beginning.

Back at home, I’ve been beavering away, converting one of our rooms into my edit suite/office. Whilst I may have given up my London career as an editor/director, I’m still putting myself out there, freelancing. From garden shows to interviews, to my previous television promo work.. I’m up for hire!

Meanwhile, out in the garden, things are looking bare. After removing over a dozen half-dead conifers, and giving all the remaining trees a good prune, the template is set. The conifer logs will season for a year, and then we’ll use them in the woodburner. Also, when time permits, I’ll build a log store from the panels of the old garden shed I took down last November.

There has been some hard landscaping as well. Bases have been laid in anticipation of the arrival of both my new Vitavia greenhouse and spanking new garden shed. Already, I can visualise what the final kitchen garden will look like, and I can’t wait. But I’m all too aware that the growing season, despite the recent frost, is slowly starting to stir from its winter slumber. Time is short, so I need to build my raised beds, and get them filled within the next few weeks. Day in, day out, I’ve been out in the garden with my tape measure taking measurements, changing my mind and starting over again. Finally, I think I may have my blueprint.

But there have been some unforeseen garden expenses. With the conifers gone, I realised just how much the rear garden fences and posts had rotted, so I made the decision to replace them all. The section sits behind the ‘soon to be’ kitchen garden, and will be partially obscured by the new greenhouse and shed. Nevertheless, I’m not a fan of your average garden fence, so I’m currently looking at evergreen shrubs to cover them. At the moment, I’m swaying between cherry and Portuguese laurel. I know laurel can be a swine to keep in check, but I think I can handle its pruning demands, what do you reckon? All shrub suggestions welcome!

As always, I’ve sown my chilli, pepper and aubergine seeds already as they can take a while to get going, so giving them as a long run as possible is always a good idea. Also, this ‘January sowing’ was something introduced to me by my beloved Dad. So, now he’s gone, the tradition seems more significant than ever. Although a bittersweet experience this year, I know if I hadn’t have done it, Dad would have come back and haunted me, rattling his fork and trowel in the dead of night… Haha, the sod!

So three weeks into the new year, and I’m spinning more plates than I know what to do with. But the spinning is good for the soul, and it’s slowly putting the smile back on my face… Oh, and did I mention we’ve also got a house to renovate?







12 thoughts on “New Year, New Challenges

      1. I no longer do my radio Garden Report. I was too honest for the sponsors who have ‘stuff’ to sell. My weekly garden column is in the decline just because printed newspapers are passe. I wrote for the subsidiaries of the San Jose Mercury News (which are localized newspapers for the towns around San Jose and some of the districts within San Jose) for half a year less than twenty years before the column was finally dropped. I still write for a few small localized newspapers that will take it, as well as for the Santa Maria Times and the Canyon News of Beverly Hills (which is in the Los Angeles region). Growing is not a problem. Finding a discriminating audience who appreciates gardening article that are written by an actual horticulturist is the problem.


  1. Best wishes on all your endeavours, Ade. It must be a wee bit scary to be starting a new life in a new place, and a new freelance career, plus setting up new work space, but also, it must be so thrilling.


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