Beware of nongardeners

Non-gardeners who mistakenly believe that a beautiful garden can be achieved by simply hiring a gardener two hours a fortnight aren't uncommon. It's not their fault. They're not trying to rope you into working fewer hours so they can pay you less. They simply don't understand how time-consuming gardening can be.

I've had situations where I've been the sole gardener responsible for everything, including watering the plants and dead-heading seasonal bedding. Believe me it is simply not possible to keep a garden looking at its best when your clients insist on having lots of high-maintenance planting, and don't have any intention of even watering the grounds during the summer months!

You're heading for certain disaster when you agree to work for such clients if you don't first outline what is and more importantly isn't achievable during your regular visits.

Don't be afraid to say that what's being asked of you is impossible to achieve in the time given. Keeping your diary

Make sure you buy a decent, hard-backed, day-to-a-page diary, as a well-organised diary is vital to your success.

Divide each day that you intend to work into hourly slots. Choose a start time, a break time and a finish time.

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