GARDEN CONSULTATIONS / APPRAISALS

An hour or two with your local Garden Adviser, right there in your own garden, may be just the thing you need to help you decide on a course of action. My advice will be tailored specifically to you and your garden, with its particular climate, soil, plants and views. I will provide a fresh pair of eyes, an unbiased opinion and advice based on a life time of professional gardening and managing garden projects. The aim is to save you time, money and frustration.

Before I visit your garden, I ask that you fill in a questionnaire and send me some photographs.

You may like to prepare by jotting down a list of questions to ask me, and either take notes at our meeting or request a written summary (charged extra, sorry…).

Reasons for consultations tend to be design-related or for specific practical problems, or just to learn about the plants the client has found in their new garden.

General design issues

Perhaps you know that your garden is not working for you, but you are not sure what to do about it. On my visit, I will assess your garden as it is now and find out from you what it is you would like to achieve. Then, together, we’ll look at how you can get ‘from A to B’ in the easiest and most cost-effective way.

If there is work for a contractor, I will help you find the right one. I can also provide you with a list of suitable plants or, if you need more detail, a planting plan drawn to scale. If need be, I will happily source the plants and plant them for you so you can enjoy your garden without having to worry about your back.

Specific issues

I can help you deal with a range of problems commonly encountered by garden owners. For example:

  • if you are new to gardening and don't know where to start, I will help you make sense of it all and - if you wish - will produce a month-by-month action plan for your garden,

  • an overgrown garden in need of a selective clearance – together we will decide what to keep and what to remove,

  • making a garden safe and more interesting for young children,

  • making a garden more attractive to birds, bees and other wildlife,

  • screening an unsightly view beyond your boundary,

  • choosing suitable trees and/or hedgerow plants,

  • improving poor soil or the lawn,

  • shopping for plants and garden sundries,

  • growing your own food,

  • dealing with unwanted plants (i.e. weeds) or animals (moles, caterpillars, cats etc.),

  • choosing landscaping materials,

  • making the garden more attractive to potential buyers.

As you follow the advice given and your garden is taking shape, hopefully, you would find that you are spending more and more time there and your enjoyment is growing with every passing season.

Plant identification

It pays to know the names of your plants so that you can find out more about them online or in books. This may be particularly useful if you have just moved house and would like to make the most of the plants you have inherited.

I will start you off on that journey by identifying all the 'mystery' plants in your garden (including the weeds, if required). You may decide to take notes during the session or to opt for a written report with the plant names, their positions in your garden (so you can identify them later) and information about their care. If any more plants (e.g. spring-flowering bulbs) emerge after my visit, I will ID them for you free of charge from photographs.

 

PRICE

My 2019 rate is £40/hr, with £40 minimum fee per visit. There will be an additional fee for any follow-up work you might need, like a list of suitable plants, a planting plan or a written set of recommendations. This will depend on the amount of work involved.

If your garden is more that 10 miles from my home in Hempstead, Gillingham, I will ask you to contribute to my travelling expenses for the additional distance.

Please, contact me for further information or to make an appointment.

"I asked Eva to help me with a few queries about some of the plants in my garden. She was really helpful. We discussed pruning, lawn care & moving plants around the garden. She also advised me on how to improve the soil. She was a true fount of knowledge, and so nice, too. I would happily recommend her.” Helen A., Chatham

 

GARDENING LESSONS / COACHING

We are not born knowing how to make beautiful gardens: this is a skill to be learnt and practised. A great way to do this is with a Gardening Coach, or Tutor. You will find this service invaluable if you are either a complete gardening novice or would like to improve your existing skills and work smarter, not harder, for better results.

As your coach, I will tailor the lessons to your needs. We’ll start with what you know and stop when you feel confident to carry on on your own (but I will be just a phonecall away if you get stuck).

Beginners usually start with a general introduction to gardening techniques. Improvers may want to focus on specific themes or tasks, perhaps related to a garden project.

Just to give you a better idea of what is on offer, we will look into some, or all, of how to:

  • get to know and overhaul your new garden,

  • choose and buy the most suitable plants for your garden,

  • propagate and grow your own plants,

  • plant up tubs and hanging baskets,

  • carry out winter pruning or summer trimming of shrubs or hedges,

  • improve your soil, make compost and leaf mould,

  • improve your lawns,

  • deal with pernicious weeds,

  • choose and plant a hedge,

  • set up a veg patch and grow your own food.

You may need just a single session, or a whole series of lessons and learn as your garden changes with the seasons. If you choose the latter, you may stop at any time - you will pay for each lesson separately. Don’t worry about tools either - I will bring all the necessary tools for you to try out while you are learning the techniques.

To help you further, after each lesson I will email to you a set of 4-6 questions testing what you’ve learnt on the day and ask that you send your answers back to me. Your practical ‘homework’ will be to finish any jobs that we couldn’t finish together.

As your knowledge and confidence grow, you will soon be on the way to having your perfect garden with the satisfaction of having made it with your own hands!

PRICES 

The 2019 prices for the lessons are as follows:

  • for one learner £30.00 per hour

  • for two learners £36.00 per hour (or £18 each)

  • for three learners £45.00 per hour (or £15 each)

If your garden is more that 10 miles from my home in Hempstead, Gillingham, I will ask you to contribute to my travelling expenses for the additional distance.

Please, contact me for further information or to book your first lesson.

“I found the idea of managing my new large garden quite overwhelming. Eva talked me through how to look after the plants that were already there and showed me how to use a variety of different gardening tools for weeding, pruning and planting in borders. She tested the pH of the soil to help me to choose plants that will thrive in our garden and gave recommendations for what would look good. Eva's advice has been extremely useful to us. Thank you Eva! "  Rebecca M., Rainham

GARDEN DESIGN AND CREATION

Have you decided that your garden needs more than ‘just a lick of paint’ but are a bit concerned about the cost of hiring a professional garden designer, and the landscapers you have contacted don't offer planting design?

My service falls somewhere between that of a professional garden designer and a builder/landscaper. My focus is on the plants and, although happy to produce an outline design for hard features (patio, path, pond etc.), I leave the construction details to your chosen landscaper.

We start with a free initial visit when you tell me about what you want to achieve, and I give you a price for my design work. I measure the garden, take photographs and go home to start putting my ideas on paper.

First of all, if needed, I produce a design for the hard features, so that you can get quotes from landscapers.

Then, I come back with my tools, roll up my sleeves and give your garden 'a good once-over'. This gives me a chance to get to know your garden really well, and we have more opportunities to discuss the project. With all that knowledge, I produce an approximate planting plan - and go shopping for you. The final design comes together at the planting time, when we can both see all the plants 'in the flesh'.  

It may become necessary to delay the planting until the landscaper has finished his part of the project.

Finally, to help you look after your new garden, I will spend an hour or so with you explaining what to do or, alternatively, you can purchase a written maintenance plan. If still unsure, just give me a call or send an email.

If a whole-garden revamp is what you need, please get in touch.

"Eva provided a excellent layout design, recommended and supplied the new plants and lawn extension and carried out all the planting, often whilst giving advice on future maintenance requirements.  I am delighted with the overall result and have no hesitation in recommending her" Barrie D. Gillingham

SPECIALIST GARDENING SERVICES

Garden overhaul

Sometimes life just gets in the way and there is not enough time  in the day to keep up with the garden. Yet, there comes a point when you simply cannot afford to put it off any longer and something has to be done. I will tame your unruly jungle and help you to keep it under control from then on (see gardening lessons and consultations).

Does your garden need sprucing up for a party or house sale? I will make it look its best, filling any gaps with additional plants if necessary.

Please, contact me for a no-obligation visit and a price quote.

Winter and springtime pruning

Winter is the best time for pruning leaf-loosing trees and shrubs, and early spring is best for the evergreens. There is more to pruning than lopping and sawing. Properly done, it leaves your shrubs – quite literally – in better shape, ready for the growing season ahead. Any parts dead or diseased are removed, and branches that don’t conform to the desired shape are removed or shortened. The best result is when the pruned shrub looks like nothing has been done, but it somehow seems smaller and nicer, and there is a pile of branches on the ground…

Although it is a good idea to prune all shrubs correctly, this is particularly important in the case of fruit trees and shrubs such as currants or gooseberries. It helps prevent diseases that may ruin the crop.

I work using my own pruning tools and, if needed, a short ladder. I hold a public liability insurance.

Please, contact me for a no-obligation visit and a price quote.

Holiday ‘garden-sitting’

Rather than worry about your garden while you are away, let me look after it for you. I will follow a plan of action agreed with you. This will normally involve one or two grass cuts, and watering and deadheading all the plants in pots and hanging baskets.

I will not be able to look after your house plants unless you bring them outdoors, into a suitable shady spot in the garden.

Please, contact me for a no-obligation visit and a price quote.

"We asked Eva to renovate the garden of our new home. Over three visits she completely overhauled the garden. She also advised on a new planting scheme and options for future landscaping and maintenance. We were especially impressed by Eva's knowledge, enthusiasm and hard work, and look forward to seeing the garden bloom in years to come." Mr and Mrs C, Rochester

GIFT VOUCHERS

An unusual present for someone with garden-related problems. It can be used to pay for any of my services.

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To purchase a voucher, please contact GARDENITY with your name, postal address and the value required. I will send an invoice to you either through post or in an email. The payment is either by cheque or via PayPal, and I will forward the voucher to you once I have received your payment.

The voucher is valid for six months from the date of purchase and is non-refundable.