Monday, 1 August 2016

Look who’s back!

Yes, it’s old gardener!

Making sense of what has turned into an overgrown jungle.

Paul, new gardener, has been busy doing his own thing.
What with arts and crafts, the odd bit of malaise of one sort or another,
his proclivity for doing himself accidental injury,
and summer visitors, 
he’s cried off many a Tuesday morning, his day for labouring in my garden.

So I took my courage in both hands,
and rang old gardener’s number.
Sure enough, the dreaded dragon, old gardener’s wife answered.
Being a dyed in the wool coward and ever so careful,
I didn’t give her my name, just asked if I could speak to her husband.
(She’d been the main reason for him dumping me.)

He was in, came to the phone and greeted me like a long lost friend.
(Oh dear, watch it, the missus might not like it!)
It’s not that she doesn’t like me personally - at least. I don’t think she does -
but she wanted him to cut back on work. 
As I had stupidly told her how much we like and appreciate him, 
I was the obvious candidate for discarding.
I had the impression at the time that she’s not overly keen on him enjoying what he does.

"Please, could you come and do the edges", I wheedled.
“Nobody does them like you.”
“the garden’s totally overgrown, I need you.
Maybe two or three mornings a months, 
"The other chap can do all the hard work, like composting, and digging, and such.
If you’d come and do the weeding and cut the edges, 
I’d be ever so grateful."

He chuckled. He likes flattery.

I carried on telling him all the jobs he’d not need to do, like cutting hedges,
replanting shrubs, clearing paths, lugging stones and pots, climbing up ladders.

“Just maybe two or maybe three mornings?”

“Alright”, he said, “I can do Thursdays”
we’ll see how it goes.”

After I’d had to screw up my courage and tell myself not to be a pathetic wuss,
and what could she say other than “on your bike, dear”!

It was as easy as that.

I know that he’s secretly nervous about her moods and her sharp tongue.
He’s also bored by inactivity and despite his 71 years he’s an active man, 
who likes to work and takes pride in what he does. So, we’re off. 
He’s already given me two mornings, making a great difference;
also, I’ve enjoyed being out with him.
We’ve got a very easy working relationship and we joke and tease and curse
those damned weeds and getting stung by nettles and entangled with long rose tendrils,
and ripped to shreds by vicious thorns.
It’s all in a morning’s work, and the best thing is that we have tea breaks!
Tea breaks, when, with a little gentle encouragement, I can guide him towards those gardener’s tales again.

I shall keep Paul on too. Between the two of them, I hope to get as much work done in a week as old gardener did by himself, when he still came for eight hours 
and worked like two men.  It’ll cost more, but “there are no pockets in shrouds”, and it makes me happy to restore my garden to its former glory. 
I had lost interest, because I simply can ’t work as hard as I once did and seeing
Enchanter’s Nightshade (in spite of it’s divine name it’s an evil weed with an insidious,
delicate white root system) colonise my precious flower beds makes me helplessly cross.

“Well, it’s not too bad”, says old gardener.
“I thought it’d be worse; sure, you’ve got weeds growing
everywhere, but it’s not too untidy at all."
Happy Days.


  1. hooray! always enjoyed hearing about Gardener.

  2. Glad for your Summer victory!

  3. What a kind man your old/new gardener is ... smiles ... sometimes kind men with sharp tongued wives are the best, hmmm? ... smiles ... Love, cat.

  4. Alleluia!! Things are looking up in your Kingdom!

  5. Oh, what a good outcome. Well played!

  6. Nice to hear that things are looking up. Enjoy the little things...

  7. Wonderful, wonderful news.
    I am so happy for you. And a tad envious as my garden has got away from me. Again.

  8. Super! And you will be so much happier with your garden under control

  9. Great news! I thought Old Gardener was too ill to keep working, must have gotten that wrong (or remembered it wrong). I am sure that, between the two of them, your gardeners are well worth every pound you spend on them.

  10. How lovely to get some order back in at least one part of our universe!

  11. Good men can always be coaxed by flattery and a woman in need. I am sure he likes being needed also, and money at 71 years of age is a powerful incentive.

    I love your line, " There are no pockets in shrouds". I will have to remember to use it when I really want something.

  12. Old Gardener's tales are wonderful when written from your pen (keyboard). How lovely it will be to have your garden whipped and coddled into shape. Probably more whipping than coddling at first. It's startling how quickly weeds can take over. We were gone for 3 weeks and I've been hard at it now for several days.

  13. This post made my day! So happy to know that YOU are happy. There is still some good news in the world! Sometimes we have to look really hard to find it. Today, it caught me by surprise. Your garden---a part of your world---is looking up. Something to really smile about. Thank you for sharing the news.

  14. Yay, so glad you have some great help, someone you enjoy working with. I wish I could find someone like that myself.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  15. Just wonderful news! Makes me so happy to hear that Old Gardener is BACK! :-)

  16. Ah, what wonderful news this is, for him as well as you. Happy gardening!

  17. I used to worry that your juggling of gardeners might not turn out well. This is like a very happy ending although I'm sure it is far from that. Good to see Old Gardener back and you enjoying the garden again.

  18. Hi Friko - isn't that wonderful and we can 'read' the change in tone in your voice and views of life already ... so pleased - just enjoy being out and about and seeing your plants being fully nurtured once again - I do hope he can stay and help out ... may be said dragon will be pleased to have him out of the house?! Just enjoy - cheers Hilary

  19. Dear Friko, it's grand to learn that the Team is back together again! I'll bet that even the flowers are smiling, as they begin to be freed from the evil Enchanter's Nightshade. (Truly, there is some sort of fairy tale plot embedded in your history with the Gardener. One that only you could write! Won't you please give this idea some consideration?)

    I can even begin to imagine the film version. xo

  20. Having just come in from doing battle with my own crop of nightshade and creeping Charlie, I am wishing Old Gardener was helping me this day in my garden. I hope he regaled you with at least one good story while having tea.

  21. Sounds like he is as glad to get away as you are to have him back!! Just made me smile. :)

  22. Oh joy. I envy you. The fellow who helps me with my much smaller yard is so overloaded with work he barely comes anymore. (What happens when you find someone good.) I hope I'm not an old dragon, but I do understand the need to watch your husband's health. Before I feel guilty, however, I will say my husband is 87, not 71.

  23. We have a gardener who is too busy so we reduced down the varieties of plants. We are getting less able to get up and down but the plants continue to grow so we maintain our favorites. Glad you got your gardener back

  24. Friko, great news that Gardener's back. He's doing a grand job and I bet he loves being there.

  25. I am sorry, but your weedy beds are so lovely and my weedy beds are a disaster. I can't afford a gardener, or find one for that matter. We keep out all the refugees and then none of the job-less want anything that requires a physical element or a regular element!!

  26. Happy for you
    now young man that helps me
    has not come in a month.
    Do not like my weeds....

  27. Well done you. Flattery is a powerful tool. I hope you keep the dragon at bay.

  28. A happy reward for working up one's courage!

  29. I want to join the chorus of congratulations!

  30. Congratulations ! If he's sensible he'll buy her a box of chocolates with his first pay ...

  31. Oh, my. I'm so happy for you! I have no doubt that, as your garden gets whipped back into shape, you'll be blooming, too -- just like the flowers.

    I was interested in your nightshade. We have several called nightshade, but they're in an entirely different family. I looked up yours, and just laughed when I saw the map. It sidles right up to Texas, but there must be a "Keep Out" sign at the border.

    I'm having rather a good time learning about plants -- wish I could be there to help pull weeds. I'd let you sit and tell me about them as I pulled up the undesirables!

  32. Hi, Friko!
    I'm glad you have new helper, your old gardener. Of course, you can't do hard job, and you need one who can do it. You love your very nice garden, I remember some interesting plants there as clematis and red-leaved bush.
    Take care and have a nice day!

  33. There's plenty of life in 71! Well, there had better be!

    Glad to hear Gardener has returned and that the job duties will be shared. I love the shroud comment -- I've never heard that before -- I must remember!

  34. So glad this worked out for you!


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.