Wanted - Knowledgable gardener in Kent for (paid) advice/consultancy

We moved to the West Malling area recently, to a house with a fairly large garden (just over an acre).

I've had it professionally landscaped and planted and am currently employing a gardeners to maintain it.

I'd love to do it myself but I've never gardened before and so I'm pretty clueless. Is there a keen and knowledgable gardener out there who would be interested in providing a bit of (paid) advice/consultancy?

Eg. when, what and where to plant, when and how to prune, when and how to add compost. What a weed looks like!

Ideally, I'd like to get to a position where I have a calendar of jobs I need to do throughout the year and a clue on how to do them.
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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,551
    If I was in your area, I would do it, but I'm not, so I suggest you get a few good books and have a talk with your gardener. Pruning is important, if it is already planted you are looking at maintenance. Avoid the lollipopped look  caused by so called gardeners running over the outside with electric shears.

     The RHS has some good books.

    Pests and diseases

    for pruning



    For week by week gardening, watch Gardeners World on Friday nights, or click on the


    for a month by month checklist.





    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • rezareza Posts: 10
    Thanks for taking time to recommend those books - I'll order them right away. It would be helpful however to have access to a knowledgable person I can meet and ask for advice.

    Unfortunately, whilst my 'gardeners' are very fast and hardworking, they don't seem to know anything beyond cutting grass and hacking down trees. They've done quite a bit of damage which confirms to me that they know little more about actual 'gardening' than I do!
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,185
    Hi and welcome.
     
    Is it a garden you want to care for yourself long term?
    Will you always employ someone or be looking to let the gardener you have go eventually?
    It just seems that if you want to pay someone for help and you are happy with your gardener at the moment they would be the ideal person?

    If you want to take up gardening then people here will always be happy to answer questions. Learning to garden takes time :)
    Sorry for the questions but it will help others to answer .
    Good Luck

  • rezareza Posts: 10
    I retired at 50 and I'm pretty fit and very keen to do it all myself. I'm happy to read books and post questions for advice but would feel more better if someone could help 'kick-start' my confidence by being here, taking a look and giving me some pointers on-site.

    My current 'gardeners' have been great for maintaining the lawns, building raised beds but don't really seem to know anything about actual 'gardening' so I wouldn't want to  ask them for advice.

    Even if they did know actual 'gardening', I don't think it would be fair to pick their brains only to get rid of them.
  • PicidaePicidae RutlandPosts: 705
    edited 6 March
    6 miles down the road in Hadlow is an agricultural college. They have courses in horticulture which might suit you or maybe you could pin a card on their noticeboard asking for the help of one of their students.

    https://www.hadlow.ac.uk/courses/search?area=Horticulture%20and%20Garden%20Design&mode=FullTime
  • rezareza Posts: 10
    Yes, I know where that is - what a good idea.

    Thanks, I'll do that.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,902
    reza said:


    Unfortunately, whilst my 'gardeners' are very fast and hardworking, they don't seem to know anything beyond cutting grass and hacking down trees. They've done quite a bit of damage which confirms to me that they know little more about actual 'gardening' than I do!
    I volunteer at Capel Manor gardens & one of the senior gardeners there refers to these as the "Mow & Blow brigade" Some of them are more knowledgeable but most are just labour. If you want to get to a position where you know what to do yourself then as well as the books I suggest you look for a local college that runs gardening courses or there are courses you can do on line, or by old fashioned correspondence courses. You could also look for a local gardening club.  You can either do a short starter course or or go for something more formal, finding them run as evening classes or weekend workshops is not always easy to fit into a busy work schedule but well worthwhile.  Some of us on here have done things like the RHS certificate in horticulture but you don't have to go that far if you don't want to. It is worth pointing out that Monty Don is well known for being entirely self taught from books + his own experience. 
    As well as the wider GW website check out 
    www.rhs.org.uk/ ;  westdean.org.uk;  Writtle.ac.uk  or just put gardening course in Kent into web search. 
    AB Still learning

  • NannaBooNannaBoo Posts: 1,028
    As a new gardener myself my advice would be decide what you want. More veg garden than flower garden or more flower than veg or both. Do you intend to have a greenhouse or shed or both decide where you want them and of course what tools you will need. If you intend to grow from seed you will need seed tray, compost a watering can, access to water also a table or potting bench would be nice it makes the jobs easier then of course the seeds read the back of the packet for sowing and harvesting info. 

    Post your questions on here lots of help on this site use the internet to see what plants look like how big they get and wide and wonder round garden centre and open gardens.

    Finally don't buy everything at once just incase you decide gardening is not for you. If you decide it is for you, welcome to the wonderful world of gardening. Enjoy.
  • rezareza Posts: 10
    one of the senior gardeners there refers to these as the "Mow & Blow brigade"

    I think that pretty much sums it up!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,619
    I haven't heard that expression before, but l have seen it in action around here ! Some great suggestions above. I know you want advice "in the flesh", so to speak, but this forum is also a great place for advice  :)
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