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How do I find a gardener?

My problem is that for the past 2 years I have been unable to care for my little south London garden due to increansing disability and then a heart attack. I have followed up ads in various trade advertisement cards that come through the door. I have followed up on adverts and recommendations on my local "Nextdoor" site. I have had people coming round to look and then not hearing from them until November when it is a bit late for a Spring clear up. I have twice had people round who have cut the grass with their huge mowers and then refuse to do anything else because it is too "specialised" and then have the cheek to charge me £80.00. I once had someone contact me to ask exactly what tools I have in my garden shed. I am old; not stupid.

How do I find a gardener who will do simple weeding and pruning. This year the grass is not being cut anyway. I am looking out for my own safety as well as the care of my garden.

Is £30 an hour enough? And if someone wants to do my garden for their own therapy after this awful global event I can give the money to charity, e g Cancer uk. 

I need a safe way to find a gardener. Any ideas will be welcome.
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  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,648
    edited 3 June
    Even for London, £30 an hour is at the top end of reasonable.

    My advice would be to do all the things you have no doubt already done: nextdoor.com, local Facebook groups, newsagent’s window, advertising board in local garden centres, neighbours’ recommendations.

    As none of that has worked, I think you might need to be more lateral in your approach. Is there a local sixth form college or private school that has a community outreach programme? Perhaps they could help (and it would be free). In a similar vein, approaching scouts or guides groups is another possibility though, these days, one has to be so mindful of child protection policies. Better, therefore, to approach churches to see if members of their congregation could offer a charitable hand.

    I have also been reading recently of the garden equivalent of AirBnB. I can’t remember the name but Google will know. If you have a plot of land to offer, you allow someone to tend it in return for a small rent. Your ‘rental’ could be mowing the lawn or whatever and they would get a patch to cultivate. In the past allotments met this need but, in many cities, waiting lists for allotments can be years long.

    I hope you get sorted. Please report back if you have success.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 325
    I agree with @BenCotto - as local as possible and using community based organisations. It may take a bit of time on your part but it's the way to go if your neighbours cannot recommend anyone trustworthy and able
     People without a patch of their own are often only too willing to swap hours of work for either the satisfaction or the chance to grow something to eat which they will share with you.
    Maybe @Fire could help with suggestions and advice - she is in London too ( not sure where exactly ) but may have some ideas.
    As Ben says, do let us know what transpires.  Best of luck :)
  • IlikeplantsIlikeplants W Mids Posts: 431
    I think if you are looking for a gardener to tend your garden be very specific like a job description.
    size of garden, by hour or job, pruning shrubs, hedges, planting, watering, grass cutting, if they can bring their tools. 

    I would go with university job maybe if they are green fingered and have some experience. If you want to pay more for experience from a professional then the local Facebook recommendations are usually helpful or the local garden centre advert?
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 9,385
    Erica68  I'm really sorry to hear about all the rip off merchants you've met, esp with your facing disability. It makes me fume.

    @LG @B3 are in south London. Do you know anyone / college that might be interested - reliable, trustworthy?
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 5,112
    It's one thing to get hold of somebody to cut the grass and another altogether to get a proper, knowledgeable gardener to go through the garden to clear out all the weeds and thug plants.
    When we had our garden remodelled a few years ago, the main guy knew his stuff but all too often left his helper (unfortunately his son) to do a lot of work unsupervised.  The son actually stood on an acer, which had taken about 20 years to form a beautiful crown, and broke the main stem.  He tried to hide the damage by propping it up, and then claimed it will grow back quickly!
  • IlikeplantsIlikeplants W Mids Posts: 431
    University job should be a lot cheaper than what you’re suggesting and might help them out too I meant. You could approach the student union or student services department there as it’s likely there might be gardening or charity clubs too. Good luck.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 9,385
    KT53 said:
    The son actually stood on an acer, which had taken about 20 years to form a beautiful crown, and broke the main stem.  He tried to hide the damage by propping it up, and then claimed it will grow back quickly!

    :s

  • Erica68Erica68 Posts: 58
    Thank you all for your comments. I am going to try the colleges in SW London who run courses in horticulture. Maybe a student could use it for a project and get paid for it!!
  • gjautosgjautos BuckinghamshirePosts: 233
    Have you thought of contacting age concern? Or another similar charity. They often have lists of trusted workers. 
  • Erica68Erica68 Posts: 58
    Age Concern vary from area to area. Wandsworth branch seem to put anyone on their lists who asks to be put there and some of them are scammers. The officials just say they are not responsible.

    Wandsworth Age UK did have a scheme to match up volunteers and the elderly. The old person had to pay £15.00 an hour to raise funds for Wandsworth Age UK to provide the voluntary worker. You had to have one hour a month or two. I was told no one would volunteer for me as my house is on a council estate. I had a carer from a private agency whose parents had a lovely volunteer even tho they live in a council flat. At Christmas they gave the volunteer a Boots voucher and the volunteer was so pleased she showed the people in the office of Age UK Wandsworth. She was then told she must cash in the voucher and give the money to Age UK Wandsworth.

    Age UK Wandsworth are supported by the local council and the local health authority. A few years ago the top manager was on £60,000. Heaven knows what that person is on now. They are not all money grubbing but I prefer to keep clear of them as far as possible. It is unfortunate that the charities do not overlap each other so there is no choice which I think is wrong and that is why Age UK Wandsworth are sometimes so awful.
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