A Busy January Revisiting Old Friends

With a whimper and a bang – January is at an end!

Messy veg patch

Oh dear, look what happened, a whole month has passed and I’ve neglected to write on this blog even once!

In truth, I’ve been far too busy, which is surprising given the time of the year.

Winter is usually a quieter time of year for the business. With Christmas now a distant memory, the older clients in my books are less interested in keeping their front gardens in good order, so I would usually have more time on my hands for my own projects. However, it would appear that the older generations of Leeds have simultaneously taken on a raft of ‘get fit’ resolutions, leading them to demand my services much more than usual.

The first surprise of the year was receiving a call from one of my very first clients. Mavis was 65-years old when I first met her, 10 years ago. Even at the age she is now, she’s still making plans for the future and her garden is one of those. We’d met during the Christmas season, at an RHS Dinner & Dance and she’d admitted to me what a ‘frightful show’ her front garden had become. I told her that these things happen and I’d be happy to sort it out. Was there a reason why this, usually active, older lady had let her garden fall to pieces? I asked and the answer was rather adorable.

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At the age of 74, Mavis had found love…again.

She’d been twice married, twice widowed and had not expected to meet anyone in the 10 years or so that she had left.

Against the odds, however, she had bumped into a refined gentleman of 76 at a stately garden. They both shared an affinity for staunch independence in old age (they had each driven over an hour to get there) and a passion for the beauty and peace of a well ordered garden.

I can only assume that when you get to a certain age, you feel like you must make the most of every day that you have left. Mavis and David have spent 4 out of 7 days in each other’s company for the last year. They are refraining from moving in together; both value their independence too highly, but they are still revelling in each other’s company, discovering that they suddenly have a new lease of life.

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With so much of her time already taken up with socialising, Mavis found that her garden started to grow wildly out of control once more. When I arrived halfway through January to take a look, I barely recognised it. The hanging baskets had overgrown and begun linking together, somehow feeding off each other in a symbiotic fashion. Meanwhile, the small vegetable patch that I had carefully maintained for her for a number of years was a hopeless scrub land of rotting fruits and germinating roots.

When I arrived she was just being escorted out of the house by her new beau. She had an apologetic look on her face, as if she wanted to stay and chat for a little while longer but was just too busy. I told her it was OK and got on with the work, sighing at the sorry state of her once immaculate garden.

As I tilled the hard ground and cleared the dead vegetation I remember thinking that was the first time I’d ever seen a septuagenarian glowing.

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