A busy summer in Settle and Giggleswick!

Wow – what happened to summer then?

I rather expected my first year as a gardener to be punctuated by spells of inactivity as I built up my customer base, enabling me to get up to date with my own garden. Wrong! The interest, and the business, was created almost from the word go, and we’ve had a very busy summer working in a whole range of gardens, from Stackhouses to Skipton, and from Cowling to Barrowford. The range has been interesting too. We’ve had commissions all the way from a complete garden re-design and re-build, through planting plans and re-laying patios, and from regular one day a week garden maintenance through to a one off tidy up or mowing a lawn every other week through the summer. As variety is the spice of life, then of course I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it all, and would like to say a big “THANKYOU” to all our regular and one off customers. In particular, thanks to PS, MH and JOC, three of my very first, and still current customers, JM for her recommendations, AM for taking a chance on me, and JW for her patience. You all know who you are!

Getting the hang of being a full time and professional gardener has been a lot easier than improving my internet skills. I plan to start including photo’s of what we’ve been up to as soon as I figure out how to download them to my computer, and then upload them to the site!

So, Lay of the Land Garden Care and Design is up and running. We’ve cared for quite a few gardens, and designed one and several bits so far. To further my designing credentials I’ve taken myself back to school (well Craven College actually) and enrolled on a Foundation Degree course in Garden Design.  It’s a profession where it’s perfectly possible, and acceptable, to be qualified through experience alone.  It will be good to fully understand all the theory, and whilst I’ve already had plenty of practice over the years, having a formally recognised qualification can’t hurt. For the same reason I also plan to study for the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) examinations, which I’ll do by correspondence course. However, as an avid book collector and reader, I can tell you my “Plants for Places”, “Propogation Techniques” and “Encyclopedia of British Plants” are already pretty well thumbed, as are my collection of lighter weight, but equally good reading, Garden Expert and Alan Titchmarsh tomes!  I’ve applied for membership of the HTA (Horticultural Trades Association) and been accepted, and for membership of the SGD (Society of Garden Designers).

We’ve acquired premises, “The Old Joiner’s Workshop”, on King’s Mill Lane, Settle, which will be our base, and have an application for change of use in with the Planning Department. We don’t need change of use to operate a gardening business from there, but we do need it if we are to achieve our other ambition of running a “pocket” Garden Centre. This is a facility Settle doesn’t really have, the nearest ones being 8 or 10 miles away, and as we need to stock plants in future for filling up client’s gardens it seemed to make sense to try to retail them directly too. Watch this space. Oh, and if you think a Garden Centre for Settle would be a good idea, you could always lobby the Planners on our behalf and give them your view!!

September 29, 2011 — Andrew Lay

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