How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

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Stravaig
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How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stravaig » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:33 pm

We're currently living overseas but have kept on our house in Kent. We have a lettings agent looking after it. His service includes a contractor who visits once per month in the summer to cut the grass and remove the waste. It costs a small fortune just for that little extra service. Even so, if that's all the maintenance our garden is getting, I'm afraid we'll return to not much more than a wilderness.

We asked the agent if we could have someone who would look after the existing plants and perhaps plant some new ones. He said his contractors don't want to do it. (I'm not surprised, given the amount they're being paid to mow small lawns.) He said he'd also rung around but no one was interested. It's only a small garden at the back of a terraced house. Most of it is grass (not a proper posh lawn) but there are some shrubs in the borders and there was a thriving herb garden in containers on the patio. There's also a large horsechestnut tree which sheds what seems like tons of leaves in the autumn, so that needs to be attended to as well.

I find it a bit hard to believe that no one would do this work for a bit of extra cash. Plus they could help themselves to anything edible in season.

It's the sort of job that might suit an active retired person with an interest in gardening.

Do you think I have unreasonable expectations to be hoping for such a person to take care of our garden?
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stephen » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:42 pm

I might be able to say in the future.
Having retired, I have volunteered to lead the gardening project at the local charity for the homeless, which I am enjoying. It has made me wonder if I might earn some pin money by gardening for others (it would be things other than lawns, I don't want to mow lawns) on one or two days a week.
I might do some research.
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Geoff » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:05 pm

We are miles away so not much help but our local free newsletter always includes adverts for jobbing gardeners / handymen (not sure what the pc term is, I know one at least is female!). Can an old neighbour or relative find you a similar publication for that area?
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Westi » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:26 pm

I'm pretty sure you could find someone. You could try 'Marketplace' on Face Book, or Gumtree, just select your area to see if anyone is advertising. They can scan & e-mail their references to you to check. We have loads of elderly in our area & most seem to have an older person helping them out in their garden. Another thought is can you contact your local allotment to chat to see if they have a notice board for small ads - at least then you will hopefully have someone who can distinguish weeds from cherished plants!
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Colin2016 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:29 pm

Is there a gardening club near you who you could make enquires to?
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Primrose » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:57 pm

Contact your nearest fire station. We had a relative in the fire service and virtually all the staff there had regular odd jobs which they did between shifts and on their days off.
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Stravaig
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stravaig » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:23 pm

Many thanks for all the interesting replies. Most of all I'm reassured that I didn't have unrealistic expectations.

As it happens, we have a very nice neighbour a couple of doors away. I used to see him out of our back window pottering about and cutting the grass in his own garden. I'll probably ask him about it on our holiday there later this month. I'm not sure if he's fit enough for the bending required to plant anything new, but he does have a young fit grandson who might be willing to help him out occasionally.

I'll be sure to report back on any progress.
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Monika » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:03 pm

Does your Kent village not have a community Facebook page? On our village web page, there are regularly requests or offers for gardening, house cleaning etc. It also means that it is seen by somebody local rather than from far away.
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stephen » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:40 pm

The problem with posting stuff on Facebook is you need to be careful not to advertise that the house is empty. People wil read a lot into a post.
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby oldherbaceous » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:52 pm

Evening Stravaig, I would certainly only use someone you know, or is recommended by someone that you can trust.....it would be like giving someone an open cheque book, if not..... this is coming from a full time gardener, who gets to see what some gardeners charge and the little work they do for it.....
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Stravaig
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stravaig » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:51 pm

I know you're right, OH. Thanks. We'll be careful.

There are always people looking to make a fast buck even if they don't know what they're doing. A few weeks before we left, a guy came knocking on the door and offered to "prune the oak tree". Eh?

I didn't realise that trees were "pruned". Cut back or maybe tree surgery if they need it. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Anyway, the big tree that's visible from the road isn't an oak, it's a horsechestnut. Even I know that, and my knowledge of trees could be written on a postage stamp.

That guy didn't get a warm welcome and we sent him away pronto. Anyone who can't tell the difference between a horsechestnut and an oak... it's just so ridiculous, it's almost funny.

Well, we'll have to figure it out somehow, but I'll not be posting on Feckbook or eBay or the likes. It'll have to be done by word-of-mouth and trust or not at all. I'll see what our neighbour might have to suggest.

PS: Monika - it's not in a village. There are towns and cities in Kent. LOL!

PPS: OH - I don't suppose you'd travel to north Kent (not very far from Rochester) occasionally for a day's work?
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oldherbaceous
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby oldherbaceous » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:05 am

A bit too far for me to travel i'm afraid.....and I was fortunate enough to be fully booked within a week of my career change, and all in my village apart from one. So hope you find the right person and I agree your neighbour should be the first one to contact....
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Primrose » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:36 am

Did your village ever have a functioning Neighbourhood Watch scheme? We have one in our village and run a Trustworthy Traders list which covers a wide variety of tradesmen of all kinds recommended by local people. it runs to about 20 pages of recommendations. Sometimes villages run Round & About type local publications with adverts of local traders. It's probably difficult for you trying to organise these types of things from a distance though.

The other alternative might be enquiring at a local secondary school if you have one where perhaps a reliable sixth former might want to earn some weekend cash.
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Stravaig
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Re: How difficult is it to get a gardener for a few hours per week/month?

Postby Stravaig » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:41 pm

Just thought I'd give you an update as you've all been so helpful with advice and ideas. We're pleased to find that the house is well cared for, that was a great relief. But unfortunately the garden is... how do I say this politely? ...a bit of a mess. I reckon two full days to get it neat and tidy and then some ongoing work. Cutting the grass once a month simply isn't enough.

Obviously, I realise that the work has to be paid for - no problems with that. It's just that we have so few contacts in the area. We didn't get much of a chance to settle in before we went overseas at short notice. Anyway, we've invited our friendly neighbour round so with any luck he'll be able to suggest something.

Regarding finding someone via the local publication of "recommended" tradespersons, we used that a few times for various jobs in the house before we left. We had a mixed experience of them - some were excellent but some were truly awful. I'm reluctant to take pot luck again especially when we'll not be here to deal with it.
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