Plants are the harbinger of the seasons says Redbourn garden expert
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Lyn Clifford, plant manager at The Hertfordshire Garden Centre in Redbourn on the joy she gets working with plants...
Each day is different, as looking after all the plants at a garden centre is a challenging, diverse job. I usually aim to be in by 7am.
The first job is to walk the site and make a list of jobs. This could be watering sections, standing up and tying-in fallen plants - particularly after the high winds of late - checking for weeds or moving whole stands of plants in readiness for the arrival of new stock.
I can then direct my small team to carry out the tasks. Most of the time I will be out there too, as the best part of the job is working in close contact with all the stock.
Whilst walking the site I will check what areas have sold particularly well and then retire to the office to start ordering new stock.
The nurseries I use will usually send out availability lists - these are like manna from heaven for me! I love looking over what has become available due to the changing seasons.
I will also go over my emails to see if there are customers requiring specific plants. This has become slightly easier this year. The last two years the pandemic made ordering requests difficult. Luckily our customers have been very understanding and will take on board plants I feel make good substitutes.
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There has been a massive increase in people paying more attention to their gardens during lockdown. People were not able to go away so were spending money to create a place to relax outside at home.
Houseplants have also become popular as people enjoy bringing a touch of nature inside. This trend is especially online, adding to the increasing demand.
After placing orders I have a coffee - work would grind to a halt without it! I join my team outside and get on with tasks and take in new deliveries.
Customers start arriving by about 9am. This part of the job is the fun part. A lot of customers are new to gardening and need advice about which plants will be suitable for their space or perhaps they want to branch out and grow vegetables.
The trend at the moment is to grow your own fruit and veg and to make gardens the next best thing to missed holidays - Mediterranean planting with outdoor fire bowls and hot tubs.
The pandemic started this trend but people enjoyed planning and planting their spaces, so it's continued. It’s a great feeling to have helped someone who then returns to show pictures of their endeavours.
I was a latecomer to the industry and studied at Capel Manor. I love plants because they are the harbinger of the seasons, and working in any open space dealing with plants is the most relaxing thing, not to mention the health benefits.
Address: Redding Lane, Redbourn, St Albans AL3 7PS