The joy of gardensitting – very little work and a lot of reward

Ah, the glorious British summer. You could escape the heat with some time off, or you’re a homebody, and you’ve volunteered to look for someone else’s garden. Depending on the garden you’re in, you’re looking after, this could turn into an experience of its own. Gardens of other people can provide many benefits, with novelty being the most prominent among them. When you’re not able to have access to your garden, caring for the garden of a neighbor is like hiring a dog to spend the weekend with, providing you the best aspects (lazing around, eating out al fresco, or taking note of butterflies) without the negatives (mollusk-based issues, tidying sheds, and the fox’s waste). If you have a yard and someone else’s garden is a chance to steal ideas and gain fresh perspectives on your garden. Your beds aren’t performing much in the end.

If you know someone who’s an avid gardener to ask you to maintain the garden, you’ll have a long set of guidelines to follow. If not, here are the essential ones to follow: If it’s been dry, you should water your containers, the vegetable patch, and the roses; Don’t overwater the lawn or beds. Be sure to water the soil, not the leaves, and do it in the morning or evening. Anything carried out late afternoon will dry out before reaching the roots.

If your garden has been planted filled with flowers, Deadheading is essential. It’s depressing to get home and discover that you’ve left all the flowers blooming and gone to seeds. Deadheading isn’t just satisfying but also provides the fruits of a lot to take home and keep your fingers waiting for the sweet peas and dahlias. Cut the flowers with kitchen scissors if you cannot locate the secateurs, and remove anything that’s become crumbly, brown, or crisp to encourage growth. If your guests are expected to visit in the next day or two, cut them up and put their glass on the table in the kitchen.

The process of harvesting fruits and vegetables is certainly within the reach of my co-columnist Claire Ratinon; however, if you and your family grow it, you’ll have plenty to harvest. Courgettes are abundant and will only transform into watery marrows after being left on the vines, and ripe tomatoes must be picked gently, and the legumes and peas can be put in the bowl. You can have a salad to enjoy and keep a few pieces left in the refrigerator for your guests to enjoy.

In the end, however, the benefit of caring for other people’s gardens is from the mutuality inherent in good gardening. Gardening should be shared, not to be kept to us. This is the same principle as giving a share of a prized flower, a bag of seeds of a flower you loved the last time you visited, a portion of a meal, or a glass of chilled wine during a warm evening.

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