Last Friday ended with us seeing a potential new client in the early evening.
It never ceases to amaze us just how work comes from all sorts of different directions, and in this case it sort of originated from our first ever client. About eighteen years ago, we had just bought our current house, and not even made the first months mortgage payment on it when we both had a major disagreement with the management of Compton Acres Gardens, and both resigned on the spot. We returned home a little dumbstruck at our very necessary but risky decision, and sat there wondering what to do. We walked for a few days along Shell Bay, trying to come up with some sort of plan to meet our first mortgage payment, and decided that for the time being we would apply for night work at Tesco. It was a very difficult decision, as this was totally out of two gardeners comfort zones, and on hearing that we had both been accepted (let's face it, not a difficult thing with Tesco), wondered if there was anything else we could do to get back into the gardening world a little more quickly. We decided to make contact with someone who we had been gardening for previously through Compton Acres, and he was delighted to know that we were still available to look after his garden. It was at this point that we decided to decline the new Tesco jobs, and with this one gardening job in hand 'put ourselves out there' so to speak, and gained another six gardens in the immediate vicinity. Our first ever customer, he was a lovely, softly spoken and kind man in Canford Cliffs. A wealthy carpet trader, he congratulated us on our new business venture, and welcomed us on board.
The carpet traders house front and back c1998
It was only a matter of a couple of weeks, when we were approached by a lovely couple to look after their garden. They were friends of the carpet man who lived just over the road, and had heard about us. The lady of the house came over to us as we worked in the back garden of the carpet man, and after we had finished his place, went over to see what was needed. Everything was agreed in a matter of moments, and we had number two garden. This couple are the subject of the post title, and although things for Four Seasons became somewhat hectic at this point, it's these that I am focussing on.
Life was difficult back then when the two very young daughters had school holidays, as they had to come out to work with us all of the time.
The lovely couple's house front and back c1999, front just re-landscaped.
This particular couple offered the use of their indoor swimming pool to the girls, which shows the kind of friendship that had developed between us. They eventually moved to the house that we re-landscaped for them, and for the seventeen years that we knew them were very valued clients, both on a professional and personal basis. But time ticks on, and with age they had to move into an apartment, a rather spectacular one. The re-landscaped house was retained, is now rented out by them, and we still maintain the gardens for the present occupant, but as a spin off from that we were approached by their son, who owns the house with planters that we took on last year (and where the new pots are going). As well as the work here, he asked us if we would be interested in tidying up the garden of one of the houses that he owns, is currently renting out, but is putting on the market and would like it to look presentable until sold.
House for sale back garden (part)
Work is work, and as long as we can do it......we do it, and so on a very rainy day we spent the morning reducing the overgrown lawn, hedges, shrubs etc. Tidied the borders and sprayed all of the hard standing areas for weeds, leaving it much more presentable. The tenants moved out, and we are currently dropping in about once a fortnight to keep things neat and tidy until someone buys the place.
House for sale front garden (part)
We received a phone call from the tenants who had left, telling us how nicely we had made the garden look, and asking whether or not we would be interested in quoting for the maintenance of the new house that they had now purchased and moved into. Only a few hundred yards from one of our regular places recently landscaped, it was too good an opportunity to miss, and so we turned up very tired, and parked on the road just outside.
A typical style of front garden for a house of that type in the area, we were pleasantly optimistic about what we could do for them upon a very casual inspection as we headed down the few steps to the front door.
It can be a short but tense time, waiting to see just what the new people can be like, but we were greeted by the lady of the house really quite wonderfully. Upon entering the house, we were offered tea, coffee or wine, and then shown out to take a seat on the rear balconied terrace that overlooks the rear garden, and the view surprised us somewhat.
Steps to the front door
A lot of similar houses have front gardens such as this, but the rear is usually much smaller and nothing really special. This however was entirely different. The scale isn't really visible in the picture, but the width is half as big again on either side, and flanked on the right by woodland. Beyond the Azalea border at the bottom is an area of similar size to the managed garden, but is mainly Rhododendrons and specimen trees, in an informal woodland setting.
We spent a lovely hour talking over suggestions with her, and inspecting the much needed remedial work to many of the mature trees, before coming away like a couple of excited school children about the whole experience.
We really hope that our quote for this place is ok, and then maybe we can get to go through the garden gate a few more times.
Many gardens have come and gone over the years, and this would be our present number 36 regular contract.
How one job leads to another eh?