Dirt Therapy

BY PAUL THOMPSON | NZ Gardner Magazine
(Paraphrase)
Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vegetable gardens aren't the only growing international trend: If you want to be truly up with the play, you have to hire your own garden coach. Google "garden coach" and you'll find gardening gurus from Edinburgh to Ontario all offering to teach you how to co-exist peacefully with your plot.

Their services can include running a diagnostic eye over your backyard, brainstorming sessions on design or plant selection, a spot of magazine browsing or a guided tour of your local garden centre.

You'll be advised on where to find those unique items to add a personal touch to your garden. There's hands-on training in potting, planting, mulching, watering, dividing and deadheading. Best of all, because you're paying for it you can do as little or as much as you want. A garden coach gives you the confidence to say: "I can do it!" What's most surprising about this rapidly filling gap in the self help market is that it has taken us so long to realise we need coaching.

Who would have thought that, for the price of a designer haircut, you could be greeted at the nursery by a headband wearing, track-suited cross between Trinny and Susannah and Prof Walker. Thankfully local garden coaches like Lester Brice don't expect you to strip off and expose your wobbly bits to the world. Lester has been coaching Kiwi gardeners for twelve years. When we spoke to him, he was "in a garden in Remmers watching my client fall into the gardenias".

Lester is a landscaper who used to work in a garden centre. He says he realised that customers would turn up, ask for assistance, then take home plants that they had no idea what to do with. "There is a big knowledge gap between buying and planting," he admits - and who better to bridge that gap than your own personal plant shopper. "My aim is to offer empowerment and enthusiasm to people who have become disillusioned with their gardens," he says. Hire a garden coach and before long, you'll have the inside dirt on what's 'in' and 'out'. Dowdy shrubs will be quaking as the taste police start patrolling the ranks. But it would be handy to have someone drop by with some friendly advice from time to time. I'd like to know, for example, how to covertly remove my neighbour's shrubs from our sea view...



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