It is my birthday today, the last one before my 70th and this is very hard to come to terms with. For years I have been fooling myself by saying that I would keep on running the nursery and working in the garden until I dropped…….visions of gracefully falling over in the middle of a flower border and never getting up again was the scenario I imagined. Unfortunately the reality is difficult to come to terms with especially because my brain tends to think that I’m still in my fifties. There is a gradual but noticeable decline in strength and stamina, why does everything take so much longer to do? Bits of my body are beginning to complain about the general overuse. It is a physical job (obviously) which is both good and bad. The plus side is that one is actively getting a work out most days (who needs a gym?) which can be beneficial for mind and body but the downside is that there is a lot of wear and tear on knees, hips and hands and wrists.

Might there be a way to carry on for at least another year? What steps can I take to make my life easier while at the same time carrying on doing the thing which means so much to me? Gardeners are optimists and forward thinking. We plant plants to enhance the garden for next year or the year after or twenty years down the line. Propagating plants is not just to grow to sell to make money but much more to do with the challenge and the pleasure of successes with cuttings and the more tricky divisions of certain plants.

Well meaning friends and customers whose collective ears I have bent during the last year or two have suggested having volunteers to help. Good idea but not for me, I need to get on with whoever is working here because I would expect to have to work with the person because, in turn, their knowledge might not be great. It’s surprising to me that many people can’t distinguish weeds from cultivated plants.

Employing someone would be the answer and I do have the young Sarah but just for five hours a week because there isn’t enough income to pay for more than that. Last year I researched having a trainee from WFAG but it is a bit tricky trying to find 10 hours minimum throughout the year and again I would really have to get on with the worker.

I shall reduce the range of plants I grow to sell although trying to second guess which plants will be flavour of the month would require a clairvoyant. Maybe the garden will be a little less well maintained but quite how I can train myself to overlook weeds and bramble seedlings might not be possible.

I have filled in the registrations forms for next year for the National Garden Scheme so I am committed to that but who knows what will happen beyond that?

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