A new concept in gardening is about to blossom in the Harrogate area, with the launch of a unique garden coaching business.
The Gardener’s Friend offers bespoke one-to-one coaching for customers in their own gardens, with personal hands-on tuition in tasks such as planning, planting and pruning. The tuition is supported by a unique, modular course covering the core elements of horticulture and garden design.
Esther Wolff, the face behind the business, is a qualified and experienced gardener with diplomas in horticulture and garden design, which she studied at RHS Harlow Carr. Esther came up with the idea of garden coaching after being told repeatedly by friends and customers that they wished they knew how to garden.
So many people were telling me they’d love to know how to make their gardens look better. It made me think – let me show you how!
I offer two-hour sessions where I spend some time talking through the principles of horticulture, so that the customer understands the reasons for doing things a certain way. Then we get our boots on and our hands dirty – I garden alongside the customer to show them how it’s done in practice.
I’ve written a simple, modular course covering different aspects of horticulture and garden design – so if we do a session on how to propagate plants, for example, there will be a handout on that to help customers remember what we’ve covered.
The number of sessions a customer books is up to them, though Esther recommends regular sessions over the course of a year in order to cover all the different seasonal jobs there are in a garden – as well as to start to get to grips with the fundamentals of horticulture and garden design, which is a huge topic.
Esther believes that her concept of garden coaching is meeting a need not filled by the existing choice of gardening courses.
There are plenty of workshops and courses out there for people wanting to learn, but the problem is that they usually only cover a single aspect of horticulture, like pruning. What’s more, they’re not bespoke, so you still have to work out what applies to your garden when you get home – and there’s no one to double check things with!
My first customers only had a small garden, but they really wanted to get some colour and flowers into it. They were feeling at a loss as to how to do this and where to start. I worked with them to choose bulbs for spring colour and we planted them together in pots and in the beds. When we finished, they told me that they were really excited about seeing the bulbs come up in the spring, and that the experience had really cheered them up!
The concept is already proving so popular that Esther’s had requests for help before the business has even launched.
Esther is driven to make the business succeed by her conviction that we all need gardening in our lives – it’s well known that gardening benefits both our physical and mental health.
I truly believe we’re all gardeners at heart, even if we haven’t learnt to garden yet! At The Gardener’s Friend, the customer is the gardener – I’m just offering a friendly helping hand to get them started.