East end freelance gardener

Hackney-based gardener Lucy Conochie runs her own business, Peachy Gardening services. In this post Lucy tells us her story and offers some buds of wisdom for fellow inner-city gardeners.

I started out with a fork, spade and some secateurs offering my gardening services to friends and built up the business from there. I set up in 2006, working on both my art and gardening part-time, and the company has sustained itself.

Most of Lucy’s clients have terrace house gardens

Being based in east London, most clients have terrace house back gardens all of a similar size. My advice to people with a small space is, don’t try and have everything in a small garden. It’s much better to choose a plant that you would like to see repeated then try and have one of everything in your garden. Also, always plant things in odd numbers because odd numbers are organic. Planting in threes and fives is the general rule of thumb.

Choosing the right plants is vital for container gardens

I also work on a large roof terrace garden in Old Street, that’s very different because it’s container gardening. When you’re choosing plants for containers you have to consider different requirements. The main problem is, in the summer, the soil can dry out very quickly because you’re dealing with the restricted depth and width. In winter the plants are susceptible to frost as they don’t have a lot to protect them.

My advice is line containers with insulation before you put the soil in, things like that can make a big difference. Think carefully what you plant, don’t pot very delicate plants that need a constant supply of water if you don’t think you can maintain them.

More of Lucy’s gardening skills at work

I also have a client in Stoke Newington whose garden is teaming with amphibians because it’s near a reservoir – it’s great for wildlife. The garden has a clay type soil, I’ve been trying to convince him to get a compost heap for a while, I think it’s a great way to reuse garden waste and at the end of the year you have five bags of compost that are completely free.

I try to advise all my clients to encourage wildlife when they’re choosing what to plant in their garden. I also choose plants that encourage, for example bees, and seeds for birds in the winter months.

If you are looking for a freelance gardener or want to contact Lucy to find out more information on her services, email her at Peacheygardening[at]gmail.com

By Krystena Petrakas. Photo by Lucy Conochie under a CC licence.

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