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I'm a Professional Gardener and Plantsmith, working in a number of private gardens in and around Wantage and local villages. I also offer garden teaching, both for complete beginners and for more experienced gardeners, along with a Consultancy service where I spend time with you in your garden, discussing the design, the plants, and how to enhance both. In addition, I give talks to local groups: not just gardening groups, but to anyone interested in hearing about garden design, attracting birds into your garden, or making compost, for example - I can talk about compost until the cows come home! - as well as many other gardening subjects. If you would like me to give a talk to your group, please feel free to e-mail me. The direct address is Enquiries@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk.

I have a daily blog, which I try to update weekly (er hem).

In my spare time I work on the Wilts and Berks Canal, and I have created an interactive map of the Canal, showing all the places of interest.

In my spare time (!) I sell hardy plants and a range of garden accessories, including several types of plant labels, which you can see at plant stalls each year at local villages, usually as part of the Yellow Book Open Gardens scheme. Here is a downloadable Price List, which includes dates and locations of plant stalls. All my plants are propagated in my own garden, here in South Oxfordshire: they are local plants, accustomed to our local climate, and toughened up by my cold, east-facing garden.

Until recently I had a permanent sales bench at Dews Meadow Farm Shop in East Hanney - on the A338 Wantage-Oxford road, in the 30mph section: just turn in by the sign, there is plenty of free parking. I am currently looking for a new place to have my plant nursery, and once I have some land again, I hope to be back there, selling plants once more. In the meantime, feel free to pop into the shop and check out their fabulous locally-made sausages (and the cakes aren’t bad, either!)


Newly installed vegetable garden.

When out gardening, I normally work a four hour morning and then a three hour afternoon: most of my week is filled with my regulars, but I try to keep a little time free for one-off work.

I'm not a contractor, I don't have a team, so I don't usually undertake "makeovers", although over the last couple of years I have installed a number of easy-care vegetable gardens for clients wanting to reduce their food miles, and I suppose that you could call them make-overs.

This one was shoehorned into the end of a very long, thin, garden, where it just about gets enough sun!

 

Established small vegetable garden.

This one is about the smallest so far, measuring just 8' x 4', and set in a decorative shingled garden. As you can see, room for courgettes, carrots, dwarf french beans and a selection of spring onion and lettuce: flanked by raspberry bushes, and a dwarf apple tree, making a well-balanced contribution to "Growing Your Own" without taking up too much space.

Vegetable gardening has become so popular that I have written two books on the subject: the first is about creating a Vegetable Garden within your own garden, the other is about taking on an Allotment for the first time. They are eBooks, published on the Amazon Kindle platform, and are available to download for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. You don't even have to have a Kindle to read them, as Amazon kindly provide a free "app" (or "program" as we grown-ups call them) allowing you to download their eBooks to your own mobile device, or even to your own PC. So there is no excuse!

I tend to get very fond of my clients' gardens (and my clients, of course) and am often involved with redesigning as well as doing the actual work. I prefer to work in fairly large gardens, and yes, I work all the year round, weather permitting. I have excellent local references, which can be supplied on request.

 

Topiary snail made of Lonicera Nitida.
Here's a particular passion of mine: topiary. ("Can you tell what it is yet?") This used to be a fairly neglected small Lonicera nitida bush, and now it's a snail called Brian - well, what else? - and he can be viewed during the biennial Letcombe Bassett Open Gardens day, which takes place on June 9th (Sunday), and if you miss it, you will have to wait until 2015. If you look closely, you can see that he is developing a "baby" at his side, and might have to be renamed Bryony.

He also had a makeover two years ago, when someone pointed out that I'd shaped the shell incorrectly (Thanks, Jim *grinds teeth*) so I had to cut him right back and start the shell again.

 

Smallest garden.
My largest gardens are around 2-3 acres, and this is my smallest garden (right): available for public viewing in East Hanney, outside the Village Hall. Not the British Legion hall, round the corner past the mill towards West Hanney. It's a tiny triangle, which measures maybe 10' per side, and was planted up by a lovely lady called Margaret a few years ago, as the council, having built it, didn't seem to be doing anything with it.

I took it over a couple of years ago, and I have spent this time making a model castle on top of an elephant (you can tell I'm a Londoner, can't you?). Well, that's what it's supposed to be, but so far no-one has correctly identified it, so I may yet convert it into West Hanney church. In 2009 I was thrilled to be presented with an award for this garden from East Hanney Parish Council, having been nominated as an "Unsung Hero" for maintaining this bed. Thank you, East Hanney!

 

Rachel the Gardener up to her knees in a shrubbery.

And finally, here I am up to my knees in a shrubbery, which used to be a very neglected potato patch. The owners wanted it cleared and converted into an easy-care area with interest and colour all year round, with the emphasis on contrasting foliage and "easy-care"!

This is the result two years after planting: the plants were bought locally or supplied by myself, and were on average about a foot tall when new, so you can see that they've filled out very nicely.

Well, that's enough about me: please do have a look at the site, I hope you find it easy to navigate and interesting to read. If you have time to waste, do feel free to take a dive into my blog, which contains How To Do It articles, comments on garden visiting, and general gardening comment. If you wish to contact me about gardening, my phone number is 07867 571682: do please leave a message if I don't answer straight away, as I don't take calls when I'm driving, or when I'm working. Otherwise, do feel free to e-mail me for a more relaxed response, the address is Enquiries@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk.

 


And finally, many thanks to Telestrian for their technical help, including teaching me how to write xhtml 1.0 (strict) which enabled me to build this website.