- Why should I choose a qualified gardener?
Choosing a gardener is probably the most important decision you will make in your garden. Beautiful gardens are no accident of nature – a precise combination of technical knowledge and creative input is required to create that special magic found only in a stunning garden.
Each garden is physically different – soil, wind exposure, amount of water and sunlight all play a role in determining what will and won’t thrive in your garden. On the other hand, gardens have to look good too – this requires a thorough knowledge of which at shapes, colours, textures and sizes work together to create a harmonious garden that pleases both the eye and the soul.
A qualified gardener brings you both elements: technical know-how to ensure your garden is bursting with healthy plants, coupled with a sound grasp of garden design principles to ensure the garden puts a smile on your face each time you look out of the window.
Time and again we get calls from frustrated clients whose current ‘gardeners’ are nice chaps with leaf blowers and hedge trimmers, but who lack the knowledge to diagnose and treat thrip on your viburnum, black spot on your roses, or select the right plants for a dry shady spot in your garden. At TW1 Gardening we understand that a qualified gardener is an essential part of your household team and will work with you to understand your aspirations for your garden – and help you to realise them.
Your garden is in safe hands with a qualified gardener – anything less is just a hit-and-miss exercise in keeping your garden ‘tidy’.
- What are the recognised qualifications in horticulture?
At TW1 Gardening, everyone in the horticultural team holds a minimum Level 2 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. Some team members hold the Diploma while others are studying for Level 3. Read more about the garden team at TW1 Gardening.
- How often do I need a gardener?
This depends on the size and complexity of your garden, your budget and your personal preference. As a general rule, larger gardens require more input. TW1 Gardening will meet you in your garden and discuss with you exactly what maintenance your garden needs. This could mean monthly, fortnightly or weekly visits. Very small courtyard gardens may only need maintaining once every few months. The important thing is continuity and a proper garden maintenance plan that takes account of the season and the specific needs of the individual plants in your garden.
- How long does each visit take?
Again this depends on the size and complexity of your garden, the time of the year, and how keen a gardener you are yourself. Some clients are happy with fortnightly or monthly visits as they love to potter around in between and take on some tasks themselves. Other households lack the time and/or the knowledge to give much input and require us to maintain their garden fortnightly or even weekly if it is very large or undergoing a period of change in planting and / or design. Our minimum visit is 4 person hours, carried out by a team of 2 gardeners doing 2 hours maintenance each (or, occasionally, 1 person doing 4 hours work). The total cost for the visit described above would be based on 4 hours.
- Do you work all year round?
Beautiful gardens need care 12 months of the year. However we scale back sessions in January if the ground is very waterlogged or frozen. The time freed up is put to good use by planning ahead for any garden changes or improvements in the coming year. We start working in gardens again as soon as the days get a bit longer in February; for example this is when roses show signs of life and need skilled pruning, feeding and mulching.
- What type of gardens do you look after?
Gardens in the Twickenham area are hugely varied. We look after:
- small courtyards in Twickenham Green
- large family gardens at detached and semi-detached homes in Strawberry Hill and East Sheen
- riverside properties in Richmond
- a community centre in East Twickenham. Each garden has a unique combination of physical factors plus specific plants. We have all the tools, equipment and technical know-how to ensure each garden is maintained to very high standards, bringing a personal touch to each unique outdoor space.
- How many gardeners will be needed for my garden?
Depending on the size and complexity of your garden, at any one time you may have one or two gardeners taking care of your garden. More team members are brought in for larger replanting or redesign work. Tree planting is always a 2-person job.
- Do you provide your own tools?
Yes – our full tool list can be seen here. All our clients have their own lawn mower as most lawns will need extra mowing in the peak growth months of April to July, outside of our regular maintenance visits.
- What’s the best time of year to start gardening?
Gardens are growing all year round, albeit at a much quieter pace in January. The growing season kicks off in earnest in February, when all plants respond to lengthening days. This is the time to get out and start weeding, pruning and feeding roses, cutting back any herbaceous plants that were not cut back in late autumn, and mulching. Spirea, Ceratostigma and Hydrangea all need pruning and feeding in early spring. The only time of year to really avoid walking on the soil or lawn is in January, when the ground is waterlogged or frozen.
- What’s the right time to start lawn work?
Lawn treatment starts in early April and is slightly dependent on the weather. Grass starts to grow at 9C so during an average spring, we start lawn ‘weed and feed’ programmes in April, followed by scarification and aeration, then seeding of patches. The same programme is repeated again in the autumn. This double programme (spring and autumn) is absolutely essential to create a healthy weed- and moss-free lawn. There are no shortcuts to a lush green lawn – at TW1 Gardening we take pride in having turned around large lawns in very poor shape. We can also help to re-turf lawns following building work.
- I prefer to mow the lawn myself – does that fit with your service?
Yes – all our clients have their own lawn mower. We offer you 2 lawn options. You can keep control of the mowing yourself – some keen gardeners really enjoy this task as a way of ‘keeping in touch’ with their garden. Or we can mow during our regular maintenance visits and you can do the additional mowing that is needed in the peak growth months of April to July.
- My garden is really overgrown – can you help?
Yes we can help if you are looking to have a regular gardener after we help with clearing out the overgrown parts of your garden.
- I need to buy new plants but don’t know what’s right for my garden – can you help?
We offer plant advice for tricky spots such as dry shade or boggy areas. Or perhaps you are looking to replace a specimen plant that has died. We can either give you a list of plant suggestions if you are happy to source the plants yourself, or we can source the plants from reputable plant nurseries at the right time of year. We use a range of specialist plant nurseries and garden centres to make sure we can find the best plants for your garden.
- Do you mark up the cost of plants, mulch, etc.?
The cost of plants and materials that TW1 Gardening buys for you is the same as when you go shopping yourself – we pass on any multi-buy discounts. We do make a charge for the time taken to select and source plants and materials, and bringing them to your garden if needed.
- I have several large pots with specimen plants – do you look after these too?
Container plants require specific care and maintenance and we have the skills to take care of large specimens such as Acer, Hydrangea, Magnolia and Hamamelis to name just a few.
- Do you get involved with tree work?
Tree work is often needed as part of an overall garden plan. TW1 Gardening has the equipment to undertake work on small trees. For large trees we can put you in touch with local qualified tree surgeons. Depending on the nature of the work, we will specify it ourselves and supervise it if needed.
- I need an irrigation system for my garden – do you install these?
- I have a pond with aquatic and marginal plants – do you look after these too?
- The previous owner planted bamboo in my garden and now it is rampant – can you help?
Depending on the species we can advise on the best course of action. If you no longer wish to have bamboo in your planting scheme, we can remove it for you.
- We have just finished building work and the garden needs a lot of attention – can you help?
It is amazing how quickly a garden can bounce back after building work. TW1 Gardening will seek to understand your goals for your new post-build garden and put a proper plan in place so that you and your family can start to use and enjoy your outdoor space again.
- Our garden has some fruit trees – do you take care of these as well?
All common fruit trees are maintained by us – apple, cherry, pear, plum, greengage and damson.
- I travel a lot on business – how will we communicate?
We can keep in touch via email, WhatsApp or Twitter – whichever tool suits you best. We do recommend that we meet up face to face in your garden a couple of times a year, just to make sure everything is on track.
- Can we meet first before arranging your first visit?
Yes, meeting face to face is essential if you wish to take on a regular gardener. For us, gardening is more than raking up leaves and weeding the flower beds. By getting to know you we can understand the background to your garden, your likes and dislikes, and your aspirations. In this way TW1 Gardening can maintain your garden – as well as seeking to develop and improve it over time. After our face to face meeting, we then suggest 2 paid sessions to give you complete peace of mind that you are getting the right gardener for your garden. After these 2 paid visits, it is completely up to you whether you wish to engage TW1 Gardening as your regular maintenance company.
- I know very little about gardening but want to learn so that I can enjoy my garden more – can you help?
Yes, most definitely. Each member of the team is passionate about spreading the joy of gardening wherever we can. We can coach you step by step. To benefit from this, you would need to work alongside us and commit to a fortnightly slot in the initial few months, to get you going on your personal garden journey. We can take you through the background of ‘why’ things are done in a certain way and guide you on exactly ‘how‘ to prune, feed, irrigate, mulch, cut back, plant up, treat pests and diseases, etc. etc. We have plenty of tips and advice to share, all of which will make you feel more connected to your garden and the wildlife that inhabits it. Gardening will shift from being a chore to become a genuine source of pleasure, pride and calm contentment. This will not be a quick journey, rather a unique and richly rewarding process. Please note that if you choose to work with us in your garden, you are responsible for your own personal safety and TW1 Gardening and Property Services Limited will not be held responsible for any accidents or injuries sustained by you.
- Do you take away garden waste?
No, unfortunately we do not have the facility to take your waste away – all waste requires storage before disposal and our premises are not set up to allow for this. However we are keen advocates of Richmond Councils’s green waste collection service. It costs just £50 for 12 months, plus £25 for the special wheelie bin with a blue lid. Collections are fortnightly; when you have too much waste for the bin, special blue bags can be left with the wheelie for collection. The collection service is far more cost effective (and kinder to the environment) than paying your gardener to take away the waste.
- I need advice on fence repairs, garden buildings, paths and patios – can you help?
All our advice is based on getting to know you and your garden so that any work carried out fits in with the overall garden plan and enhances your outdoor space rather than looking like piecemeal additions. Small-scale fence repairs are undertaken by the team at TW1 Gardening. For larger tasks we can recommend specialist landscapers. We caution against using general builders for garden work. Landscapers are far better placed to suggest the correct combination of materials and layouts to ensure a top notch end result.
- Are you insured?
TW1 Gardening and Property Services Limited has public liability insurance to £2million. We are insured to use garden equipment and tools and to work at height.
- What is DBS?
This is the Disclosure and Barring Service. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau check. At each garden maintenance visit we ensure that at least one if not all team members will be DBS checked (some team members have enhanced DBS clearance). This means you can be sure that trustworthy persons are on your property at all times.
At a glance
Read a brief overview of TW1 Gardening here.