A Personal Garden Coach and Their Responsibilities
Sometimes, ya just need to get your client dirty. Or wet. Or sweaty… To get them to understand there is no “art” to gardening. It’s a new mindset, every season, because of the huge swings in climate. You have to let them fail, sort of, so the thought process changes. The worst is yet to come, after they get the idea in their head, to actually put a hoe in the ground. They get hooked, they have a bushel of questions before they even think of what they need, and the surroundings begin to all pour over into one, fine, mess… Sometimes, most times, we have to intervene, for only a minute at a time, then the switch happens.
The media begins by always presenting their view, like when you buy a car, and then you see the same car, everywhere. Clients can’t differentiate actual, from “fiction”, as the commercialism is their total worth, and they “need” to buy “that” product, because the guy on TV said so. It, must be popular. Now, we have the problem, of breaking that trend, and slowing down the day. We begin, the coaching process, of showing the accounts of deliberate, benevolent neglect, can most times produce the desired results of that plant. We have the knowledge of chemicals, climate, topography, plant requirements, tools, safety, insects, disease, organics, soils, and a host of other information that for some unknown reason, we harbor in our souls. We belong to organizations, have a plethora of contacts we trust, aren’t afraid to make a mistake and figure out what we did, right. Me, myself, show up at a new clients home, compass in hand, first thing, because they argue where the sun rises. We’re given as “gifts” for birthdays, etc, by family members, for the “brown down, green up” challenged, realty companies because the old trend of “curb appeal” sells better than new paint in the kitchen, and new buyers, to help figure out, “what’s this?” I tend to believe it’s because we have been dirty, wet, sweaty, most of our lives. And we all have that drawer in the kitchen, with dried seeds in bags, old plant labels, the one glove we couldn’t find the mate to, last years seed catalog, the thing, we were going to do something with… So we coach others, put them in the game, and let them play on. We are OK when they don’t need us anymore. We did our job, and now we learn as we go, on what the new gardener has accomplished. We understand that we are, sometimes, trying to alter Ma Nature, in ways only a garden person can, but with utmost respect, that she is, the ultimate. We are in fact, gardens ourselves.
As the trending climate pushes us on to bigger and more abundant issues, the media feels the need to step in and take your mind to that beautiful lawn or garden on the TV or in that magazine pic. There’s all the hype of before, after, with, without, and the ever popular marketing scheme of a great set-up laid out scene… Makes you want yours to look the same, and it can, if you buy this now, and do it soon….. But wait, there is yet another chemical to correct what they told you wrong, or if you buy this now, get this free… and do it later in so many weeks, wrong, but you save money?
See the trend? As a Personal Garden Coach, it’s against our nature to allow that to happen. I hear so many times, “but the guy on TV said”, and I really want to take that client to the “guys” home, and see his garden. Actors are just that. They are getting paid from the residuals you spend, on the “stuff”. And I bet they don’t even get dirty, they have a “guy” that does their gardening for them. I know for a fact, the vendors don’t do what they are trained to tell you. They are on commission, and you will buy this, after all, it was on TV….
I have in the past, run into these people, and asked simple questions off the topic of their promotion, like “What’s the difference between anvil and bypass pruners?”. “I have Honey Bees swarming in my siding, what can I spray?”. “What does “part to full sun vs sun to partial shade” mean on the plant tag?”. “When do I feed, this, and is this the right food, with the pretty blooms on the box?”. When I get some answer, I realize why I am a coach to so many, and how they are confused sometimes when I say no…
Getting clients to trust you, starts with just a small, “Never could get this to grow right” lesson in getting it to grow as they tend to it, properly. So many times I have heard, “Oh, I always did this…” And now I get pics from them boasting with, “I DID IT!!!” And they did… Personal Garden Coaches never take the credit. After all, they have clients, wanting the best know-how they can get from us, to get their surroundings better, easier, healthier, and, cheaper. Some of my best garden clients are the ones who never ever have put a seed in soil, knew nothing, and grew something. I have gotten pics, a few months later, of beautiful Eggplants, Tomatoes, Peppers, that they started indoors in late February, went to the garden bed, tended, fed, watered, protected, and asked, “What now” in the pic….. And all I send back is, “GO PICK!!!”
At the end of my day, when I smell dirt, see fresh veggies or cut flowers on the counter, I know I have a few new gardeners wondering what they need to do tomorrow, writing notes in their journal, collecting seed catalogs and changing the channel when an ad comes on, thinking how to make something useful from the broken garden hoe, seeing the next season in their head. I feel the growth, pun intended, of the new gardeners toils and ideas. Satisfaction spreads throughout gardeners, whether we are in their dirt or not. They start to notice not only other new things, but problems occurring in others landscaping.. They are now a “Gardner”, not a landscapers. Gardening becomes a soothing therapy, and not a malicious nightmare of overgrown hopes. They see the outcome of the fees they paid, as an education they should have known, to be a good steward of the Earth, and now understand, sustainable living. One plant at a time, one new gardener, at a time. As I attend a “therapy” session in my landscape, I feel the pull of everyone I have coached, wondering if they are doing what is right, their gardens flash thru my head as I get to the areas they have. Sometimes, when they call me, and there have been so many over the years, I have no idea who they are by name, but tell me what you are doing, and I know exactly, who I’m talking to.
Yes, as a Personal Garden Coach, being in the midst of chaos at first, listening to what a client dreams of, coaching just a bit, getting the “before” aspects of the layout and the zillion questions after opening up that first packet of seeds, or breaking properly that root mass, is relatively simple… and then, when the second visit occurs, there is the dotted line of a new gardeners dream. When they don’t need us anymore, I do think of them, even as I weed my own. As a Personal Garden Coach, “I love leaving gardens in my wake.”
A Personal Garden Coach and Their Responsibilities