The manager informed us that our newest plant centre recruit has handed in his notice, as he has got a place on a training course at Cambridge Botanic. He lasted eighteen months, which I fear is as long as we can expect to get from a sparky and competent youngster. It is a great opportunity for him, since he'll learn a lot at Cambridge Botanic, and it will look good on his CV. Working in the plant centre doesn't really offer any opportunities for career advancement. It is a role for people who have done something else with their lives first, and have reached a stage when they can afford to hang out with plants for rather little money. Since my shortly-to-be-departing colleague is thoroughly competent, and is the only full time member of staff in the plant centre, apart from the manager himself, the manager is understandably depressed about losing him.
Meanwhile, the continued chilly and dull weather means that sales are below what they should be for the time of year. Much, much better than they were in the winter, but falling short of the seasonal norm. The loss of one of his more reliable members of staff, and the dismal reality of finding trade once again hit by the weather, after only a month of boom, and the misfortune of having put his back out, combined to depress the manager's mood. A small miasma of gloom surrounded him all day, and threatened to spread to the rest of us.
I removed myself to a safe distance, and finished putting the roses out for sale. I don't know how many there were, since I stopped counting when I got to forty pots, but there were lots. They had been unloaded onto the lawn at the top end of the plant centre. Before putting shrubs out on the beds you are supposed to sprinkle the top of the compost with a pre-emergent herbicide, to cut down on subsequent weeding. If you sprinkle it on the lawn, the grass goes yellow, so it is better to work over a gravel path or other hard surface, since it is quite impossible to cover the top of a pot without spilling some granules over the side. The only vaguely convenient hard surface was the manhole cover in the middle of the lawn, so I had to move every pot before I could treat it. The furthest rows of pots were four paces from the manhole cover, and since the human opposable thumb is not designed to bear that much weight repeatedly, I used both hands to move them one at a time. If the foliage had been dry, I could have simply loaded up a full trolley and then done all the pots at once working over the path, but since it was drizzling and the rose leaves were wet, I needed to be able to tip each pot and tuck the foliage back out of harm's way, so that the weedkiller landed on the compost instead of sticking to the plant.
Why do we not have deliveries put down on a hard surface instead of a lawn? Discuss.
The manager showed no signs of directing me, so when I'd finished moving the roses I stuck prices on the morning's delivery of pretties off the weekly van, since he had left the list of prices on his desk. Then I deadheaded the camellias, swept the mess off the tunnel floor, and arranged them in neat rows in alphabetical order, since that was on the list of jobs to do left over from the weekend. It is just as well that I am what used to be called in job advertisements A Self Starter, and Capable of Working Without Supervision.
It would have been nice if somebody had said thank you and well done for moving all those pots, but nobody did. When I left at six, the unhappy manager was setting out tea cups, in preparation to show an evening group around the garden.
Addendum The blog is hit from time to time by spam e-mails, most of which are correctly identified as such by the spam filter. I erase them and you never see them. I was tickled by this morning's example, though obviously I am not including the link to their blog.
Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your
situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are
looking to exchange techniques with others, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.