The Apprentice Ed’s Garden Operator Style

Ed’s Garden Operators’ Canine Helpers

This is a really busy time of year for an Ed’s Garden Operator. With the milder weather we’ve been having, the grass is still growing.  This means that  there is still mowing to be done. However, the challenges of Autumn (lots of clearing leaves!) and getting all our lovely customers’ gardens in shape for the winter ahead are there too.

We’re not complaining though.  We love it.  Especially when the weather is kind, with bright, crisp Autumn days.

With limited daylight hours, our Garden Operators can do with a bit of help to get on top of their workloads. Indeed, some of their own canine apprentices have been providing an extra set of paws to get the job done.

As everyone knows, we love reviewing performance at Ed’s so we just had to ask our guys how the new recruits are measuring up…

Baloo’s Review!

This is Baloo, a lovely and loyal German Shepherd. She has recently started helping Bob, our Garden Operator in Horsham, to deliver his gardening services.

Bob says, “Well, I’m probably a little bit biased as I’m very fond of Baloo. However,  she is really getting to grips with the challenges of being a sidekick . Nothing is too much trouble for her and she is very versatile in helping out with whatever I need.  She is just great at multi-tasking.”

“Whether it be guarding the van or helping me uproot a somewhat stubborn tree, she is on it. Her focus is amazing and even a rogue squirrel in a garden won’t distract her from the task in hand.  However,   I can see it takes every ounce of her willpower to ignore them!  What can I say apart from I’m really lucky to have her on board.  If she can keep her current level of motivation, she will go very far indeed!”

Monty’s moment of truth!

Another recent recruit is a rather dashing Hungarian Vizsla called Monty. He  lives with Stuart, our Ed’s Garden Operator in rural Norfolk.  Clearly a handsome and delightful chap but we asked Stuart if he could sum up how Monty is cutting the mustard.

Looking thoughtful, Stuart says “ Well, it all started off brilliantly in the summer when Monty was very keen to spring out of bed and get to work. Sadly, since the cooler days have kicked in, it has all changed. Monty does a quick weather check before he decides whether he is going to grace us with his company or just stay at home snuggling beside the Aga. It really isn’t good enough.”

“Monty is still a very young fellow but I feel that his current commitment level could be better. I am out in all weathers but Monty…well, he just doesn’t seem to be made of the same stuff.  In all honesty,  he seems to be a bit of a fair weather gardener.”

“If only he could get his work ethic right, he would go far in this business.  His  interpersonal skills are second to none and everyone who meets him tends to think he is wonderful. It’s not fair really. I toil away, day in, day out, without as much as a grumble and yet Monty is always the one who wins the popularity vote hands down with my customers!”

 

the new Eds Jobs system is great

Ed's Garden Maintenance's own dog Angus

Just quickly whilst I’m walking Angus… the new Eds Jobs system is great- so much easier to update jobs on the go now. Plus there’s a new mast up near home now so I can easily get  3G whilst in ‘the sticks’. Just need to remember to keep one eye on him whilst he charges around the huge fields and woods here chasing hares, pheasants, etc!

Angus keeping warm

Ed’s Operator, Stuart, who covers the Fakenham area in Norfolk, sent in this photograph of his dog Angus.   They had just been for a lovely stormy walk on the beach and Angus is shown here keeping warm in the van!

 

Elderflower Cordial

Ed’s Operator Stuart is seeing a lot of Elderflowers coming into peak season in his customers gardens at the moment and has been sharing his delicious recipe for homemade cordial with them.  It’s made every year at home and lots of his friends enjoy it on visits.
At times when customers are more and more interested in the provenance of their food and are conscious of food miles, its great to share ways of using their own produce.  Children enjoy helping to make it too.
Elderflower Cordial
Ingredients
2.5 kg white sugar, either granulated or caster
2 unwaxed lemons
2 unwaxed oranges
20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
85g food grade citric acid (available from chemists or Amazon)
Method
  • Put the sugar and 1.5 litres of water into the largest saucepan you have.
  • Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved.  Give it a stir every now and again.
  • Pare the zest from the lemons & oranges using a potato peeler, then slice the remainder of the fruit into rounds.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  • Fill a large clean bowl with cold water.
  • Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs.
  • Lift the flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, oranges, zest and citric acid, then stir well.
  • Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hours
  • Line a colander with a clean tea towel or muslin if you have it, then sit it over a large bowl or pan.
  • Ladle the syrup – let it drip slowly through.  Discard the bits left in the towel.
  • Sterilise bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water.  Rinse then leave to dry in a low oven)
  • Use a funnel and ladle to fill sterilised bottles.
 The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
You can also freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
Enjoy!