At the recent Greensleeves conference I had the great honour to meet and talk with many of the franchisees. Their passion for lawn care and for attaining more knowledge was inspiring. And it confirmed what I already knew – that this is the only lawn care franchise company to be involved with. I am delighted to be able to work with the company – but how did I get here?
When I first moved from golf courses to lawn care, people would ask me, “aren’t you a bit over-qualified?” I’d love to think they referred to my expertise but it’s just as likely they were reflecting lawn care’s lowly status as a dull topic, not deserving of much attention. Because that is how it was a few decades ago.
In fact, although things are moving in the right direction, they are still picking up speed. We currently have no governing body to support both the industry and its consumers (but watch this space!); lawn care is still treated like the ‘short straw’ by TV presenters, the topic no one wants to take on because they don’t have a particular expertise (or passion).
And that has been the core of the problem – expertise, or lack of it. Even the best-selling book for many years, Dr Hessayon’s Lawn Expert book, is now so out of date it could almost relate to a different planet. At the same time, gardeners were encouraged to have unrealistic expectations – the pursuit of the ‘perfect lawn’, short cropped and with lovely dark green stripes. Even the best sports turf arenas in the world struggle to achieve and maintain this so it’s little wonder that gardeners pretty soon gave up.
So, all this led me to the conclusion that lawn care has been misunderstood and misrepresented for too long. What was needed is to put the correct information into a simple format, easy to understand and easy to use.
But there still has to be a foundation to this, an underlying principle that governs the entire approach to modern lawn care. Ironically, with the massive growth in lawn care products and services, this has become more not less important. There are products that claim to do anything and everything – and they’re very persuasive; I know – I’ve been completely sucked in by some of the promises!
My own book, Modern Lawn Care, aims to define a modern philosophy, but when I wrote it I did wonder if I would be single-handedly dragging lawn care into the 21st century. Rather than face years of uphill struggle what I really wanted was to find a company that, like me, understood the power of nature and how to work with it; that shared my respect and passion for this plant group that covers 20% of our planet’s surface; and above all that had the same vision for helping gardeners of today and tomorrow to achieve what they really want from their lawns, not what the fashions and ignorance’s of yesterday say they should have.
And of course, that company is Greensleeves, a company I am happy and proud to endorse and support. It may not be the largest franchise company – yet – but I would quite simply say it is the best. And it is going to get even better! Together we will continue to spread the word about natural lawn care in our modern climate and raise the standards of professional lawn care higher than they have ever been.
Anyone who is familiar with my writing and blogs will know how often I repeat the mantra – there is no such thing as ‘the perfect lawn’ – but, thanks to Greensleeves, I can now say that there may well be such a thing as the perfect lawn care collaboration!