I have just moved and am feeling completely overwhelmed by the garden - I need help. I don't want designery-type help - nor do I want someone who just mows and weeds. I'd like someone who I can work with - who can give me ideas, who can suggest new plants - and plant some of them - but not take over. I'd like someone who knows how, and when, to prune, cut back, feed etc - but who's happy to let me do it too - (I can't afford to pay them to do the lot anyway) and who's also happy to help me keep on top of weeding.
Has anyone successfully found a gardener like this? how did you suss if they were right? did you kind of interview them? did you ask several to come round and talk to you and then chose one?
I posted a job on ratedpeople.com, and three people pitched for it. When the lady who we chose came round, I said that we were thinking about getting 'this plant', pointing to a neighbour's that was overhanging - she immediately knew what it was, so that gave us a bit of confidence. And she was able to talk about what kind of plants she would suggest and why. Plus her website wasn't all about garden design, there was more emphasis on clearance, maintenance and 'no job too small'.
Otherwise I'd go and chat to a local nursery - one of the ones that supplies to trade and public. They may offer gardening services themselves (less likely for ongoing maintenance), but they typically know all the local gardeners.