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My perfect weekend: Wheelbarrow Gardening owner Darren Hawkes

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Darren Hawkes

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DARREN Hawkes runs Wheelbarrow Gardening and lives in Fowey with his wife Jenni and children Ruby, 7, and Stella, 3.

He recently won a place in the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place in May.

Darren said his perfect weekend was one he dreamt about but never seemed to have.

"As anyone who runs his or her own business knows, it's a rare thing to find you have a completely free weekend," he said.

"With a lot of our work being weather-dependent, I tend to grab time on Saturdays to catch up on what we haven't managed to complete that week, or to get organised with materials and tools for the next one.

"If the dream comes true this is probably how I'd like it to unfold.

"On a Friday night I would not arrive home from work feeling shattered and listless but bright and fresh, with no need to go to bed at the same time as the children. I would have the energy of my 14-year-old self and invite friends round for drinks and food and stay up chatting till the early hours.

"On a Saturday morning my two young children would not bounce into the room at dawn but leave my wife and me to enjoy a lie-in. As it stands, both my girls see me as something of a mobile climbing frame and are ready to play within minutes of being awake.

"I'd actually choose to keep this in my perfect weekend because it's great fun messing around with them, and something I wish I could spend more time enjoying.

"I like starting DIY projects and have loads I've yet to finish so I'd love some time with some good music on to get stuck in.

"That said, if the sun peeps through I might only get as far as a trip to Walter Bailey's in Par to buy a few materials and have a chat with David.

"I'm lucky enough to crew on a Troy owned by Marcus Lewis, a Fowey boatbuilder and brilliant skipper, so Saturday afternoon would definitely be crewing in a good breeze. In reality I sail as often as I can, but when I can't I end up sailing in my dreams.

"On a Saturday night my family and I often go to Sam's at Polkerris and on the right evening, surrounded by the right company, there's no place on earth I'd rather be.

"Sunday could be spent meeting up with my wife's family, who are from Padstow. We'll either find a pub which is in between Padstow and Fowey to enjoy a traditional Sunday roast or, if the weather's good, head to Harlyn or Trevone. If I was in Fowey I'd choose to have a pootle about on the river in our boat with the girls. It's great seeing them enjoy the water, and pulling up to a beach for a picnic becomes a brilliant adventure.

"At the moment I'm in the middle of preparations for the Chelsea Flower Show; I've designed a garden for a charity called SeeAbility and what with day-to- day business I have stacks of unanswered e-mails and admin jobs to do, so Sunday evening would be spent clearing those and then sitting down with my wife and watching TV."

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