How to Babysit a Friend’s Garden

Even the most passionate gardeners need a break from time to time yet taking a vacation and entrusting it to someone else – even a friend – can be the most gut-wrenching experience. Especially for control freaks like myself.

Will my plants survive? Will they water this plant or that one? How will they keep the aphids off my roses? What if I come back from my holiday and the garden is completely destroyed? These are just a few of the questions that haunt gardeners when they relinquish control of their prized possession.

So, how do you babysit a friend’s garden and give them the confidence that it will be maintained to the same level.

  1. First, you must be a gardener yourself. You must have a garden that if you were to go on a vacation you would be asking yourself the same questions.
  2. However, you must always remember that it’s not YOUR garden. Pruning, shaping, transferring plants or even adding new ones is a definite no-no – unless, of course, they asked you first.
  3. Watering is really the main activity that you will have to undertake. If the garden isn’t automatically reticulated then watering by hand, or via mobile sprinklers, may be the way this gardener likes to do it. In any case, if your only free-time to water your friend’s garden is at midday in the middle of summer, you might want to explain this to your friend beforehand.
  4. Stick to the plan as devised by your friend. Usually they will write out a magna carta few notes to help guide the maintenance process. Provided you adhere to these wishes then your relationship should remain intact long after the holiday has expired.
  5. Don’t transfer responsibility to someone else. Even if you fall ill during your friend’s vacation you should check with them as to whether another person might be able to take your place.
  6. Don’t help yourself to cuttings from their plants without their prior consent. Of course, this is almost impossible for a gardener to achieve but restraint until they arrive home will certainly help your future relationship.

Babysitting a friend’s garden is a huge responsibility and it can often become the cause of many relationship fallouts if not administered well. However, if you treat their garden with the same level of respect that you would like someone else to offer yours then there shouldn’t be any problems. Plus, if you took this responsibility carefully then you might have created another viable option for when you decide to take a vacation. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Additionally, we participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.