The Gardens And Me

Welcome to The Anxious Gardener.


My name is David Marsden and I’m a gardener.

Old Forge

Until 2018, I worked in two gardens: ‘The Old Forge’ in the South Downs National Park (warning, warning: cliché imminent) under a great bowl of sky;

The Priory

and – lying in a quiet, partly wooded valley in the Sussex Weald – ‘The Priory’.  Both gardens are big (five or six acres) and neither are lived in permanently.

Tropical Border

I started gardening for a living about fourteen years ago and also took a part-time job at a marvellous alpine nursery.  After two years, I moved to a not-so-marvellous garden centre – but it too was a great place to learn about all manner of plants and plant care.   A year later, when I felt confident enough, I resigned from the not-so-marvellous garden centre, held my nose, closed my eyes and plunged overboard into full-time, self-employed gardening.


For several years I worked alone but for my last couple of years in Sussex, my partner Jim helped out at The Priory.

Long Borders

I loved The Priory and Old Forge dearly and was very fortunate indeed to land both jobs.


But self-employed gardening is often a lonely past-time: several working days might pass without me speaking to a human soul (apart from myself).  Very few people visited and fewer still wandered about the grounds.  I felt both gardens deserved a wider audience … and so I started this gardening blog.

Beech Arch

When I did get a little lonely, the gardens made up for it.  Beautiful, mesmerizing and full of wildlife, they were a pleasure to spend time in and an honour to tend.

And then, in August 2018, bidding a farewell to The Priory, Jim and I moved to Stroud, Gloucestershire.  For six months we worked on making our new house a home … and that was a lot of work.  Then, I worked as a self-employed gardener in the Five Valleys before starting a full time BA Hons. degree at the University of Gloucestershire.


I have changed some names during my time in Sussex to protect the gardens’ and owners’ anonymity.

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I also write a walking blog.  Here it is – ‘The Walking Gardener’.Save