I am so disappointed.  The day started out so well.  I was up early and working in the garden while it was still covered with God’s air conditioning.  I weeded and got almost all of the plants into the ground that had been waiting for me.  I pruned and watered and really enjoyed being out in the sun.

Part of the pleasure came from the fact that my favorite landscaper had finally arrived to give me a hand with the mid-summer clean up.  We have so many gardens that I can no longer keep up with them on my own.  I hire Jose and his crew once during the growing year, and once again to put the gardens to bed for the winter.  Jose got his crew started and then disappeared.  The guys did a fabulous job cleaning at the north end of the garage and around the apple tree.  They pulled the overgrown weeds from the raised veggie beds which are too shady now for veggies.  They cleaned out the poison ivy from the pear tree bed, and weeded across most of the front of the house, and the day lilly bed on the south side.

It was looking fabulous, and then one of them started to work in the herb garden. I wanted them to pull the weeds from the chat in the walk way.  I also wanted them to cut back the lemon balm to about 6″.  Somehow, through lack of English, and the fact that I didn’t understand that THEY didn’t understand, they though I wanted them to trim back plants from the raised boxes that were growing over the sides of the boxes.

Nope.  That wasn’t what I wanted.  With a gas powered cutter in about 30 seconds the sage, day liles and the most beautiful huge  winter savory plant were reduced to stubs.  I was screaming at him from the kitchen window,  but he couldn’t hear.

They’ll grow back, but not this season.  They’ll look mostly stunted until next year.

In the future I’m going to have to be out there working with them.  I’ll hire them again, but I’ll be underfoot to be sure they do what I want them to do.

The rest of the gardens and several non-garden areas look great.  They’ve done a good job, but I’m really sad about  the sage and winter savory.  Dear Husband will say to me, “In a hundred years, will this matter?”  No.  Maybe not even by snowfall will it matter.  I’m just sad today..

16 thoughts on “Disappointment

  1. Buffy–I am sad for you. You probably feel similarly to how I felt when I came home from work one day to find that HH had mowed down my little meadow. I was in tears!

    Our landscaping friends have a couple of crews that don’t have full command of English, either. Only after they left (three years ago) did I find that invasive plants had been buried under the mulch instead of pulled/dug up by the roots. The owner tells me that they will send me out one person (more than that, I wouldn’t be able to keep track of!) and they will do whatever I tell them to – at $57/hour.

    I’m cutting down on what I do, too. It’s just too much, isn’t it?

  2. Awwww……what a shame! Did the meadow re-seed itself? I hope it came back for you.

    When we are very specific about what we want done, the companies should do as we ask. I would have had them come back out to dig out those plants. Just covering them with mulch is never going to kill them off. Don’t you think that $57 an hour is more than a bit steep??

    I’m sad to hear that you are cutting down on what you’re doing. I’ve always envied you your vigor and determination. I was also sad when you told me that you’d given away your quilting fabrics. I hope that we’re just talking about changes that come with age, and not something more serious.

    I love my home, but over the past few years it’s gotten harder and harder to get down to work on the gardens, and there are just too many gardens to keep up with for one person. I love the help, but it’s clear that I need to oversee what’s being done. I’m hoping that we’ll hit it right next time.

  3. Yes, for the next 12.5 summers I enjoyed my little oval of wild grasses and flowers. Earlier this summer (before the rain came) I purposely mowed over the meadow, myself. The bind weed had always required hand-pulling; but, this year, it broke my back. There was so much of it slithering around and climbing up the desireable plants that I couldn’t face the (hot, hot) work. I did leave a couple of plants at one end, feeling that I can at least keep them free of bindweed!

    HH keeps me in check when it comes to complaining about workmanship. He doesn’t want me to get our friends mad at him (that’s my guess, anyway). There are things about this house (12-15 items) that he wouldn’t let me have the builder fix, for Pete’s sake! In the lawn work case, I should have been clearer in telling you that the plants were pulled up before being covered by mulch – it was the roots that were not dug up.

    I do believe that $57/hour is a bit high; but, Kevin hires good people and pays them a living wage. He’s a good community asset (takes after his father who took the same approach to life: don’t sweat the small things). I’ve never had a reason to complain about the way any of his drivers drive (he probably has 25-35 vehicles), for instance; and, when I complain about lawn work, they make sure I get happy. I just decided to do the digging of nandina roots, myself, in 2010.

    Yes, things just get to the point of too much. As I get slower and slower and as I get more realistic about what I can expect to accomplish in my remaining 2 days/2 weeks/…/20 years/whatever, I see that I have to de-clutter before the kids are left to do it for me.

    When I lived alone, my mom told me that my house looked sterile it was so uncluttered. Much of the stuff is family stuff that, previously, I hadn’t been able to part with for fear that Bogie or Dudette would, too late, want it. I’ve given up that illusion.

    • Cop Car, I think that your bind weed might be my Creeping Charlie. I’d never run into it before, and it made a huge area of the front walk garden a mess! Luckily, I have Nan to help me on occasions, and she is fearless. We worked together on that part of the garden and it looks much better now. I need to add more Preen to it, though, because I know the Creeping Charlie was going to seed as we pulled it out.

      Dear Husband can be much like HH when it comes to our home. My philosophy is “Do it NOW.” His is, “We’ll get to it eventually,” and we never do. Irritating.

      Somehow, I understood that the plant tops had been removed, but not the roots. I agree with you that the company needs to make good on the work. I’m not sure what our landscaper would charge to leave one man here to do that work, but it seems that it should be in the $40 range, I think. Perhaps I’m way off and spoiled by my landscaper.

      As for the family things you’ve been keeping in the hope that Dudette or Bogie will want them…. Keep them. They mean a lot to you and you can’t be sure they won’t have value to the girls when you are gone. Keep them.


  4. That is too bad – I would be mad and sad too! I can’t imagine my reaction if I came home and someone had decapitated my daylilies and roses! And it was worse for you because you watched it happen and still couldn’t do anything to stop it in time.

    • Absolutely right, Bogie! Gawd….loosing roses and lilies would be just too much. Especially after all the work we’ve done in our gardens. That herb bed is my favorite garden. I suppose that’s why it bothered me so much.

  5. Bogie hit the nail on the head by writing thoughts that I should have included in my comment.

    Unfortunately, we have both creeping charlie and bind weed. Bind weed is a miniature morning glory that climbs up anything that grows upward. It is illegal to let it grow in our county; although, it is endemic!

    “They mean a lot to you and you can’t be sure they won’t have value to the girls when you are gone.”

    Dudette & Bogie always get a shot at any family “treasures” before I get rid of them. They have, over the years, taken some things off of my hands (Bogie took an old coal oil lamp, corn grinder, and butter churn – plus many, many canning things. It will be difficult for her to store that stuff now that she will be moving into an apartment, though. There are few of things that mean something to me (a few pieces of glass and a few pieces of furniture that I use daily!) I am not that attached to things; but, thanks for the advice. Obviously, I’ve only had an overload of family stuff since Mom died (1994). Before that, she was the repository for anything of which I could not make use.

    • Cop Car, I saw the tiny white trumpet-shaped flowers along the side of the road this morning, and thought of you. We probably have bindweed here, just not in the formal gardens. Having both Creeping Charlie and bindweed would be just too much to deal with!

      I should have known that you would be way ahead of the curve on handing out family items. I still have some of Mother’s things that probably need to be disbursed. I think everyone is waiting until we move and get settled to see if there are more things we wish to find homes for. I’m SURE there will be things the next generation will want and can use. It’s very kind of you to be thinking ahead to spare the girls the work in the future.

  6. Hey CC – I’m still in the house (WS has the apartment for now), until full winter hits. And who knows, I might be back after that (wishful thinking perhaps). However, at any rate, I hope to be in a house of any kind in the not to distant future. that is why God invented storage units – to store all the crap you value, even though it isn’t worth a thing to anyone else 🙂

    • And, when you get tired of paying the storage bill, you can go through and cull out what really matters to you, and dispose of the rest. I think it takes time to know what to keep, and what to let go.

  7. Gosh – gardeners who know what they are doing charge $30 equivalent tops round here. Most a lot less.

    But – there are still ones who ‘accidentally’ cut down 15 foot lilac trees to 6″, due to a similar misunderstanding to yours, as I heard from one of my patchwork ladies last week.

    I don’t relish the idea of decluttering and being able to do less around the garden, but I feel it bginning to come on already…

    And, I share the bindweed horror.

    • Hey, Blue Witch, nice to see you! We have a lot in common, but I’m happy to say that the bindweed has been keeping it’s distance. 🙂

  8. Blue Witch–We should wage a war on bind weed!

    Yes, I’m sure that if I wished to look around, there are people willing to do gardening for less than $57/hour. Our friends do not, routinely, supply people to do nothing but weed. They have to charge the same for such “low level” gardening as they would be charging to use the same person for “high level” gardening. (After all, they can’t use their high-priced help on high-priced work when the person is on our low-level job!)

    Their people really move when on a normal job. If, as a favor to us (only when we are caught out of town), they mow and trim our yard (not something they normally offer), their guys are here and gone in 15 minutes – including unloading and loading time. When they fertilize, it takes about 10 minutes to set up, cover 13,000 sq ft of grass, place flag & leave paperwork, and get back on the road.

    Really, I could use a well-motivated high school kid – if I knew any!

    • Cop Car, I’d been pondering the cost as I was driving around this morning, and the first thing that came to mind is that the contractor has to pay FICA, Medicare and unemployment on the employee’s pay, and, of course, he hopes to make a profit. I hadn’t yet gotten to the fact that if the employee is doing work that doesn’t need training, he’s not free to do the more highly paid work. Thanks for the explanation.

      Our ground crew flies, too! I can’t get over how fast they can get a job done. I’m sure the boss understands the concept that time is money and keeps everyone on their toes. I’d sure like to have the energy they have, and the ability to work in all kinds of weather!

      Are there high school kids willing to do the work we need to have done? Occasionally I hire kids from the church youth group, but I’ve never asked them to do yard work.

      • Yes, as an employer you well understand overhead. When I used to write proposals (1980s), our “loading” was usually a factor of 2.5 or thereabouts (we never really knew because even after the job was over and done with the government would come back and tell us what we needed to charge as overhead – which could impact our bottom line!)

        I have to believe that teens (boys or girls) are willing and able to do yard work. You might ask your church kids.

        My belief is that lawn work crews are really motivated to work long and hard by a boss who treats them well. Being paid a living wage is part of it; but, not the whole story.

        • It’s interesting to see all the different ways there are to figure overhead and to make sure a job will be profitable. As an accountant I wouldn’t care to have the parameters changed AFTER the job was finished!

          I’m sure you are right about the most successful crews being treated well by their employers. My ex worked for Funk seeds in the summers, overseeing high school kids hired for de-tassling corn. Every day he came up with a different challenge, or a different reward to keep them interested in the hot, itchy work. I don’t think our landscapers need to provide challenges, but I’m sure a variety of rewards are put to use.

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