Pat’s garden always looks well cared for and colourful and I’m hoping that I may be able to say the same for mine in a week or so.
The problem is finding a gardener.
Last Autumn, in sheer desperation I found a chap on the internet who advertised ‘multi travaux’. I should have known better as I suppose this could be roughly understood as ‘Jack of all Trades’. He came round to list all the work that needed doing and promised an estimate.
It came within a few days: 280 euros for quite a long list of work so I accepted. It meant waiting for over two weeks but then he phoned to say he would be coming one morning with his son.”So, they’re making a start at last”, I thought.
“A start”? They got through the whole list in less than two and a half hours. The father used his heavy duty strimmer to flatten virtually everything – plants and all, while his son did a pretty good job of cleaning the greenhouse. On the plus side, they removed all the rubbish, carting it through the house to their trailer as there’s no other access to the garden but they left more of a trail of devastation than the neat garden I was hoping for..
In May this year I thought the problem was solved when I happened to bump into the man in the village who used to be responsible for all the flowerbeds and shrubberies. He had retired but was looking for a bit of work on the side. He agreed to come.
He inspected the jungle and proposed weedkiller but I said I wasn’t happy about that. Nevertheless, he sprayed Roundup all over what was the vegetable patch, the raspberry canes and some of the weeds. I explained as politely as I could that I wasn’t happy and he promised not to do it again. He cut the grass a few times and one day he even dug over a flower bed but more often than not he would arrange a time to come and then not turn up – or he would say “I’ll come next week” and I wouldn’t hear from him for nearly a fortnight. When he said he had health problems I gave him every opportunity to back out but he said he had cut down his work to just three clients, including me so I felt bad about sending him packing.
But the final straw was when I told him I was expecting visitors the third week of August and I would like the garden to look reasonable. He came ONCE, promised to come “next week” but I never saw him again. I decided to give him till the end of August and then look elsewhere. There hasn’t been one word from him so I left a message on his answerphone to say I was looking for someone else.
Bear’s physio gave me the name of a chap who does his garden and I rang last weekend. He came on Monday morning, tutted and scribbled in a notebook and said he would give me a price but he couldn’t start till at least October as he was very busy. Oh dear, I didn’t like the sound of that but beggars can’t be choosers.
Then I found a card in the chemist’s advertising a gardener living in the village. I rang him, he came round yesterday morning and agreed to do it. He says he will start on Wednesday morning and the only thing that could stop him is if his wife goes into labour with their third child. I wonder if he’s planning to take a long paternity leave. . . . . . . . .
Update 11th September.
He came and he worked wonders in just three hours. The grass was cut and cleared away. He dug over and weeded two places which should become a flowerbed and a hedge eventually and he laid some slabs. He also cut off the broken branches of Magnolia and lifted some logs that I had put down to separate the grass from the flowerbed but which just encouraged the weeds and made them difficult to get at. The logs were cut in half and stored ready for use when they’re dry. He is due to come back on Saturday but the baby is due within a week.