THE TALE OF A SAVAGE GARDEN TAMED: -
(Or in other words, My garden needed a severe tidy up and I couldn’t do it).
Things, so to speak, were starting to get a little bit desperate regarding the state of my garden. Not just a bit over grown, but a mini urban jungle threatening to invade my home via the back door.
A little melodramatic I hear you mumble, but no, things in the outer sooth of the garden to the rear of my home were really that bad and needed to be remedied as soon as possible.
I am currently a Housing Association tenant. I live in a house specifically built for and also adapted for a person with mobility disabilities and one of the more important conditions of my lease is that I keep the garden in a neat and tidy state. This is to keep pests down and to ensure that visitors and neighbours are not troubled by the sight of a true nature garden, unkempt and unloved.
There had been a few hints and comments from the on site staff and a kindly word from a neighbour. I had asked the Housing Assossation rep on site if she knew of a good gardener that charged good to reasonable prices as just about everyone in my neighbourhood is either mobility disabled or has some other form of condition and has a carer or two to help them. She had no useful numbers or help to offer in my seeking a gardener, even though the Housing Association employs it’s own contract gardeners to keep the bits on public show in tidy order. She offered no contact number for them, nor any help on finding an alternative gardener…Sod it, I thought, I’ll look for a gardener myself, even though she had assured me weeks before that she would pop their contract gardeners details through my letterbox, I had tired of waiting and asking her, and asking her again.
I went retro and grabbed a small yellow book that purported to be a telephone book. It didn’t look anything like a telephone to me, but I, none the less perservered in my epic retro efforts to find a gardener.
I turned page after page, searching for the section that said “gardening services”. No hashtag, no search engine to offer me assisstance and I couldn’t google it at that precise moment. I suddenlt felt old, and also empowered, having the in real life seek and find skills needed in a paper based throwback world.
I looked for local gardening services as I like to support local business and also to help the local economy…I’m awesome like that and I wish more people were.
I could hear the garden defiantly growing as I perused the information printed afore me.
The first firm I rang was the nearest to me locally and I decided to ring at about five minutes to five in the evening….I wasn’t trying to be difficult, I just hadn’t realised what time it was.
The answerphone kicked in and then was promptly snatched up and I was surprised to be greeted warmly and politley, that usually doesn’t happen when you ring a business at five to five in the evening…I immediatley smiled…This was an awesome start.
I had a little chat with the nice man on the other end of the telephone line…no tweeting, texting or skyping to be found here, just the good old fashioned, talking to someone on the telephone. He listened to what I was saying and didn’t rush me out of the conversation…Another massive bonus and I was still smiling.
Eventually after getting the factual stuff out of the way, I arranged an appointment for him to visit me for a quote. I was surprised to hear him say he’d be here in half an hour, as he was just down the road from my home. I agreed and quickly got The Boogeyman to tidy up a bit, not that my home was a mess, it’s just that the cat had been playing with her toys and I didn’t want anyone tripping over them. That done, The Boogeyman disappeared off to where he dwells in the house when he’s not required and I waited for the gardener to arrive to give me a hefty quote for the work that needed to be done in the garden.
I was a bit weary as I’d had some gardening work done about 9 months ago and I firmly believed that I was “fleeced” on that occasion as well as feeling uncomfortable when they had asked if I had the money to pay for the job and that they would take me round to the cashpoint if I hadn’t. That firm also showed scant regard for their health and safety whilst doing the gardening work, frequently making me gasp with worry and shock at how and what they were doing to reach ivy that had grown up to the eves of the house. Let’s just say they neither used ladders nor safety goggles, nor any other required safety equipment I thought they should have had. That firm will never get any more work from me again. Talk down to me because I’m a woman and disabled and keep demanding cold drinks from me every five minutes and you lose.
Mike Evans from E2 Landscape Architecture turned up precisley when he said he would. Waited to be invited in and listened to what I hadn’t told him on the telephone which was important information if he was to do the work.
He listened carefully, looked at my face when he spoke to me, (which was very nice and refreshing as most men talk to my mammaries), and didn’t talk down to me or make me feel inferior. He was aware that I was disabled and waited for me to lead him to the garden, rather than just lamping through my home to where he thought the back door was.
All the way through the meeting he treated me with respect, summarised what kind of work I wanted done and was open, warm and polite.
This was a massive win.
I asked Mike Evans when he could start the work for me and we agreed on that Friday afternoon as long as the weather held. I gave him my contact details and thanked him for making it an afternoon job appointment as I needed quite a bit of time in the mornings to get up and about, but I think he had kindly already considered that. We also agreed on a price for the work to be done, (which by the way was a totally awesome and fair quote), and with a happy thank you he left.
FRIDAY, THE DAY OF DOOM FOR THE GARDEN:
After I had managed to get out of bed and gotten dressed and gimbled my way downstairs via my chairlift, I got the kettle on and tea making equipment ready for Mike Evans to arrive.
His van pulled up outside my abode precisley whe he said he would. 12:30 p.m. on the dot.
He came to the door and waited to be invited in and we briefly discussed how and what equipment he would be bringing into my home as there is no outside access to my garden.
Again he was very polite and explained everything and did exactly as he said he would do concerning the work. I watched him take his strimmer to the bottom of my urban jungle, he flicked on his safety goggles and started to get to work.
I nearly collapsed laughing when my garden fought back and tried to kill his strimmer just as he’d put it to the grass. I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but I couldn’t help myself as I’d sort of jokingly warned him about something like this happening. I shut up as he sheepishly dashed into my home, announced that he’d need to get some tools out of his van to fix it, then I watched him dash out to his waiting chariot of tool salvation.
He gallantly came back and in a determined fashion, cantered back into my garden to fix his strimmer. He was most triumphant and once again donned his safety goggles and started to strim my lawn…(stop giggling you miscreants at the back, I know what your minds are like).
Mike worked very hard, so I made him plenty of cups of tea to keep him fortified in his epic struggle with the urban jungle that repeatedly fought him every step of the way. I also provided him with a chair to sit on whilst he drank his tea, as I thought he deserved a sit down every so often and he was most grateful.
The thing is, I am a responsible, considerate, ethic and fair employer. If I contract you to do work on site at my home, then I am responsible in part for your health and safety, your welfare and your wellbeing, plus I don’t want to be sued if you trip over my carpet and break your leg in the resulting fall causing you to be unable to work for the next few months.
I am certain Mike Evans would agree with my ethics and my treatment of him whilst he was on site working. I’m also awesome like that. I’ve employed a human being to do some work for me, not a slave, nor a robot and I wish everyone had such considerations.
Anyhoo, Mr. Evans had succeeded in getting the darned jungle garden strimmed. I could see that the masive rake he now held in his hands would be adequate for the task of raking the cuttings up for their incarceration in the bags he’d brought with him. Hard work that raking malarkey, so I made him yet another cup of tea. After he’d finished with the gathering of grass and weed debris, he once agin visited his chariot and produced a most impressive and awesome lawnmower, manouvered it into my home and carefully guided it to the back door and out into the garden.
More tea later and much mowing, the garden was looking rather awesome and very tidy.
Mike found a bees hive under the garden and showed me the holes where the bees were coming and going from. I was amazed and watched in fascination as the furry bumble bums did their thing. We also found crickets and other life parading about, annoyed that the little darlings had been disturbed. It was all awesome.
Mike got back to work and tidied up the paving stones without using any weedkiller as I have a pet cat. I must say that he really did do an amazing job and it was a pity we hadn’t thought on to take a before and after picture, because it really was an epic ordeal of a job.
We both surveyed the work done and were both really pleased with the results. All Mike had to do now was get his equipment back into his work chariot along with the bags of cuttings and be paid.
I paid him ten pounds over the agreed price. Mike was extremely happy with this and I thought he really deserved the extra money as he really had worked very hard and had been polite and generally brilliant all the way through. I also confessed to him that I’d had a good laugh at him when he’d first started the garden and his strimmer had thrown a hissy fit and that alone had been worth the extra money.
We discussed further work and roughly when it would be carried out and roughly how much that work would cost, which I was entirely and extremely happy with and I can say, for certain, with my hand on my heart, that Mike Evans of E2 Landscape Architecture shall be definatley returning to have another go at my garden. (Stop sniggering you guys….harumph, childish lot).
So if you to are interested in the awesome garden experience of E2 Landscape Architecturethen here’s the website for you to ogle…
So I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to Mike Evans for his hard work and the way he treated me whilst he fought an epic battle with my jungle of a garden and won. He is indeed The Garden Jungle Terminator and he will be back.