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Posts Tagged ‘garden don’ts’

We can’t keep up with the requests for work, so sometimes we recommend other local gardeners to do a job, even at one of our regular places.  Today at one job we ran across two situations where the old adage applies:  If you want something done right, do it yourself.

We had recommended a tree pruner (most definitely not one of the local businesses that offers to TOP trees, a no no, as Plant Amnesty will tell you) to prune  a view blocking eucalyptus and shore pine.  Within a month, our client sadly informed us “The tree is dying.”  Of course, I felt responsible and we took a good look.  “I think it’s just dead stuff caught up in there!” I said.  Our dear client was skeptical.  Today we again looked up and still the dead twigs clung to the eucalyptus.  This time Allan went up on a ladder to test our theory that the twigs were not at all attached.

tidying the eucalyptus

tidying the eucalyptus

Sure enough, the dead twigs were not attached but needed to be pulled out.  The pruner must have run cutters over the tree and just let the dead stuff fall inside.  Client said that a mess of twigs had been falling out of both the euc. and the pine over the summer.  Allan also saw crossing branches up in there that he would have taken out except that now the talk is of totally cutting down the tree because of the ongoing expense of pruning it to keep the view.

a wheelbarrow full of twigs

Now, I just would not be comfortable leaving a mess like that.  It would be like doing a carpentry job for someone and leaving sawdust everywhere.  (Oh but wait, I’ve seen that done, as well.)  Once we got it all cleaned up, the job looked artistic again.

Except for the trail of lost tools that I tend to leave behind in gardens, I want to make sure that none of our clients ever have to clean up a mess after us.

The other other issue at the same job is an ongoing struggle with heavy duty landscape fabric under garden beds.  RIGHT under with only a couple of inches of soil on top.  Years ago, we were way too busy to make the new beds this client wanted so we passed the job on to some friends (who have since moved away).  Why in the world would they think this method would make an easily maintainable bed?  Not only that, but they had stacked, about three deep, smallish round river rock along the sides.  Stacked and placed the rocks VERY slowly.  When the client asked them why so slow they said the job was very Zen.  I don’t think our clients really want to pay for Zen moments.

At least we made the edge maintenance easier, finally, by making the edging just one rock deep so the whole little rock wall did not have to shifted and rebuilt for weeding.  But you can still see the underwear of the thinly concealed fabric…which one of these years I swear we are going to get rid of by either turning the beds into high raised berms or getting down in there with pick and shovel, removing all the plants, and pulling the darn fabric out.

fabric edge

the underwear showing!

I am sure the idea was to keep the weeds from coming through, but horsetail and beach grass puncture right through the fabric as if it were a thin sheet of paper.

horsetail spear

It would have been better to build the beds on thick layers of newspaper and ended up with lovely loose mulchy soil that weeds just slipped out of…instead of a stubborn layer of fabric in which the weed roots are now firmly enmeshed.

I do want to be able to delegate and turn down jobs and pass them on to others.  Especially when someone wants a result that we have no idea (or interest) in how to attain, like a green golf course style lawn.

And we know that if everyone firmly believed that the only way to get something done right is to do it yourself, we wouldn’t have any work at all.

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