Yard annoyance ends happily

a view into a shady garden corner enclosed by a wood plank fence. A leafy shrub is being defended by smaller plantings & a red dragon statue, while a Green Man plaster casting watches from a fence post.

So much annoyance. Not enough to leave a bad review, I don’t want to drag anyone’s reputation. I know it could be worse. There are reasons things aren’t perfect.

But alas, iit turns out I’m still on the hunt for garden professionals I can partner up with long-term.

The crew who came to do a small spring clean-up, lawn aeration & mulching back in April didn’t bring any mulch.

Yup. Then my yard stayed bare for FIVE WEEKS.

I got ZERO contact or outreach during a 5 week delay between the first half of a 4-hour project & the second. Not a single text or email or call w/ a message like, “we’re waiting for a crew to finish a half-day project, it may take a while,” or “We haven’t forgotten you, we’re shorthanded,” or hell, “Sorry for the delay, we promise we’ll get to you as soon as we can.”

Nothing. And the one time I called the rep during those weeks, I was brusquely treated like an unwelcome interruption. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to call the cell number? Maybe 8:45 AM was too early to call a business that starts jobs at 8AM?

I don’t know. I never did hear back from him.

When crews did show up, they arrived without warning. (not even a “we’ll try to get people out there sometime this week,”  or “you’re sixth in line, should be soon” heads-up.)

Neither crew alerted anyone on the property to their presence. That’s understandable for contracted, scheduled maintenance. Not for job work in any trade.

Annoyance the first visitation

The crew chief for Phase one never did introduce himself, check in or ask for details on the job. When I provided direction, he & his crew ignored it. 

Their mandate: lawn aeration, spring cleanup of beds including perennial cutback, bed edging, & mowing. In the disappointments column, they:

  • stripped all the mulched beds back to bare dirt against my repeated requests (before the job to the the rep, and again when the crew arrived) to leave the existing composting cover alone.
  • started the bed edging process with a weed whip turned on end, creating a wide, shallow, bare clay channel on all the beds (a harsh contrast to the excellent steep-angled spade edging done last fall.)
  • spaded ineffectively and incompletely along the weed-whip channel, not cutting deep enough to slice roots, not even spading in several places.
  • kicked up chunks of gravel & hard clay during the weed whipping and leaf-blowing process that struck ground level-windows at high speed. Thankfully the windows escaped damage.
  • pruned 6 three-year old lavender bushes back to the ground. The only reason I’m not livid about that is that they were struggling due to work done on the house in the fall, but they should not have been touched.

Annoyance, but wait there’s more” edition

Five weeks later, a second crew laid down the mulch. They showed up unannounced at 2:30PM on the Friday before a holiday weekend. I’m glad the ordeal is over, I’m glad the bare dirt is covered.

I wanted to be happy. I really did. But once they were gone, I discovered they had:

  • pulled out plantings, destroying them like weeds, probably during the “wander around and look for cleanup work” phase before the crew chief arrived:
    • 2 astilbe
    • 2 columbines
    • 2 creeping phlox
    • 2 rue plants
    • 1 large Coreopsis rosea
  • piled mulch on top of plantings instead of around them damaging
    • 2 rudbeckia (which were then also raked over & shredded)
    • 3 peony sprouts
    • 2 sage plants
    • all 6 new replacement lavenders
    • a patch of soapwort
    • 4 wild geranium plants.
  • carefully mulched around several flowering dandelions
  • barely coated a cosmetic inch of mulch through most of the largest planting beds. (Except where they dropped handfuls of mulch ON TOP OF plants) My estimate listed “thick layer of mulch” I need it to decompose & hold moisture, not look pretty.
  • left mulch untidily piled on the lower rails of a wood fence & smeared it into the walls of the house
  • cleaned up pavers using a leaf blower instead of a freaking broom. They sprayed mulch onto the house, and in through windows 12 ft of the ground.

One final aggravation: 5 weeks of baking in bare dirt during spring green-up stressed out my foundation plantings. I spent time watering.

Bottom line, it’s an annoyance, but it’s done.

The yard looks damned good. Venting is healthy, so I’m venting, and now I’m done. It’s the past. I’m looking ahead.

Next challenge: find a new source for help for occasional plantings & annual composting/mulching. I have a couple of leads, and a whole year to research them.

Right now, Imma go sit and enjoy my green growing things.

Obligatory “oh, yeah, also, I write science fiction” section:

The cover for Controlled Descent,  two figures slogging across a snowfield or glacier towards a futuristic city skyline under a clear blue sky with a contrail cutting across it.
Book 1
Broken heroes team up in self-defense & end up fighting for justice
the cover for Flight Plan, with a SanFrancisco skyline silhouetted against a fiery-red sky with black water in the foreground behind the title and smoke rising up behind the series logo.
Book 2
Accidental kidnappings, global conspiracies,
and tea breaks.
the cover for Weaving in the Ends, with two hands holding knitting needles and a square of blue knitting in the foreground beneath the title
Companion duology:
Chosen family shenanigans, knitting, & kittens.
The cover for Novices, with the silhouetted figures of two boys gazing across a farm field at sunrise toward a ruined city skyline.
The inevitable prequel.
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