Sunday, 17 August 2014

Opposite extremes

I've noticed that there hasn't been much about work in my posts over the last few weeks. It's mostly because that's just the time of year when thing's settle into a summertime routine, where there really isn't much to write about. There is however a few things that come to mind that have happened if you are interested?

New quotes are thin on the ground with everyone at the moment. I suppose that people are scared of changing anything to do with their finances, and sometimes their workforce familiarity. Last week however, I did get an email from an interested party, who had heard of Four Seasons, and wanted us to quote for the garden maintenance at their property. It's the place in the aerial view below. The present gardener is having to give up several large gardens due to the increasing care of his ailing mother. It's quite a complicated garden, and a quote not made any easier by his own underpricing of his work, and the fact that he included extra visits, free of charge, just to keep on top of leaf fall in the autumn. Over a period of ten years this can lead to any new quotes looking somewhat 'over the top', but I've personally always worked to the same fixed figures, and if the contract is lost, then so be it. I was once given some sound advice by a previous employer on starting up in self employment....'set your price, and stick to it. Never drop charges to suit the client'. Advice that I've always stuck to. I should know the outcome in a week or so.


There has also been some unfortunate news to do with a long standing customer. A couple that we have been working for since the start some 18 years ago, and have taken us with them through various moves. A few years ago they moved to Sandbanks, and a rather special house. It came with a garden pre-landscaped by the builders, which is never good, and we were given a limitless budget, and free rein with whatever design we wanted to use. The Sandbanks landscape project worked well, the clients loved it, but unfortunately earlier this year had to moved due to personal reasons. They have kept the house, and rented it out, which sadly means that we are no longer with them, and also wondering if the new tenant will continue with our services. A sad day, as the couple had become close friends, and the garden will no longer have that 'personal feel' that comes with the actual client. Time will tell whether the work is kept though, but we aren't hopeful, as tenants rarely spend money on the garden.

Lastly, and completely at the other end of the gardening scale, we had a garden tidy up to do yesterday. The place had become completely overgrown, and the client had requested that everything be brought back to the original plan as best as possible. I looked on Google Earth, as this often presents a dated images of places, and sure enough an image from about ten years ago was there. We had a rough idea of what lay beneath the undergrowth and rubbish.

A small garden at both front and rear, but by no means a small job. The front garden was a mess.


But after a lot of work came back to something resembling it's original plan. It was unfortunate that a previous gardener had cut down some conifers, but left the stumps in. Too big for chemical treatment to work quickly and effectively, and too many stone for a stump grinder at this point. I think the client will address this at some point, but is just happy to get her garden back.


The rear garden was just plain madness. A wall to wall blanket of thick brambles, all of which covered and grew through old fence panels and conifer branches. There was even a wheelbarrow and giant dog basket, along with several stone pots hidden under there as well, much to the detriment of my nice and sharp hedge trimmer, the tool used to initially reduce it all to ground level.


It was a slow process.


But we got there in the end. Not the classiest of jobs, but tremendous satisfaction in seeing the basics of the original garden once more.


We are all aching today.









14 comments:

  1. You had a challenge to clean up the overgrown garden. You see many yards here that are let go and gradually taken over by shrubs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a bit daunting for first thing on a Saturday morning Red, but thankfully the weather held, and all went fairly smoothly. It would be so much easier for the customer if they just kept on top of the day to day growth.

      Delete
  2. That is one eyesore sorted.
    A daunting job but worth doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often find it hard to understand how things can get so out of hand Adrian, but clearances can be really satisfying.

      Delete
  3. Gary,

    As I read your latest posting I find myself imaging you as the Wizard Merlin. A wave of your magical staff and brier and weed retreat back into the depths while shrubs and flowers spring forth, shaking the dust and debris off themselves and begin to glow with a lush radiant green.

    But I know there is more muscle then magic at work here and I, as always, am impressed with the speed at which your skilled hand return a neglected bit of property back into a beautiful garden. “Bravo” – gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Gary, how I sometimes wish that a magic wand exists! While the garden tidy did go quickly and smoothly, there were plenty of aching muscles and joints the following day.

      Delete
  4. Oh MY!! I can't BELIEVE people have backyards that look like that!! It would drive me insane. .I sort of like orderly. .And can't even imagine how much rain you get for things to grow like that!! Not in our country :-) I'll bet you ARE sore!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie,
      It always seems to be the smaller gardens that are 'let go' over here. As for everything growing a lot, we live in a country that is unfortunately visited regularly by dull rainy weather.

      Delete
  5. That is a lot of work. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Val, the aches and pains have finally gone now.

      Delete
  6. "...Tired--but a GOOD tired," as my dad would say."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Always changes with clients. That last place was a mess! Get some rest.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can almost feel the "aches"! However, I can also imagine the pleasure of seeing the "bones" of this yard/garden emerge! Sure hope we get to see them unfold!

    Hope some of those new possibilities pan out for you, by the way...

    ReplyDelete