P71104Gardening is not for everyone. If you are reading this, you probably enjoy gardening. There are many more people who simply are not interested in it. Some tend to their own gardens in a basic manner just to keep their homes looking good. Most hire gardeners to maintain their landscapes for them.

I use the term ‘maintain’ very lightly. What they really do is keep the lawn from getting too deep, and other plants from getting too overgrown. Very few really care how they accomplish these basic requirements.

I could go into the detail about how they brag about saving water while wasting enough to drown trees, or how they shear everything within reach into nondescript . . . whatever they get shorn into, or how most problems that arborists encounter in their work are caused by gardeners. Instead, I am just gong to talk briefly about two examples of the lack of expertise or concern or both exhibited by gardeners who maintain the landscape at a small office building in my neighborhood.

There are a few healthy ‘Prairie Fire’ flowering crabapple trees in this landscape. A few years ago, they bloomed spectacularly! The following year, they were about to do the same thing. They were quite healthy, with plump buds that were swelling nicely as winter became spring. Just as the buds were about to pop, and the bright pink of the flowers within was becoming visible between the bud scales, the gardeners arrived and pollarded all the trees. Yes, they pruned away ALL of the blooming stems, cut them up, and disposed of them, leaving bare trunks and limbs. There was not bloom.

The trees recovered through the year, and produced plenty of stems to bloom the following spring. Again, the buds swelled at the end of winter, only to be completely removed when the trees were pollarded just before bloom. The trees were not even pollarded correctly. It was quite a hack job. This happens every year now. The trees never bloom.

A stone retaining wall below this landscape was well landscaped with rosemary hanging down from the top, and Boston ivy climbing up from below. The two will eventually be redundant to each other as the rosemary grows enough to cover the wall without the help of the Boston ivy, but for now, they work well together.

The Boston ivy was just beginning to show autumn color. It happens to be one of the few plants that colors reliably in our mild climate, with bright yellow, orange, red and burgundy. It would have been spectacular, but, like the budded stems of the flowering crabapples, all the Boston ivy was cut down to the ground. All the foliage that was just about to do what it does best was completely removed and disposed of.

There is certainly nothing wrong with exposing parts of the handsome stone wall. The rosemary still cascades from above to break up the expansiveness of the wall. The problem is the untimely removal of something that should have been an asset for the landscape, rather than just a liability. The Boston Ivy could have been cut back in winter, after displaying its spectacular autumn foliar color. Professionals should know how to accomplish this.

The property manager pays a lot of money for this sort of nonsense. Hey, we all know mistakes happen; but this is inexcusable. Seriously, people who know nothing about gardening could do better than these so called professionals.

15 thoughts on “Seriously?!

  1. My favorite – an apartment building near my house has a long, 12′ high hedge in front of it. I never really studied it. However, one year, I noticed a small clump of lilac blooms in the middle of it. Dang landscapers were pruning it in fall, thus pruning off the blooms. It would be a spectacular, purple show, if they’d only prune it at the right time!

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  2. It’s the same everywhere. There is a beautiful hedge of Fothergilla outside the building where I work. Every winter, the landscapers shear it into a box shape. Apart from the absurdity of trying to shape Fothergilla like a boxwood, the pruning removes all the flower buds except a few around the sides. The plants look absurd in evey spring, then recover in summer just in time for another round of butchery.

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  3. You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually something that I believe I might by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your next put up, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

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  4. OMG – they cut the flowers off??? And the spectacular fall color on that vine is beyond compare…. What a bunch of incompetent saps. If I were you, I would have approached the home owner to offer my own services. (Ever the opportunist!)

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    1. It is an office complex; and I have no services to offer. I can not keep up with the work I have already.
      Weirdly, after writing that a few years ago, new ‘gardeners’ were hired, and although they are rather bad, I am impressed. I almost never see a so-called ‘gardener’ who knows what he is doing.

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  5. What a shame! Two of my highlights of the year are seeing blossom trees and red Boston ivy, to say nothing of the apples. There’s a crabapple in a church my sweetheart’s neighbourhood that makes tiny, sweet apples.

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