How often have you wished you had a cook, chauffeur or a general dogsbody to help you with the tasks of the day to day? An assistant to keep up with the paperwork. Someone to pick up the dry cleaning, getting the dog bathed or stocking up the refrigerator would be nice. Admit it, it has crossed your mind numerous times right?
The same happens in the garden. Busy schedules and/ or aging bodies could do with a little help. Keeping up with the seasonal demands in the garden whilst keeping abreast with duty calls elsewhere can be quite challenging . Recruiting the assistance of a gardener might be in order.
In suburbia, the sight of a team of men spilling out of a pick-up truck, unloading tractor mowers and powerful leaf blowers is as common as pigeons flocking in Central Park. The ‘mow, blow and go’ outfits fulfill very adequately the basic requirements of suburban living – a pristine property mostly displaying a swathe of green lawn. But a garden is more than lawn isn’t it? It has trees and shrubs, beds of flowers, vegetable plots and areas to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature. It is home to birds, butterflies, toads and other critters. A garden is a complex, diverse world, the upkeep of which involves watering, weeding, planting, fertilizing, pruning, cutting back, propping up, training, digging up, repositioning, composting, raking and a few other chores. All the while keeping it beautiful, productive and functional.
The English, who have a longstanding garden tradition, routinely employ a ‘jobbing’ gardener. This is an individual who has garden skills and can be relied on to take care of specified jobs. He/she can be hired for a few hours everyday or a couple of days every week. You tell them the job that needs doing and they do it. In the United States, such a person is not so commonly employed. People with the means tend to employ full time gardeners or the aforementioned weekly service. In my opinion, for someone who is an active gardener but needs extra hands, a jobbing gardener is a godsend. The peace of mind in knowing a task will get done correctly is invaluable. One stays involved with the garden but has the satisfaction that nothing will be neglected because attentions had to directed elsewhere.
Before you employ a gardener, consider what needs doing. These can run the gamut of chores you cannot do, don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Depending on garden needs and available budget, a decision must be made to hire an experienced gardener or a novice. The former can pretty much do all or any of the work a garden needs without supervision while the latter will require some oversight. Your call.
Next, decide how often you need garden help. Seasonal or regular year-round or single project. Obviously, the expense of hiring depends on the level of experience the person has. How and when payments are to be made should be clear from the start.
Word of mouth is the most frequent way that gardeners get hired. Personal recommendations are best.
Self-employed individuals or a company depends again on what is required and how much you can spend. It is imperative to have trust in the person. Developing a good working relationship goes a long way in making a beautiful garden. Just like life.