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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label garden construction. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label garden construction. Show all posts

      Thursday, December 31, 2009

      I am not happy.

      The fence construction I mentioned in my last post began yesterday. The workers took great care protecting the inside of the house. They laid down paper in the hallway, moved furniture out of the way, and didn't leave a mark. Apparently their attention to detail ended at the door to the back yard.

      The flags I planted to mark the perennials were bent and stepped on. I spoke with contractor Jim (Blue Line Construction).

      Me: I'm not happy about this. Look where your guys are standing.

      Him: You may have to move this tree (a Cercis canadensis) in the spring. We had to dig pretty close to the root ball. We dug up a lot of roots.

      Me: Wow. I wish you'd told me about this; I would have moved the tree.

      Him: It'll be fine.

      Me: And you know this because...

      Him: I've dug a lot of post holes in a lot of gardens.

      Me: It may be fine or it may not be fine.

      Him: Whether it is or it isn't, it's not in MY contract.

      At that point I went to speak with the facilities manager (who hired the contractor). Of course what Jim said was 100% true. But how much better would it have been if he'd said, "I'm not sure if the tree will make it or not but I was as careful as I could be and I've done a lot of this kind of work and I really hope it will be ok."

      The facts remain the same, but the difference is enormous. Whether the tree comes back or not, his lousy attitude means I'll do my best to make sure he's never hired by any of my clients again.

      Monday, December 14, 2009

      just when you thought it was over...

      Remember a few weeks ago I posted that all my gardens were neatly put to bed for the winter?

      I foolishly thought my outdoor work was done for the season, but just found out that a client is replacing her fence next week. Which means someone (me) had to cut the woody vines (Hydrangea petiolaris, Schizophragma hydrangeoides) off the fence, transplant six shrubs that might be in the way, and mark any perennials whose crowns would be damaged by heavy work boots trodding upon them. Fortunately the ground wasn't frozen on Monday morning. I feel lucky to have sneaked in under the weather wire.

      The thought of construction workers stamping through the garden makes me nervous. Even though the perennials have been cut back for the winter, their crowns and roots are still vulnerable to soil compaction damage. I'll never forget being reprimanded by Brent Heath (in the nicest way possible) that just because I couldn't see a plant where I was stepping, didn't mean there wasn't something sensitive just beneath the soil surface.

      Admittedly, the fence is in bad shape, not to mention encroaching into our garden by 6-8 inches. I'm sure the construction will be worthwhile from an aesthetic p.o.v., not to mention the extra square footage, but still, I worry.

      Fingers crossed.

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