Introduction to The British Gardener's website

You get what you pay for!

Hey, it still cuts!
Have you ever met someone who runs a business and wondered how in the hell they ever managed to keep going?  I've noticed for sometime now that there's quite a few people running their own landscaping companies that for the most part have no idea about what they're doing.  I'm beginning to believe that the only credentials you need to start up a landscaping company is just to own a lawnmower and a pickup truck.

Progress was going well until Billy left for a smoke
and left Bobby hanging.
My case in point is regarding a landscaper that I helped in finding some plant material.  The 'Boss' was a tall, chunky fella, who had the winning world record breaking 'blank stare'.  Like many, he was looking for some 'green trees' that were cheap.  We headed over to a block of 3 gallon Leyland Cypress and he ask how big they grew.  Not a bad question to ask, unless of course you claim to be a landscaper and run a tree and landscape company!  Being in the business you should know how big a Leyland Cypress can get as its one of the questions a customer, who isn't in the business will ask.  It blew me to see someone masquerading as a green professional, not knowing the first thing about 'green trees' (including what conifer meant) that he'd been hired to plant.  How did he ever get jobs, what credentials did he offer and how was he able to stay in the landscaping business knowing as little as he did?

"Yeah, I'm a master groomer, I'll trim that bush for you"
Even his crew gave me the heeby geebies as I loaded up his pick-up.  They all looked like the people you see in mugshot photos, featured in local newspapers, reviewing the convictions for the area.  Maybe that's how they dealt with advertising?  Nothing about them suggested gardening unless it was away to case someones house while mulching the beds!

Sad but true!
Sadly this isn't an isolated case.  I once got a call from an owner of a tree company who wanted to know if the branches he was cutting off a cherry tree would root up if he pushed them into the ground.  Of course taking cuttings of plant material is one way to propagate trees and shrubs, but these were 6 to 7 ft limbs!  To think someone agreed to let this fella loose on their trees!  Even sadder to think he was about to charge them for planting up some young trees he just happened to find.

Bars open, hurry up and get done
My other favorite is when these professionals don't know what pest or disease is affecting their customers plants.  One landscaper asked if the bag worm cocoons on a conifer were leftover Christmas decorations!  I know sometimes it's hard to diagnose problems, but bagworms and Christmas decorations are completely different.  Of course it's not just landscapers but customers will ask stupid questions about what their landscaper is seen doing.  One woman called our store with concerns over the health of her lawn.  She had been watching the lawn maintenance company she hired, bag up and take away the grass clippings.  She had worried herself silly that the grass was in someway contagious and needed to be removed like bio-hazard waste.  My guess is that her Spanish wasn't that great to ask the question properly and the guys automatically answered yes to whatever she was asking.  That being said, how many of these crews could tell you if you have a potential problem with your lawn or are they just trained to push a mower and move on to the next job.

Which one do they call 'The Brains'?
Still it all boils down to a simple phrase, 'you get what you pay for'.  Many of these cheap landscape companies are only concerned with making enough money to fuel up the truck, pay for a pack of smokes and a case of beer to end their day.  Its really no different than prostitutes,  tell them what you need and they give you a price.  Its no Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman, but instead a quickie so they can paid and move on before you know what hit you.

If you're looking for lot clearance work, then these guys are good.  However, if your needs are more detailed then you need to put up the bucks to get someone who knows a Leyland from a Lavender.  I've told people that a good tree guy is worth his weight in gold.  What does it say when he only charges for his weight in beer?

Do you have any funny gardening stories? Write back and let us know! Its better to laugh than cry!

If you enjoyed this you might also like these: Strangest Garden Center Questions & Growing Blunders.