i thought it might be interesting to do a post about what a day in the life of a gardener is like in southern california. like i have mentioned before, i consider myself a gardener as well as a landscaper. i enjoy all aspects of gardening, not just sitting back and letting others do the hard labor. i love to feel the muscle strain and soil soaked fatigue washing over me at the end of the day. i think at this point there is truly no going back to an inside occupation. no tie, no desk job. i always told my father when i was younger that i would never wear a tie to work. i remember that he laughed and said, we will see. i did wear a tie for just a few years, but i kept being choked out by the starch in my collar. so i traded it in.
so a day in the life. today i picked up the truck at the top of the hill and drove down to meet the crew in laguna beach. over the weekend i leisurely worked at one of my client’s properties cleaning and pruning, so i had the guys help me load my truck with the green waste and then headed to the dump. yay, the dump! a good friend of mine and ex-tree pruner used to say that “it is never a good day until you’ve stood in a trash can”. i second that statement for sure. nothing like getting the attention of a young cutie by standing knee deep in a green waste trash can, stomping down leaves and twigs. so i drove to the dump to unload the truck and sent gilberto and ozzie out to do some maintenance.
i often enjoy driving to the dump. it’s a nice break. i get to drive and blast some Opeth or Mastodon, i get to clean out the truck and “get all OCD” about the truck organization and just relax knowing that work is getting done in my absence. i cruised back into laguna from the irvine dump and met up with guys. for an hour i pruned a boxwood hedge with my kick ass gas powered kawasaki hedge pruner. that thing could seriously lop a finger off in an instant. we cut some grass, pulled some weeds, watered the pots and beds.
lately we’ve been eating lunch at a little hole in the wall mexican joint on glenneyre called laguna feast. if you come to laguna and want some true authentic mexican food i suggest you eat here. they have the best salsa by far. can’t be touched. we are locals there by now and know the owner and his staff too well. i’ve been getting the wet burrito lately – awesome tender pork with green sauce on top.
after lunch we pruned hard for the rest of the afternoon. pruned back some trees and shrubs away from a retaining wall so that people could park closer to the house and not so much in the street. in the back of this same property i’ve been watching english ivy infiltrate the yard for some time now. i think the previous owner either planted a small ivy plant, or else as i’ve seen before they just set an indoor ivy topiary on the ground in the back for lack of anything else to do with it. either way the ivy has been creeping across the back planter for about 2 years now and it had actually begun to choke out other plants and to climb up trees.
the only way to get rid of ivy is to cut and tear it out. of course it depends how long the ivy has been growing and how thick it is. in this case it was easiest to just get on our knees and pull it out by hand.
each day i like to tackle something at each of the properties that i care for. whether i am fertilizing, dead-heading, watering, pruning, weeding, planting, amending soil – it doesn’t matter, i simply enjoy transforming and making a garden look better each time i am there. there is no such thing as a no maintenance garden. there is always something to do. always something to improve upon and make nicer.
i started out the business doing all of the work myself, but eventually was fortunate enough to have so many clients that i just couldn’t handle the work by myself. the day passes pleasantly with a little help as well. day after day it is a grind, just like anything you do over and over. but i tell myself when i get frustrated or tired that it could be worse. i could be sitting behind a desk fearing that the ceo is going to fire me, or that there is some secret meeting going on i am unaware of that is going to determine my fate.
gardening allows me to choose my own fate, plain and simple. i find solace in bringing people happiness through their gardens. gardening is what i do. i make it my business to do the best job over and over again and to constantly better my properties. when we loose the drive and motivation for what we do, we had better find a new source of inspiration to drive us forward. being with the plants and being outside everyday is what does it for me. i would rather work in an orchard picking fruit off trees all day long than be stuck inside with a tie on wishing i could feel the sun on my face.
get outside, dig in the dirt.
we ended the day with some simple sweeping up and weeding. everything is completely important when it comes to good gardening. no detail should be left undone or incomplete. i get ridiculed sometimes for my overly compulsive nature. but i just know how i like things done when it comes to gardening. it doesn’t mean i am not constantly bettering myself and learning – i am, trust me. i am humbled all the time. i realize i have a ton to learn. and all the time to learn it. my intent is true, my drive is pure. gardening, that’s it.