Monday, April 30, 2007

Death in the Garden

The landlord's "landscapers" are here today. They have buzzed every blade of grass down to the dirt and zapped every last tendril of wisteria from the yard next door that I trained to hang over the fence so we could enjoy the blooms, too. The lilacs have been hacked into oblivion, the roses trimmed back to stumps, and the hydrangeas eliminated just as they had begun to bud. Even the lilies are gone. The lilies. What did they ever do to anyone?

It looks like the end of the world out there.This is the owner's idea of tending our "garden." Some people have no soul. The scene is one of utter devastation. They have gone to war against the roses and emerged victorious. My English country garden is now an uninhabitable planet.

I am the only person in our building who uses the backyard. I prune the roses in the fall, and deadhead the hydrangeas when they have finished blooming so they can make new flowers the next year. I've been encouraging several lilac shoots that had sprung up on our side of the fence, and now they are gone, too. Even the colorful nasturtiums that are so delightful in small kitchen bouquets and salads have been raped by the marauding armies. My mint patch is defunct. I had five or six varieties planted there, all gone. It is an ex-mint patch now. They did the same thing last year at about this time. I hoped it was an aberration, but apparently, it's a habit.

Trees defoliated more than once go into Irreversible Decline Syndrome. Over several years, they die, one branch at a time.

I wonder if there is a human corollary. Do those who have been hurt more than once in relationships close down their hearts so that love refuses to bloom there again? It wouldn't surprise me. There are three men stomping among the plants, loud machines strapped to their backs like suicide bombers. If they touch anything in my flower pots, there will be a murder. I am watching.


The Moon Topples said...

Is it possible that your landlord hired landscrapers instead? An honest mistake, as the two are very similar-looking. And they are right next to each other in the phone book.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm sure you are right. I feel so foolish now.

In the aftermath of the cataclysm, no birds sing.

meno said...

My guess is that your landlord has done the cheapest thing he/she can so that they won't have to come back for a year.

How sad. If you kill them, no jury would convict you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You nailed it. And I take it as a personal statement of what he thinks of his tenants.

I just went for a walk. I noticed that all the Other Places have lovely plantlife growing unmolested. What a novel concept.

Anonymous said...

That's tragic. you pose an interesting question. In my experience love blooms, just the blooming seasons are shortened and they easily reject most soils.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think perhaps people differ in that some can't recover from the pain of lost love, while others are more resilient.

It's downright spooky out there. Nothing is moving. It looks like a war zone in which Agent Orange was a major player.

monicker said...

I think I would have to kill those jerks as so few things actually grow under my care. It's heartless, just soulless to destroy a garden like that!

Michael C said...

Sounds like my yard when I mow and weedwhack. Only difference: my isn't intentional.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I am furious and also sad. I work so hard at creating beauty, yet I have no say in its destruction.

The property owner is a boorish man whose only interest is in collecting the rent.


Please try harder. Plants are people, too.

Joan said...

A beautiful garden only makes property more valuable...not less. Why in the world would your landlord pay money to ravage such an obvious asset? Oh right...stupidity!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm sure he pays less than minimum wage under the table for the level of skill he employs here.

What harm could there be in allowing the backyard to be a garden?

flutter said...

ah yes, the cost saving measures of a savage. pleh.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


He's a pig. He inherited the property and several others from his father, who was supposedly a nice man.

I cannot help but feel that destroying the garden was an act of contempt, but perhaps I am politicizing his motives.

mist1 said...

"Do those who have been hurt more than once in relationships close down their hearts so that love refuses to bloom there again?"

Lord, I hope not.

Liz said...

Yeah, we get the buzz cut on everything down here as well including the flowers. One time they trimmed a tree out back to the point that they might as well have just cut the poor thing down. Maybe my landlord owns your building as well.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I hope not, too. Most of us are optimistic enough to believe we will get it right next time.


It sounds like the groundskeeping equivalent of welfare food. Give as little as possible (while charging the max allowed by law.)

This guy probably does own real estate in both cities. There is no way he won't be homeless in his next incarnation.

EsLocura said...

One of the finest things about living in Puerto Rico is the beautiful Flora , I can't imaine why anyone would want to hurt flowers, I guess some people just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I can see this happening as I read, I can see this lovely garden turning into a wasteland of grayish brown dirt and it makes me rather sick.

Is the image there a stock shot? You didnt take that did you? It is lovely.

When you pay to have someone do something, there is an element of care that is (far) removed. This story really does sicken me. Sorry.

Odat said... devastating.....I would be sad too!!! Hopefull they'll come back stronger than ever!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I've been to your garden island, and the flora is truly astonishing.

PR is my kind of place.


Stock image, but it looks like what I was developing here.

It's times like this that I most miss the home we sold before moving to CA.


Thanks for the positive words.

They did this last year, too. A few months later, everything had come back and they did it again.

This massacre was no accident.

MsLittlePea said...

Oh no! My heart broke reading this! I love plants. My green thumb is limited to a few house plants and some ivy and a tomato vine on my patio but still. Your poor roses and lilacs. Damn him! Damn them all I say! A real landscaper would have pruned, weeded, and nipped. Your garden hath been violated....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

Raped, pillaged and plundered.

I love plants, too. It's beyond sterile out there. I can't believe the birds are gone, too, even my owl.

CS said...

This would make me physcially ill, I think. Around here, there is a common pratcice of "topping" trees, leaving them horribly mutilated (and vulnerable to a premature death). It sickens me.

seventh sister said...

You just need to ge the flock outa there.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I remember the tree "topping" from NC and TN. The town hacked my favorite Redbud trees that bordered our property because the branches extended a little. I was livid.

This is truly sickening. I'm still not over the absolute hush back there. They savagely laid waste to every living thing.


It is a consideration. It's damaging when you can't control your own environment.

Open Grove Claudia said...

You know, sometimes landlords do that when they are selling the building or refinancing. Any news about that?

I'm sorry about the destruction. Sometimes, that kind of hacking back can bring a lovely rebound to the garden. That's what I'm hoping for you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


We would be the last to know if they are selling it.

Thank you for your kind wishes. It looks like a parking lot w/o cars now, but I'll try to keep a good thought.

My heart runneth over... said...

If I could I would line them all up and kick each and everyone of those evil people where it hurts EXACTLY!

That's awful. Simply awful. I am so sorry your garden is gone! Hope it grows back quick!


Ian Lidster said...

What a travesty! There is a special Hell for such soulless buffoons. And yes, I think the human heart is like those trees, but I also think with just the right ministrations the heart can recover. Don't know how often, however.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


They deserve to be kicked hard.

This is just an incentive to do something about having our own place again.


Exactly. I'm sure it varies from person to person, but "the right ministrations" is the key.

Some of us are luckier than others.

katrice said...

What cruelty!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I"m glad to see you again. You were missed.

velvet girl said...

Ugh. Don't even get me started on landscaping companies. Their "work" is so easy to spot at fifty yards: everything chopped within an inch of its life, rows of unimaginative plants stuck into the ground in grid formation, and then the surgically edged beds layed down with a perfect layer of red bark mulch. Ooh, shudder!

That's what happens when you have a company run by people with no idea whatsoever about actual gardening.

I think I'll go look out my window at my garden to get that image out of my mind. ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


What was done here was more along the lines of surgical amputation. They left no blade of grass or leaf behind. It was just brutal, and I feel personally violated, even though I do realize that I'm reading more into it than is there.

It's totally barren, and two days later, the birds have still not returned.

Parlancheq said...

Ha! My landlady's landscapers came and spread woodchips to ensure that nothing can grow in the flowerbeds... except, of course, the plastic flowers the landlady stuck there. Very classy. ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Classy, indeed. Plastic flowers and plants are a particular peeve of mine. I just don't get the reason for them. If you're so lazy that you can't be bothered watering plants, then don't have any, but plastic?!!!


So do they call the place Woodchip Manor? Plastic Paradise? How about Cheapass Gardens?

Crankster said...

I once had a beautiful herb garden. My then-landlord sent over a group of monosyllabic troglodytes who adopted a scorched-earth policy vis-a-vis my little spot of heaven. I moved out.

The next tenants wrecked the place, and my faith in God was restored.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I also have a large herb garden in strawberry jars and other pots out there. The troglodytes lopped off some of my plants, but I think it was an accident.

Lately, I am thinking more about moving to a place where I can plant things, knowing that their survival is in my hands.