So, the gardener bangs on my window

to the point of almost shattering it……it’s Thursday.  It’s 7pm….The weekend started 4 hours ago……

‘What does he want?’ I wonder…..’I don’t owe him money (yet!).

I really don’t want him to hoike up the creeper and attach it to the 1st floor balcony now…..doesn’t he know it’s the weekend?

Begrudgingly moving from our staple-start-of-the-weekend-fare, sausages, chips and beans, I open the door to see him brandishing an empty 250ml water bottle.  I raise my eyes to heaven.  It’s almost mid-July.  It’s the desert. It’s mid-summer.  Throw in a bit of humidity for good measure and it feels like a sauna on overdrive ALL the time.  250ml of water won’t cut it.

I refuse his bottle and shuffle off to the water cooler to fill a 1.5l bottle instead.

He now has my attention and he starts to speak and gesticulate towards certain plants in the back garden.   He always speaks to me in his native tongue (which, as most gardeners come from remote parts of Pakistan, I assume is some form of Urdu).  This always makes me giggle.  The likelihood of me speaking a sub-continent language is as likely as the gardener understanding the importance of horse manure to roses.  My general reaction is to nod my head from side to side, wave my arms from side to side and say ‘NO’.  I always get the feeling he is asking me if he can chop things down…..

For months now DH has been telling me to fire him and find another gardener who knows something about gardens.  His idea of pruning is to take a large garden shears to anything that has a flower on it.  In the height of summer, when temperatures can reach 50+ degrees, he thinks cutting back all the shady trees/plants is a good idea.  Fertiliser is a foreign concept (despite the fact the biggest plant nursery is within walking distance of the sewage treatment plant!).  We are now on our third creeper for the front wall of the house.  Under the gardener’s watch, we have seen two of them die a dry, hot, barren death……not that the gardener would have noticed had we not pointed out the leaves should be green and not crumple-dry brown.

I can’t bring myself to sack the poor chap.  All I know is he works hard and tries his best.  He pushes his petrol fuelled lawnmower with as much intention as if he were representing Pakistan in the gardening Olympics.  As for his green fingers….well, let’s just say, I, who struggled to grow watercress in damp cotton wool, stand a better chance of saving my grass and plants from the tortuous sun……but I just cannot bring myself to replace him.

I Google ‘gardening in the desert’.  The results are not very fruitful.  I feel like one needs an horticultural degree to be capable of nurturing anything in this cruel environment.  I decide the gardener is doing a perfectly good job.    DH, if you want me to sack the gardener… had better find me an equally hardworking/better replacement!

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