My grandmother was an excellent gardener. When she bought her acreage years ago in the wilds of Burnaby, she had the biggest farm yields of anyone in the area. My summers were spent helping her harvest huge potatoes, apples, cherries, carrots, radishes, onions, beans and lettuce. Even when her property location turned industrial, she kept her garden going until the end. One of the saddest days of my life was seeing the rich soil, that my grandma worked so hard to cultivate, ploughed under and turned into a Mr. Lube.
I, unfortunately, did not inherit my grandmother’s green thumb. My one plastic plant melted in the window when I left it in the sun too long.
When I bought my house, I wasn’t really thinking much about the outside of it. After last year’s fiasco, when I let the grass grow so long, transients thought the place abandoned and set up camp in my backyard, I knew I had to keep things a little more under control this summer.
The gardens in my neighbourhood are gorgeous. Kitsgals go to endless lengths to ensure that their gardens are as lovely as they are. This is not to say that you will ever see a Kitsgal doing her own gardening – she will hire a gardener to do it for her.
The gardeners of Kitsilano are an interesting breed. Not any old gardener will do. No. A gardener in Kitsilano must be flamboyant or famous or preferably both. Most have their own TV show.
My neighbours hired a lovely man by the name of Francesco to do their lawn and garden. On a whim, I asked Francesco to give me an estimate on my lawn care. He came over to do his assessment and gave me this list:
- Manicuring of lawn
- Fluffing of hedges
- Chastising of weeds
- Verbal encouragement of flowers
- Mineral soak and steam for all plants
- Whisking of soil
- Feng shui-ing the rocks
- Hugging of trees
The total bill came to $800, which I thought was high but okay for a full summer’s worth of spa treatments for my lawn. I fell over when Francesco told me that it would be $800 per week. Eeek. There has got to be another way.
I know doing it myself would be the cheapest option, but I am busy and lazy. I began to look for another solution.
Soon my prayers were answered when I saw a hastily written note and phone number taped to a telephone pole. “Youth Lawn Care Services” it read. Cost is $5 per hour. I ripped the sign off the pole and ran home.
I promptly contacted the owner and operator of “Youth Lawn Care Services, Inc.” one Mr. Trenton Finch. Mr. Finch is nine years old and wants to buy a trampoline. He was very clear to me about his hours of work – he said he was unavailable Monday to Friday between 8am and 3pm. I am guessing he is either going to school during those hours or has another job in a bank.
Mr. Finch has been working for me for approximately one month now. I have paid him a total of $25 to chastise my weeds. You know, I am usually appalled when I hear that Nike or Wal-Mart have used child labour, but now I can see its benefits.