So last Friday I was really looking forward to a reunion with my garden after being away almost all week. A local landscaping company called Greenwise was supposed to have done the spring cleanup while I was gone, and I was eager to see everything nice and neat, along with whatever might be newly sprouting or in bloom.
I do all my own gardening, except when it comes to spring cleanup, which has gotten to be too much for me. One reason I chose this company is that instead of hauling away all the leaves and plant debris, they promise to mulch and reapply it to the beds and borders. Here’s what it says in the company website:
We return the leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and sticks to your soil in the form of compost and mulch. This adds valuable nutrition to your gardens and improves the structure of your soil.
Last year, their crew arrived when Judy was at home. However, instead of mulching the plant debris, they blew it out of the beds with a high power leafblowers, then loaded it onto a truck and took it away. This is standard mow and blow landscaping, and Judy was pretty upset.
I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were overwhelmed and gave the work to a subcontractor. However, this year I sent them a message just to ensure there was no misunderstanding. I asked them not to remove the plant debris, but instead to grind it and return it to the beds. If there was too much, leave it by the garage. I was notified that my message had been received and forwarded to the appropriate person.
Fast forward to last Friday. What I saw when I got home was not what I expected. Every scrap of organic matter had been blown off the beds and there was no sign of it anywhere. When I called the company to complain, the person I talked acted like he had no idea what I was talking about.
Of course, the Greenwise website makes clear that after I pay them to remove all the surface organic matter, I can also pay them to return it in the form of their mulch and compost.
What’s depressing is that most likely the overwhelming majority of their customers are perfectly happy with this type of service. The fact that plant debris is important for both soil and wildlife has most likely not sunk in very deep. Meantime, people who hire a landscaper that touts its “green” credentials feel like they are doing the right thing.
Greenwise claims to be an organic landscaper, which is certainly a good thing if true. But now I’ll have to buy extra compost for our beds and borders (not from them, and I’ll apply it myself). And for next spring, I’ll be looking for another company to do the cleanup.