Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We Love Our Gardener

Although very few of the property owners in Los Altos de Cerro Azul are full-time residents, most with a house on their lot have a gardener, and even some with no house have a gardener. (It could be argued that a gardener is needed more if the owner is not living up here.) When a property is sold, it is customary for the gardener to continue on with the new owners.

Casita Naranja did not have a real gardener, although there was a guy who came over once in a while to mow the yard. He has mowed only once since late September when we began spending time here. That was in early November. We have not heard from him since, although we thought we had an agreement with him to mow & rake once a month. Even so, the yard shows signs of many months or years of general neglect with only the occasional few hours of attention.

During our August search for property we met Arturo, a gardener for several properties up here, some of which were for sale. He led us inside 3 of them to take a tour. I got a really good vibe from Arturo (I'm all about the vibe), and the properties he took care of all looked great. His wife, Marizin, is a housekeeper for some of them, and she keeps the interiors absolutely spotless. They were both so responsible, reliable and respectful of the properties under their care - Les and I were impressed. (The respect thing - maybe that's not quite the right word - is somewhat uncommon here and, come to think of it, not all that common elsewhere. Often a worker, our former "gardener" included, leaves a trail of dirt, paint, leaves, grass clippings, and general disarray whenever he goes into the house, even appropriating as rags our towels intended for dishes or hands.) Arturo showed great care when he went in the houses - he left no trails.

So when the former "gardener" continued to be a no-show, we tracked down Arturo, and he now counts us on his list of clients. We are really pleased and excited to enlist his services.

Arturo does not speak English, and I do not speak Spanish, so we are on equal footing. But we have managed to communicate in his speedy style and my halting manner, and during his three visits so far, he has made great strides with the yard. He has good ideas regarding the choice and placement of plants, and has already figured out the things we like. First he brought and planted 3 more small banana trees and some flowering plants that he calls "Novio Chino" - I'm finding the translation is "Chinese Boyfriend" ?? Anyway, I think they are Impatiens; some have have pink flowers and others have orange flowers. Next time, he brought some Hortensia (he says they will have many flowers) and some "Bandera", as well as several tomato plants. We feel like we are on the right course with Arturo.

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