Jamaicans are proud of their gardens, no matter how small the patch. But we are often left bewildered instead of serene in gardens that are supposed to be our oases at home. You step into your yard that you are paying someone to turn into a tropical oasis. You expect a riotous explosion of color and blooms and edges sharper than the new Jamaican bank notes. Instead, it's a floral wasteland, with nary a petal in sight. You find yourself in a botanical landscape of weeds staging a hostile takeover.

If plants you once admired seem to have taken legs and gone walkabout, your gardener’s thumb might be greening his pockets rather than your garden. You have to decide whether he is
a tad incompetent or pulling one over on you? Is he a ginal or jack of no trade. Grab your pruning shears and your sense of humor and let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the botched gardening services.

If your gardener seems to have a vendetta against shrubbery and treats every plant like a bonsai project gone wrong, you may be dealing with a certified snip-happy individual. Remember, there's a fine line between shaping and scalping. Why is half the rose bush missing? You might be dealing with a charlatan and your rose bush could just be setting down roots in someone else’s yard who “got a deal” from your gardener.

If your gardener has a tendency to spread mulch with all the grace and precision of a toddler finger painting, you may want to reconsider his landscaping skills. Mulch is supposed to be the crowning glory of a well-tended garden, not a source of confusion and dismay. If, on the other hand, your flower beds are as naked as the day they were dug, it might be time to ask the question, “where is the mulch?” You remember paying for it and watching it being delivered, so…

Weeds are the uninvited guests of the gardening world – they always show up when you least expect them and stay even after you do your best to make them go away. If your gardener seems to have a special bond with weeds, nurturing them with the care and attention typically reserved for prize-winning roses, it might be time to have a serious chat about his priorities.

Does navigating your yard feel more like a jungle expedition than a leisurely stroll? Like mazes of misplaced ambition, the mess of your garden reveals the ineptitude of your gardening help.  What should be a tranquil escape becomes an obstacle course of tangled paths and pop up shrubbery. The only thing harder to navigate than the grassy maze is the gardener’s skills.

Then there is the case of the MIA gardener. If your gardener has a habit of saying good morning but you don’t see him again till noon, it could be a sign that he’s not committed to cultivating – at least not a relationship with your garden. Head over to Havendale and you might just find he is cheating on your gardening time with another homeowner whom he promised “tomorrow” on getting the job done and getting paid for two jobs (done or not) in one day.

These are some of the signs that your gardener might just be a few petals short of a full bloom or a whole bouquet of stinkweed. Remember, laughter is the best fertilizer for your soul and in the end – sometimes, the most beautiful gardens are the ones touched by a bit of whimsy and wackiness. So, embrace the quirks and quibbles as even the most incompetent gardener can inspire a hearty chuckle and a newfound appreciation for the unpredictable nature of Mother Nature herself.