Gardener Scissorhands: Part II

If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember the day our gardeners, using only very rudimentary tools, managed to bludgeon a water pipe while toppling our Damas trees.

After four hours with no water, and maintenance refusing to come (because “it’s the gardeners’ fault”), the boss garden man announced with a megawatt grin: “It’s fixed!”

Funnily, his head scarf had disappeared.

Layan Community - gardens destroyed
A sad day for our garden at Layan Community

But actually I have a big soft spot for our gardeners. They might have very little English and even less gardening knowledge, but they’re nice to my children, and kept our garden not just alive but manicured in extreme temperatures for seven long summers.

During the hot months, they toil away with beads of sweat rolling down their foreheads, doing much of the work with their hands, literally scrabbling around in the dirt with their fingers to plant flowers.

As well as plying them with water and biscuits, I’ve run out to offer them a trowel before (you’d think their company would provide one!), and when we asked them to prune some tall trees, we discovered their employer doesn’t equip them with a ladder either.

Said gardeners now have their last job to do at our old house – tearing the garden down (why? Click here), and it was a sad day today when I saw all our plants and trees chopped up. The dying grass, killed by the sun and broken irrigation, was tinged with brown and looked like the burnt-out end of a cigarette.

Returned to sand as no-one wants to pay for watering
Returned to sand as no-one wants to pay for watering

A lone palm tree stood sentinel against the clear blue sky, with a trough dug all around it, ready for the massive tree to be pulled up (the gardeners are trying to steal it to sell, but we’re turning a blind eye). We popped into the empty house, where the AC was still running, and our crew of men were all fast asleep on the hard floor. We pushed the door shut quietly – it’s inhumane to expect anyone to work outdoors in the stifling heat of the midday sun.

Tomorrow, they should (hopefully!) show up at our new house to start the whole process again; right now, the small yard is a sand pit, and the sand gets everywhere, so I’m really looking forward to this place greening up. Especially as the compound’s landscapers also appear to have chop-tastic tendencies and have pruned the bushy Desert Grass out the back to within two inches of its life.

Gotta love Dubai gardeners and their scissorhands – but such a pity we’ve been forced to destroy our much-loved gardens at Layan Community.

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