Posted: 29/04/2016 at 19:40
Bulkerb I had a similar problem last year. My main client went to see a show garden in France. She came back and wondered why hers wasn't as good. I asked her to tell me about the garden. She then described a full time gardener and the money spent on the garden by the owners. I politely pointed out the difference in a few days a week and the budget and how it being my first year in the garden I had to learn how the garden worked, what went with what, what was out of place what needed pruning, when, how, and if she wanted what she wanted then it took my time my skill and above all HER patience and trust in me. Previously she had let the garden go after the death of her husband and the previous gardener just followed her instructions resulting in semi organised chaos. Tell them what you're doing, why and when and what for and what the result will be. If necessary point out they know a lot less than you do and that's why they employ you. Take them on a tour and get them to point out what they're not happy with. If what they come up with is either not possible or just blatant ignorance then be frank with them and don't pull your punches. You need to be brutally honest with the clients. Tell them of they're not happy then get another gardener. If they can find one who keeps that as well you obviously do then be prepared to walk away. Either that or increase your days or increase your rate of pay. Much as though it hurts not to be appreciated (I know the feeling only too well), good gardeners are hard to find. Let them get a cowboy in. There are a lot more cowboys about than good gardeners.
By the way, she's now perfectly happy and I can't keep up with the recommendations. I have over 300 plants in a greenhouse that was empty last year, plus more arriving. Don't forget you're in charge of the garden, that's what they employ you for. Rose beds look rubbish at this time of year anyway.