Insult to Injury

By the middle of June, most of the iris were happily blooming. The collection was sentimental – I am not a specimen gardener. The beige and burgundy iris were rescued from my former house. A friend kept them in her garden for a future home. The beige iris was sourced free on Toronto CL. They spent a year in a different friend’s garden as I waited for a house. The strange greyish iris was a hitch-hiker from the beige iris bed, and the yellow iris also hitched a ride from the friend’s garden. They got planted where I thought they would do okay – in the flower bed strip by the driveway.

I also planted daylily there – the ones from my cat Percy’s grave at the other house, and a bunch that I bought from a grower when I bought the house, to celebrate.

The planting was a little haphazard, with different colors jumbled together. A person of average intelligence could tell that this was a flower bed, though.

I planted some Russian Sage by the fence. In winter they die down then in the spring they will begin to grow back again. These were still pretty runty from only being planted the previous August. The Russian Sage by the Senior’s Center is well established and gets about 4 feet wide and tall by September.

The prior week, some dude from either the internet company or the locate service spoke to me while I was in the front yard. He mentioned that they would be installing cable. I asked if they would be digging up my yard, did I need to move some plants ? He assured me that they didn’t do this, that they have a drill that is controlled underground.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out my window on June 16, 2020 to see this:

I went outside and yelled at the guy. Some kind of foreman asshole came by. Not only had they dug up my Russian Sage, they drove a small bobcat THROUGH my flower bed ! The dickhead is the guy with the papers.

I was home the entire time. No one knocked on my door to inform me this was about to happen.

The foreman was probably the biggest asshole I have ever met.

He claimed that my house looked like “no one lived there”.

Yes, despite my recycling at the curb, like the other houses on the street, and live cats sitting in the front window. Obviously a vacant house !

The curb was damaged where the bobcat tore it up. The small Ontario Redbud sapling had been completely run over, with the bark stripped off half of it.

I was so angry.

I called the City – who said that actually that portion of my yard was owned by the City – so infrastructure contractors had the RIGHT to dig up a yard without notice. While I agree with this in principle – a gas leak or watermain break situation was an emergency, which this cable installation was NOT. The City also expects property owners to maintain this section of the yard which they in theory “actually” own – the City does not do planting or mow the grass or do anything.

I called the Internet Company who was responsible for this. I emailed photos and the specifics and they sent someone out to look at this.

I walked around the neighbourhood, and no one else’s yard had been torn up like this. Other yards had a small area disturbed for a sort of access lid to be installed.

The guy from the cable company said they had numerous issues with that particular contractor, and that the installation was supposed to have been done the previous November. It should be noted that this particular company is all about being a great neighbour, supporting local, bringing better internet to underserved areas, blahblahblah.

He agreed that the damage was due to intentional recklessness and should not have happened. They didn’t have to drive the bobcat through my flowerbed – the ends of the cable could have been pulled through by hand. I mean – there was a gate right there for easy entry/exit ?

I dug around in the worst mess and salvaged 2 damaged Russian Sage plants and the root portion of another, with the branches completely broken off.

I said that all I wanted was the replacement value of the plants.

The guy from the internet company agreed. I didn’t have receipts for the plants there – but estimated the current replacement value.

I was also assured this in writing from a different employee from this company. A friend complained on my behalf, and was also told, in writing, that I would have my plants replaced or given the replacement value.

COVID19 made everything weird. When I went to the three closest garden centers, they were as picked over as if it was the end of September. Plants that were normally $ 9.99 were now $ 14.99.

The grower I bought the daylily from no longer stocked this variety – Persian Market – a large salmon colored bloom. Neither did any of the local growers.

The internet company guy agreed to replace the damaged plants. But there were no iris left in stock at the garden centers – let alone any of those mystery heritage iris.

So what happened ?

I was never paid a cent.

I emailed the internet company a couple of times, and no one replied to my very specific inquiry.

I called the guy I dealt with in person a couple of times. He said there was a little chaos because people were moving back into the office from working at home, and that I would get the funds for replacement plants right away.

Then nothing.

So, 9 months later all I can do is send a registered letter to these jerks, with proof of what they said.

The cost to replace the damaged Russian Sage(7 plants), Redbud sapling, daylily (approximately 20 plants) and iris (approximately 20 plants) would be about $ 500.00, not including tax. This also does not include a repair to the damaged curb.

While it could be argued that I had gotten many of the plants for free, these had been damaged/killed and all I wanted was a suitable replacement.

I have no answer why my property in particular has suffered this indignity – while no others did !

1 Comment

  1. This is my fear with gardening out front, which is why I haven’t done much closest to the street. Our side of the street currently has no sidewalk of any kind. We keep hearing that as they are repaving our street, sidewalk will eventually be put on both sides. No one ever knows when.

    Like

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