DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a gardener who I have been using for many years. He’s gotten much older, and I’ve noticed that his work isn’t as good as it used to be. He tends to show up late and leave early; he reschedules and cancels a lot; sometimes he forgets to come by at all. The grass is cut unevenly, and he leaves a chopped grass trail on the lawn. It doesn’t look like he is trimming my hedges at all. I’ve asked him to bring extra help to get the work done; he says he will, but he shows up alone, saying the guys weren’t able to come in to work. I get the feeling that his health is not great and his business is slowing down, which is why he doesn’t bring other workers anymore.
It feels like I’m wasting money because my yard doesn’t look like I have a gardener. I want to hire someone else, but I am stuck as to how I am going to fire him. Any tips on how to let him go? -- Goodbye Old Gardener
DEAR GOODBYE OLD GARDENER: Ask your gardener to meet with you. Thank him for his many years of service to your garden. Offer him a small token gift, along with a check or cash, as a thank-you for helping you for so many years. Tell him that you no longer will be needing him to work for you, but you want him to know how much you appreciate his dedication to your lawn. If he says he wants to continue to come, gently let him know that you will not be hiring him in the new year.