Verdant View

By Francisco Nava

Effective Communication With Your Gardener

dahlia 2021


A few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Many people ask what is the primary difference between gardeners at Lakeside and gardeners north of the border? Aside from language, we primarily see two types of gardening jobs. First is the garden maintenance of an existing garden.  Second is landscaping/renovation garden work, which may include maintenance.

Most clients do not tell their gardener what they want. They expect the gardener to know or guess accurately what is needed and then do the job.  For a gardener this can be stressful and trying. 

Sit down with your gardener, offer them a glass of iced tea and really try to tell them what you expect, what you envision. Make a plan and then execute it. Take time to exchange ideas and skill sets. The more details the better. A photo of what you have in mind is extremely helpful. Get to know your gardener.

A little bit of Spanish helps the gardener...a lot! Even understanding 10% of spoken Spanish will work.

Ser amables.  Be respectful and kind to the gardener, even with items outside of gardening.

“We are not handymen. Please do not expect us to do jobs outside of our gardener’s agreement. We will be happy to consider other work. Speak to us about this other work as if it were another job.”

Most gardeners here are aware of what gardeners are paid up north, and feel that their work should be fairly compensated. “Why is there such a discrepancy between salaries here and there?” they ask.

Mexican gardeners should have a knowledge base of local plants, seasons, conditions, pests, etc.

Most gardeners have experience in other fields of work. Most did not work exclusively as gardeners…they may have been construction workers, handymen, etc. Keep this in mind as you utilize your gardeners for work around your property. Perhaps these other skills will prove helpful in your garden.

Honesty is primary and key. Tip your gardener when they do an exceptional job or when they go that “extra mile.” Even a small tip of $20 pesos is greatly appreciated. This tells the gardener that they are doing a good job and that it is noticed.

Get from and give feedback to your gardeners, be it positive or negative.  Let them know if they do a job well or if the job is not being done to your liking. This helps them learn your preferences, your likes, etc.


Unlike May, regular rains come in the month of July which means things are perhaps too wet for some plants to thrive. Let your geraniums dry out between watering, if possible, and herbs too. At the viveros, you will find dahlias, gazanias, zinnias and lisianthus. You may have to protect some things from too much water, particularly new seedlings in flower and vegetable gardens.  And it’s still quite hot. Keep up with the garden pests and beware of diseases like powdery mildew. Think about planting asters, balloon flower, cone flower, lobelia and freesia. You can still plant Swiss chard, peppers, eggplant, leeks and okra. Container gardening gives you an opportunity to add more interest to your patios and terraces and also to move things out of heavy rains and hot sun. With the heavy rains, fertilizers leach out of the soil very quickly. Compost helps.


El Ojo del Lago - Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:


Pin It
Verdant View By Francisco Nava The Monarch and Milkweed My partner has created a monarch nursery in his garden to collect, nurture and help birth
Verdant View Welcome to Verdant View, your monthly column for everything “green” at Lakeside. In this monthly addition to El Ojo Del Lago publication,
Verdant View By Francisco Nava The Guamuchil   When I first arrived at lakeside nine years ago, I was living in upper Ajijic, hiking quite a lot
Verdant View By Francisco Nava Heirloom vs. Hybrid vs. GMO   The terms “hybrid,” “heirloom,” and “genetically modified organisms (GMO)”
Verdant View By Francisco (Fco.) Nava - Bio November 2021 Harvest - A Family Affair October 2021 The Three Sisters September
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
    MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING   Column: Profiling Tepehua   Website:   Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The
  KEN MASSON   Column: Bridge by the Lake   Website:   Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge
 Find us on Facebook