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A Day In The Life Of An L.A. Gardener

Jenn Velez |
June 10, 2014 | 1:33 p.m. PDT

From early morning to mid-afternoon, it is not uncommon to see gardeners roaming the luxurious and more middle-class neighborhoods around Los Angeles. They travel across town in pickup trucks with  tailgates full of tools. These men—often wearing jeans, a t-shirt, work boots and a cap to protect them from the blazing sun on hot days—are almost synonymous with Latino immigrants. But this was not always the case.

Today, there is a lot of competition between gardeners.

In this story, Juan, a gardener—or jardinero—from South Los Angeles explains how the face of  landscaping service has changed. L.A. gardening services are not the same as they were 30 years ago. This occupational niche was not always highly dominated by Latino men seeking to be business owners, it was once dominated by Japanese immigrant men. Juan did not disclose the amount of money he makes, but said it depended on each client. Some clients are more generous than others. 

“In a neighborhood like Beverly Hills or Westwood you see five gardening crews on one block,” Juan shared. Most have to learn to be versatile and do everything from mowing lawns to trimming trees to stay on top.

Considered a veteran amongst gardeners, Juan does not struggle with keeping his clients. He happily shares stories of his relationships with his generous clients. Through a visit to one of the houses where he works, Juan also guides us through some of the services he provides.

Reach Contributor Jenn Velez by email. Follow @jennvelez on Twitter.



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