Just got a letter that ruined my 2013 growing season

Karolina11(6b Central PA)January 19, 2013

I just received a letter from our sewer authority saying they will be redoing the sewer line behind our house from March until late summer. They are requesting a 40 foot temporary easement into our land and going across the property and tearing up everything to put a new sewer line in. This was not a previously agreed upon easement. That encompasses all of my full-sun beds.

I have hundreds of dollars of perennials and roses in those rose beds and have 140 roses ordering coming March, a majority of which were destined for those beds. According to our neighbor, they will replace trees they took out and compensate some value for plants. However, that doesn't change the fact that these are mature plants and trees, not young ones. I don't even know what to do now. Do I begin digging everything out in the middle of winter in an attempt to save it? I don't even have enough pots. I would also hate to cancel thousands of dollars from nurseries for bareroots but I am unsure I can or want to attempt to keep them alive in pots for the season.

I am losing 90% of my beds for the 2013 season and very much upset right now. Has anyone else gone through this? Any advice?

P.S. I understand this is not as bad as everyone going through terrible droughts or gardens decimated by disease so I apologize if I am coming off as too dramatic. It is just very upsetting at the moment.

This post was edited by Karolina11 on Sat, Jan 19, 13 at 18:15

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I can't even imagine!

I wonder if your local Rose Buds (Rose society) could be prevailed upon to foster some of them until you are ready to replant.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 6:13PM
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I feel your pain. We received notice a toll road was going straight through our property. I was sick over it for months, then they realized a creek runs through our property and changed the alignment, but it could change back again at any time. I know how depressed you must be, and you have my deepest sympathies.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 6:34PM
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I'm so sorry to here that! I would be devasted as well. Wish I could think of something to help, but I'm drawing a blank. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Photograph everything and make lists. You have rare things not just easily replaced plants. Maybe some of these can be split into smaller pieces that can be put in pots just in case the big plants don't do well. I would put up a low cost pipe frame shade house for the hardest to replace plants. Can friends and neighbors babysit some perennials? There has to be a way to save some of your shrubs and maybe when the time comes they don't need the whole area or can work with you to set some of it aside. But be sure to document everything.

When our main line broke, I had to dig up a big group of roses in haste and lost my beautiful Mutabilis that had been there 12 years. Can you contact someone and have them come out and explain where they will be exactly. Maybe they will not need all the room or at the least you might get the help of the person in charge to save what they can.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Terry Crawford

Your letter says they are 'requesting a temporary easement'. Can you deny their request? I would ask for a sit-down meeting with pictures of your property, mature trees, garden plans, etc. and explain your garden value before I'd let anyone with a backhoe near your land. And for sure if you DO have to grant that darn easement, I'd get a value in writing before I let them dig.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:06PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I'm with Terryjean. That's -- AWFUL.

Yes. Definitely get photos.
Definitely request a meeting with them.

And -- this might cost, but I believe I would consult an attorney to determine your rights, and the extent of this entity's power.

One of the cable companies, some years ago, came around and piled enough new equipment on an existing electric pole that it required stabilizing. They ran a massive woven steel cable from the pole top to an anchor which they placed in the middle of our neighbor's front lawn. She was elderly, and they didn't ask her.

I went over and woke her up and got her out there, and she told them to remove it. I went in and contacted the electric company (owners of the pole) and determined that they had no right to do that.

They told her: "This is important -- this equipment will allow your neighbors down the hill to get our service!" and teeny little thing that she was, she drew herself up and said she didn't know those people and didn't care where they watched television.

They would have greatly lessened the value of her property -- and it was her biggest retirement asset. Don't let them get away with anything they don't have a legal right to.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Karolina, I cannot even begin to imagine how that must feel! I am sure they have no idea what an issue this is for some gardeners who spend their sweat and money to build something beautiful only to have it trampled into the dust.

I had a similar situation where the city reclaimed some land behind our house for a horse trail. I won't go into details but we had no legal leg to stand on. I had planted it with thousands of dollars of trees and plants, including roses in the area. Rather than fight against city hall (you won't win) I tried to make it as palatable and workable as possible for them and for us. My neighbor fought it tooth and nail and made the situation far worse for himself. He got no sympathy or help whatsoever, in fact, I believe they actually tried to make it more difficult for him. The worst thing you can do is to get angry at anyone you come in contact with who can make your situation worse.

The first step is to identify the specifics about your particular property. Find out who to talk to and try to get some specific answers for your property. This is just fact finding and not a negotiation. You are just trying to find out how this will impact you and your individual property. if you have the real estate papers from your home purchase you may have a plot number or other details of a property. You may have a blueprint of your lot. This will be helpful in discussing your specific lot with the person.

Second, after you know what you are up against, calmly sit down and write down all your biggest concerns and questions. This is the time to think logically. Focus on the biggest issues and not details. Which areas are the most difficult / expensive for you to replace and can they be protected either by you or the sewer company? Can you negotiate the areas on your specific that will be affected? How much area will be destroyed totally, etc. how could it be protected? Can you stake out the area they will need for access and get a commitment that the damage will not go beyond the borders of the stakes? What can you do to minimize the damage? How will they minimize the damage? You get the idea. Do not overdo it and get too hopeful that you can somehow avoid all damage. There will be some. You're just trying to minimize it.

Third is to meet face to face with someone who can answer your questions regarding your specific lot. I can tell you this much. Bureaucrats in a position of power don't respond with much empathy to letters or phone calls. Anger or being difficult is like gasoline on the fire and you will be the only one burned. They are called the Sewer AUTHORITY for a reason. They have the power and you don't.

Meet with the highest person in charge (a decision maker) you can by scheduling a time (at their convenience) for a face to face meeting. ASK FOR THEIR BUSINESS CARD. Give them piece of paper with your name and address. Thank them for meeting with you and taking their time. It would be helpful if you had a copy of the blueprint from the city records office for your LOT/property so they can show you what will happen as it relates to you. Ask to staple their card to your blueprint. Be very polite and ask all your questions. Use your property blueprint copy and mark it up. TAKE NOTES. How much area on your your specific property will be affected, for how long, etc. Can they give you specific details about your property? Remember, they sent out a form letter that is full of generalities. The specifics of your situation will be different. Most likely it will not be worse than what the letter states. They have to CYA for the lawyers so they will usually make it sound worse or as unspecified as possible to avoid lawsuits.

Do not let anyone shrug your questions off. Get real answers to your SPECIFIC most important questions and be persistent but have empathy for the fact you are not the only one upset at them. Above all be nice and acknowledge how difficult this must be for them too. They are just doing their job. I remember starting most of my conversations with something like "I'm sure this must be really difficult for you guys and I don't want to make things more difficult for you but could I ask....... you get the idea.

I would also contact a local gardening service BEFORE your meeting and find out an estimate of the cost to have them dig up your most important plants, put them in nursery containers and then replant them after it's done. Try to get the estimate as detailed as possible as opposed to one lump sum. For example, 22 plants in 5 gallon cans @ $x per for a sub-total of $, 35 in 10 gallon cans, 20 in 15 gallon cans, etc.

Now is the time to ask what the sewer authority would be willing to compensate you if you had a service do some work. If you got an estimate would they honor the total, etc.? Show them the estimate. They will likely be as shocked as you are by how much it will cost to "make you whole" when this is all over. Use words like, "minimize the cost, recover my landscaping investment, etc."

Anytime they so no, say OK, I understand...my concern is just xyz, what can you do about that? Can you do this alternative? Keep repeating "I am just trying to make this as INEXPENSIVE / MANAGEABLE / LEAST STRESSFUL as possible for me." Above all address the most important things to you first and then the more minor things later. If they SAY NO to a major issue ask about it again at the end of the conversation if there is any way they can help you because.....(here is where you appeal to their sympathy, they are human after all)....I am hurt, injured, sick, old, poor, alone, etc. This is a negotiation and you will only get what you politely request and no more.

Most likely they will only be working on your property (and doing the damage) only for a total of several days. The rest of the time will be spent waiting for the next phase. When they are doing the actual work watch the workers on other properties and try to see what is going to happen to yours. How can you minimize the damage to your property? When they are working on yours be present and let them know if there is anything you can do to make it easier for them. I gave some of their guys water, cookies, etc. and you would not believe what they were willing to do if I was just nice. When they were going to smash something I politely asked if they could be careful with that it's one of my favorites, etc.

You can make the best of a bad situation or you can make it worse. Plan for the worst and hope and pray for the best. Try to look at it as an opportunity to make your landscape even better than it is now when you are done! I know that's hard but it will ease the pain some if you try to stay as positive as you can throughout!

Good luck,

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:41PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Wow! I don't think you're overreacting AT ALL! I would be so upset!! I wonder if you would be able to cancel some of your pending orders or delay them until after they are done digging?

I have a gas easement that takes up almost half of my one acre property. I'm not to allowed to plant anything in that 50 foot wide stretch where the gas line runs except for crops (and roses are crops right??) I have some of my climbers in that easement and a few other roses. The differnce between your situation and mine, is that I knew before I planted in that area that the gas company has the right of way, and can go in an dig within that easement...you didn't have that warning I'm assuming.

I definitely feel for you...please keep us posted!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Karolina, I don't think you're overreacting at all. I feel terrible for you, and I think Lee's comment will be very helpful to you. Print it and save it. She's right in saying that the work on your property probably will only take some days rather than months. Maybe they could schedule yours sooner than later to accommodate your thousands of dollars worth of time-sensitive bareroots that are coming. And it's true that this will basically be a garden makeover for you, a chance to correct previous mistakes and make improvements. I wish you the best, and I think it may not be as bad as it seems right now. Keep us posted.


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Karolina, what a major blow--of course you're upset!
However, I don't think anyone can top Lee's advice. If they do dig, it IS a huge trench, & deep, and they will use a lot of big equipment along side of it.

Perhaps knowing now, in cold temps, is a blessing & will enable you to salvage perennials & roses. Call in some favors with local plant societies for pots, digging & storing your plants. Throw a digging-up party/bbq. If you can't rustle up enough pots, order from Mortons in TN--that's what I did for a planned move. Get a load of soil dumped to have conveniently available.

Lee's excellent suggestions may help you nail down the exact timing of the dig (if it happens) on your property. Use that time to plan & prepare. And sincere condolences for the trouble you face. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Karolina11(6b Central PA)

Thank you everyone. Your kind words and wise wisdom has brought me to tears. Almost no one around me last night understood why I was so devastated so reading your words means the world to me.

I spoke to a neighbor a few streets away from me which had this project done last year. They took her fence down and put it back up, moved her shed, and replaced her shrubs. Unfortunately she isn't a gardener and couldn't even identify what she had back there so just asked for it to be replaced with any shrubs to provide a screen for her property line. She did say they were extremely courteous but the project took awhile because it kept getting stalled for weather related reasons.

Upon your suggestion, I then took time this morning to write down all of your suggestions and create a plan. I have gathered all of the receipts I do have for plants that are planted back there and have started writing down plants I remember that I don't have reciepts for. However, does anyone know of places that sell more mature plants so I can look at pricing? These are obviously worth more than the small plants that were bought but I am not sure how to appraies that correctly.

I then made the decision that we will put together temporary beds on what was left of the backyard and the front yard. I will live with things looking terrible for a year if it means having my plants. I chose this versus potting everything up as I work out of town Monday-Friday and would be unable to monitor and water (even with a system) everything in pots. I looked up pricing for large amounts of soil and mulch. My plan is to ask them to compensate me for all of the plants ordered and planted or compensate me for all of the labor and materials required to make this happen. I would also ask them to replace the mature Birch trees and Rose of Sharon bushes that have been there for decades. Not sure what they will be willing to do but I believe I am being reasonable.

Thankfully I do real estate title research for a living so I do the research on easements, what they include, where they are, terms, etc for land parcels. Although I have not done any in my county, I have worked in a few counties in the state so knowing how terms differ, I might have some leverage on the terms of the permanent easement they want after the temporary one. I unfortunately have done enough of this to know that there is no way I would win in court as this is a sewer system that supplies the entire neighborhood. My best chance at is doing what Lee suggested - try to make it as workable as possible.

I have left a voicemail with the project manager and I will be making a trip back home early on Friday to go to our courthouse and try to get a plat of our property and get acquainted with what easements they have signed look like. Hopefully at that point I will have an appointment to meet with someone.

In good news, upon his return last night and finding me sobbing on the couch, my DH's response to this was "well you have been wanting more acreage, do you want to look for a new place?" What a sweatheart. We looked at some places online last night and are meeting with a realtor tomorrow. I doubt we could get our place sold and buy a place by Spring (we still owe money on our place so we would have to do it in that order), but this might have a good ending.

I am feeling much more empowered and better this morning. Thank you so much for your very sound advice and thoughtful words - it has made all the difference.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:12AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If the sewer is along the property line, could they gain access through a different yard? You might be able to demonstrate that they would owe much less compensation if they take a different route.

This situation is terrible for you or whoever has to put up with it, but the work has to be done for everyone's benefit, and I'm pretty sure the city has the power to coerce access through power of eminent domain or something like that.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:19AM
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I am just a gardner...not a lawyer, so all I can add to the excellent advise you have received is my heartfelt sorrow. I know how much love, sweat, and money goes into our beloved gardens. I know you will make the best of this and I am sure friends and family will help you save as much as possible. As I have heard, "When one door closes, another opens". Maybe a new garden, either here or elsewhere, is in your future. Good luck in your meetings with project managers and as said above, calm, kind words will get you further than anger and ungly words. Lesley

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:14AM
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It is so good that you have experience and knowledge about easements! I agree with Lee (and also with Jeri - just in case - you might need a lawyer, no harm in just consulting one first).

Around here all of the "Sewer Authorities" have ELECTED Boards - don't know about your area, but I would look that info up. If there is not an elected Board, there will be some govt. elected entity the authority is responsible to - County Board of Supervisors, what? I would look up and see exactly who sits on the Board of the responsible entity. Then ask all of your friends, relatives, neighbors, etc. if any of them know any of those persons. This is NOT so that you can "pull strings", but so that you or someone can call an elected person in case communications with the sewer authority breaks down.

I do this all of the time in our town - I know all of the members of the City Council personally, the head of the Planning Dept, etc., (because I have been active in our neighborhood association for over 30 years, and also have worked on various of their election campaigns). If I have to deal with a bureaucracy that reports to them, I just send the person I know an email, politely inquiring who I should speak to about whatever the issue is. They then tend to forward my email to the responsible party, and you would be amazed how fast I get a phone call! I don't go into the particulars, I just ask who to speak to. But when they get my email forwarded by their boss or their boss's boss, it gets more attention, and they never just try to blow me off.

Good Luck, and keep us posted! (Your DH is a gem!)


    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Another thing: It might be easier for you to make a temporary raised bed to hold your plants. You could heel them in there, use a drip hose to water them, etc. Just a thought. Might help to get your landscape timbers up then get a load of soil mix dumped in. You don't need to excavate, just dump the dirt on top.

Then, even if you move, it's easy to dig out the plants you want. Also might work well as a "baby bed" to hold new plants you have coming.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:50PM
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alameda/zone 8

So very sorry for this major problem! Jackie, Jeri and Lee especially gave great advice - I certainly would not be averse to pulling strings to get a favor! And you never know.....that perfect place with more acreage might end up being a dream come true! Keep looking - the perfect place might present itself!

I would bet if you called the rose companies and told them your problem.....they would wait until fall to ship your orders or give you a credit on them until even next year. At least you could wait on them until you are ready and not have to try to make them survive in pots. And by the way.....the nurseries in my area are glad to give away black nursery pots......they have huge piles of them. But I definitely would get your rose orders on hold for later.....

I have found more is accomplished with sugar than vinegar in situations like this....these people probably get plenty of mad homeowners who want to come in and complain and fuss. One who asks.....can you please help me out? Men especially like to solve problems and help out if they are asked nicely.....Sounds like you will have your ducks in a row when you speak to someone, you are doing it the right way. If you have to take a week's vacation while the work is being done - you could supervise.....maybe they could dig the big plants, you could water well and cover roots with a tarp......get the work done now before it gets hot....then they replant them. Lots of planning will have to be done......Hopefully the workers will be sympathetic. Cookies and lemonade for them are a good idea - every holiday, I put out a plate of homemade goodies for the garbage guys [no one remembers them like they do the mailmen, etc.] and they are always waving at me, they pick up every single item I put out - I have a farm and put out some pretty big sacks, metal, old fencing, etc. - they pick up every bit of it. My neighbor has alot of her bulky stuff rejected and she gets mad - told her learn to cook and leave the guys a little gift - works wonders! Best of luck to you - I cant imagine knowing my yard was going to be violated.....maybe you could talk them into bringing in some great compost for your new beds.....I bet in a year [if you dont buy something else] your yard will be beautiful again and this will be just a memory.....and hopefully it wont be as bad as you anticipate. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Karolina11.....I understand your angst. Last March I received a letter from my city stating that they were going to do a complete utility, street & sidewalk replacement by my house. They weren't coming onto my property to the degree that is happening with you but because I live on a corner lot, they did both front & side streets so I had construction going on from mid June until mid Sept. They took out my front street trees, which was Ok because they weren't in good shape, but I had recently planted 6 Ivory Silk Japanese tree lilacs on my side street. They left them but it was a challenge to keep them watered & living because of an extra hot, dry summer. But in the end I now feel that it was a good thing because having good streets & utilities maintain the value of my property as opposed to what is happening in some other cities around our country. Also the city planted new, approprate street trees in on the front street, & I got the idea of dividing & renovating some perennial beds this spring. The divisions from these perennniuals will be used in a new street planting & I think my garden/lawn will be much nicer this year....now I'm actually excited about the changes. Yes, last year at this time I was getting a bunch of lemons, but now it looks like I'm going to be getting some lemonade & maybe if you take a little time to look at your project, you can find some lemonade also. Larry

This post was edited by wirosarian on Sun, Jan 20, 13 at 18:14

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:05PM
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caldonbeck(UK (8))

Unpopular opinion I know, but, if you want your cr@p taking away, is this not the price you have to pay. I would hate it too, but if a job needs doing, it needs doing.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:36PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska


I have nothing new to add to the excellent advice you've received, but I just wanted to add my support for you. We all understand why you'd be crying on the couch at this news and it is the equivalent of losing a beloved pet at someone else's negligence. I for one think that human-made disasters like yours are worse than natural ones (like drought and disease) since in this case you've been singled out for the destruction of your gardens and it isn't unavoidable by the humans involved.

My only suggestion is to echo those that say to check to see if there are alternatives to the particular route they've chosen. As you mentioned, your neighbor didn't particularly care about the yard as long as they replaced the surface tidiness, and it may be possible to reroute it for someone like you who does care. We were told by the local electrical company that we were scheduled for underground line replacement in our entire neighborhood and I groaned when I saw the flags cutting right through prime time beds. When I checked with the people actually doing the work, though, it turned out our house wasn't planned for any digging at all (I brought them all cookies) and the only spot in my neighbor's equally landscaped yard that would be disturbed was her compost pile. It sounds like a 40 foot easement is giving them a lot of adjustment room, and you should be able to advocate for shifting the line away from the most critical spots.

All the same, it's heartbreaking, and you've come to a place where we all understand. Ask your sweetheart of a husband to give you a hug from all of us.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:37PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I can only commiserate. Your husband made me happy too.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:00PM
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Karolina, it sucks I know but you've got a great hubby and some really good advice. I'm kind of in the same boat only I'm in a holding pattern. I live in the older part of the city. Over the last five years my neighbor has had sewer problems. Which won't be that big of a deal if weren't for the fact that I live in a duplex. During the last visit in which the city had to get involved, I was warned that they will have to dig up my yard to realign the pipes should this happen again. This was last spring just after I had relocated 4 azaleas to the front yard. Along with the azaleas, they would take out most of my lily bed along with the Irises and possible the Sweet gum tree. So its not a matter of if this will happened but when. I figure there is no point in worrying about it until I see the plumbing truck heading to my neighbor's house. Until then, I plan to keep gardening.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:36AM
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Easements are bought and sold, and if they do not already have the easement, you can negotiate. You can request that they pay or use their own employees to dig up and store your plants, to pay for any plants that die, and to replant at the end of the construction process. You can also negotiate a dollar amount for the use of your property. It can be a substantial amount since obviously you are not able to enjoy your garden and the plants that survive will be set back in their growth. You do not have to, and I would not, negotiate a permanent easement if there is not one already in place.
Remember the word negotiate. Simply refuse to grant the easement if all they do is offer to pay for a few plants.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:45AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Call a very good property lawyer. These utility companies believe they have divine right to enter land and that is not always the case. Whether you "win" or not there is much to be gained in having someone who knows the law negotiate for you.
Question authority. Make them prove they have right to your land and if they win, demand just compensation.
(and keep looking at other property too).
Susan--who is a lawyer just not a property lawyer--

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:18AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

If it does happen, my experience is even if the "decision makers" understand your wants & requirements and agree to them, make absolutely sure the guys with the back hoes are on the exact same page. Communication can be lacking.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:32PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Pots! Put everything you really want to keep in pots for this season. I had to do this the year we tore up the beds to redo the brick work and everything survived and made the transfer back into the bed when the work was done. It's also what gave me the idea that I could grow roses in pots on my patio. They did so well there that summer that I wanted to try more. Ended up with 60 more roses permanently in pots, lol!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:08PM
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You've had so many replies, your head must be spinning with all the suggestions and info. We live near a utility hub and have endured two major projects which affected our property, and we are facing a third one at this time. They will be drilling 24/7 for 3 weeks for a new well.

Is the sewer company your city? If not, contact your city attorney for help.

Problems we have faced are that they did not repair our property as it was before. Take your own pictures of your property; don't trust them. For our current noisy project, the utility put up a 25' wall to protect neighbors from noise and lights from nighttime working. Ask what time workers will arrive each day. We have had workers arriving 4-5 o'clock in the morning. Ask the working hours and workdays, could they put up a wall to shield you from dirt, dust, noise, etc. Will there be air contamination, excess noise and vibration from diesel digging equipment? Ask if there will be dump trucks coming and going every day, and how many trips a day. How many trips bringing new pipes, other equipment, etc. Will the street be cleaned and watered down every day? They must mitigate for dust and clean up every day. Will they be parking large vehicles on the street around your house, causing traffic to maneuver around it and maybe making it difficult for you to get in and out of your driveway? Find out the timeline too.

Of course, we have to have sewer repair, and it's unfortunate it's on your property. But you need to let them know you are unhappy and expect every consideration.

Sorry about your garden, but you also need to be concerned about the impact of the work on your daily life.

Best wishes, s

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 7:06PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Good info above.

If you need values of specific plants that have grown a lot since you bought them (and all of them have), contact a specialty nursery- anywhere in the country. Explain the plant you bought and send a pix of the size it is now (WITH a measuring stick, ruler) and ask for an estimate to replace it. Get both the cost to replace and the shipping cost to replace.

Does your area have the pro landscape tree diggeruppers that capture the tree roots (and tree) in an inverted cone? If so, get estimates for moving the really important plants.

As for selling now, this proposed work MUST be known to potential buyers. And that may be a bummer for sales.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Karolina11(6b Central PA)

Thank you everyone for caring so much! I have been unable to even browse this forum for the last week thinking I would be unable to garden this year. Thankfully I got some good news!

Due to us recently starting our own business, we unfortunately have to wait another year before we can get a loan (despite excellent financials) due to mortgage regulations. However! - taking the advice of Jackie, I did some poking around and networking and finally got introduced to the foreman in charge of the project. After voicing some concerns, he volunteered to come and look and upon getting here he immediately recognized rose bushes even covered in snow. After taking a look for a few minutes, he told me to stake all plants that are important and he would try to avoid them and worse case scenerio he would try to get them potted up and watered by the crew for as long the project goes on. What luck!

It gets better though! I was able to get the person in charge here this afternoon. I had gone to the courthouse and pulled the plat for the property and the easement prior. During our meeting, he agreed to run the line further into the public park, which we also own but it's just grass, thus impacting our property only for a stretch of 6ftx10ft! Just a few roses and some perennials in the area that I can definitely move prior to them working. He also said he could do our property first so I would be impacted only April-end of May if weather held up!

I can garden again!!!

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions and tips and kind words. I could not have done this without you! You all are the very best! Thank you!!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Hooray! And I'm so glad you got in contact with the foreman! I'm sure the people working on the project will be grateful to be dealing with someone who has reasonable concerns and is willing to give a little rather than someone who throws tantrums and refuses to compromise.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Yay! That is very good news -


    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Karolina, it's a wonderful thing when good people on both sides can work together. Congratulations!!


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:17PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Oh, Karolina, I'm so happy for you! You showed a lot of persistence in sticking to your questions and finding some very reasonable people who were willing to adjust things. Kinda restores your faith in humanity that even people who may not be gardeners themselves are willing to honor your commitment to your gardens.

Happy day! Now, welcome back to the Rose forum discussions and you can go back to drooling over new rose orders!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:16AM
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They could possibly drill the sewer line. I know that is what they do when they go under the road, I know people involved with that. What is going on with the sewer line? I would write a letter to someone about it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:30AM
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Cheers! *clink*
Wonderful how a worst-case scenario moderated into a workable solution--so very happy for you!

But I'm gonna save the thread because of all of the excellent suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:35AM
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When the government exercises its power of emminent domain, it only needs to show that it is done for "public benefit," a dubious concept a lot of the times. Given the current state of the law, the government (the administrative branchh) is given broad, IMHo, extreme broad power in determining when the exercise is proper. howerever, the government must pay "just compensation" for taking of private property, and the easement they are "asking" you to give is a taking in
the constitutional sense.

my advice - as a fellow rose lover only -is that you make a catalogue of all of your plants ans with an estimate of each plant's value and an estimate of the cost of putting them back in. get a lawyer to send it out by registered mail. you might be able to scare them off, recoup more than you would otherwise, or at the worst, you have a piece of paper to show later down the road.

good luckn

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:37AM
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When the government exercises its power of emminent domain, it only needs to show that it is done for "public benefit," a dubious concept a lot of the times. Given the current state of the law, the government (the administrative branchh) is given broad, IMHo, extreme broad power in determining when the exercise is proper. howerever, the government must pay "just compensation" for taking of private property, and the easement they are "asking" you to give is a taking in
the constitutional sense.

my advice - as a fellow rose lover only -is that you make a catalogue of all of your plants ans with an estimate of each plant's value and an estimate of the cost of putting them back in. get a lawyer to send it out by registered mail. you might be able to scare them off, recoup more than you would otherwise, or at the worst, you have a piece of paper to show later down the road.

good luckn

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:40AM
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How is everything? Do you know anything yet?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Karolina11(6b Central PA)

Kitty, Thank you for asking. As I had posted previously, I was able to work with the powers that be and move most of the easement work off my garden beds.

However, this whole situation had spawned a true discussion between my DH and I. He had suggested selling our current urban .25 acres to get something bigger when all of this was happening and even though this crisis was averted, we talked it over and decided we were still going to sell the house and look for more acreage. I was coming close to not having enough garden space and this place would need major changes to make it what we wanted. We both travel for work and thus have hotel rooms paid for us year round. So we are selling this house and then looking to buy some land and build, living in hotels in the mean time. Thus unfortunately I had to cancel/postpone my huge spring orders and have to move a large portion of my garden to my mother-in-laws for the time being while we prepare to sell. I am confident however that it means that I will have much more land to garden within the next year. Keep your fingers crossed for me and once again, thank you for everyones advice and support. You all are the absolute best and I could not describe the happiness this forum brings me. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:35PM
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