Beautifying the Garden of Eden

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The Garden of Eden, some say, was located somewhere inside modern-day Iraq. So it’s no surprise that the U.S. is trying to improve on God’s work, seeking “gardening services” at the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

The overview of the contract solicitation, posted Monday, notes:

Maintenance and appearance of the grass, shrubbery, garden areas, trees, and related landscape elements of the U.S. Post and properties are an important part of the representational responsibilities of the U.S. mission.

Battleland once had an uncle whose tastes in all things horticultural on his landscape were, to put it mildly, fastidious and precise. But he had nothing on the State Department’s concern, according to these contract specs:

GRASS CUTTING.  The Contractor shall maintain the height of grass between 4 and 6 centimeters.  The Contractor is responsible for all equipment and fuels needed to complete this task.

1.4.2 EDGING.  The Contractor shall edge all sidewalks, driveways, and curbs each time the adjacent grass is cut.

1.4.3.   TRIMMING.  The Contractor shall trim grass around trees, shrubs, cultivated areas, sprinkler heads, valves, fences, buildings, poles, and structures, so that grass height does not exceed the height of the adjacent grass.

1.4.4.         WEEDING.  The Contractor shall weed the grounds and gardens on a continuous basis to prevent the growth of weeds into lawn and landscapes.  The Contractor may use weed-killing chemicals to prevent the growth of weeds to eliminate grass and weeds in the cracks and joints within or along sidewalks and curbs.  The Contractor shall obtain approval of the COR for all applications of weed killers.

1.4.5.         TURF REPAIR AND RE-ESTABLISHMENT.  The contractor shall, whenever necessary, repair areas damaged by vehicular traffic, oil and gas, building repairs, and normal foot traffic.  The damaged area shall be filled in and leveled and then seeded or sodded, and maintained to conform to adjacent areas…

1.5.   PRUNING

1.5.1    The Contractor shall maintain trees, shrubs, hedges, bushes, vines, ground cover and flowers.

1.5.2.         The Contractor shall prepare a written schedule, as part of the Grounds Maintenance Plan, showing the method, frequencies, and dates of pruning.

1.5.3.         The Contractor shall prune all shrubs, vines, bushes, ground cover, and trees to:

  • direct and encourage plant growth in directions desired,
  • remove dead and unsightly growth, and
  • maintain a neat and attractive appearance…

1.5.4.         At no additional cost to the Government, the Contractor shall replace any tree, bush or shrub that is killed or rendered unusable for its intended purpose through negligent or irresponsible practices that are attributable to the Contractor.

1.6.   LEAF REMOVAL.  The contractor shall, on a monthly basis, remove leaves and pine needles from the properties listed in Exhibit A and on a weekly basis during the period March through November.

1.7.   RECYCLED MATERIALS.  The Contractor shall promote recycled uses for lawn and tree debris in meeting other gardening needs, such as mulch and compost.

1.8.   REMOVAL OF DEBRIS.  The Contractor shall remove foreign material, cuttings, grass, leaves, bark, limbs, dead vegetation, paper, and trash from the maintained areas including walkways, stairways and curbs within or adjacent to the area.  The Contractor shall remove all debris and equipment from the work site before the end of each workday.  Debris removal shall prevent unsightly accumulation.  The Contractor shall promptly remove collected debris to an authorized disposal site.  The Contractor is responsible for all expenses incurred in the collection and disposal of debris.

1.9.   WATERING.

1.9.1.     The Contractor shall water lawns, flowers, shrubs, and trees to provide for moisture penetration to a depth of 7 centimeters.  If natural precipitation is sufficient to fulfill this requirement, the contractor may request the COR’s [Contracting Officer’s Representative] permission to suspend watering to avoid too much water in the soil.

1.9.2.         The Contractor shall present the method, frequencies, and dates of watering in a written schedule in the Grounds Maintenance Plan.  The schedule shall take into account the kinds of vegetation, local soil conditions, and the seasonal variations in plant moisture requirements.

1.9.3.         The Contractor shall provide all hoses, portable sprinklers, and other similar irrigation equipment.

1.9.4.         The Government shall furnish the supply of water.


1.10.1.       The Contractor shall fertilize and lime the soil to promote proper health, growth, color, and appearance of cultivated vegetation, following proper horticultural practice for the types of vegetation, soil, weather conditions, and seasons of the year.

1.10.2.       The Contractor shall present the method of application, fertilizer type, frequencies, and dates of fertilizing and liming in the Grounds Maintenance Plan.

1.10.3.       The Contractor shall fertilize the lawn areas a minimum of two times per year.

1.10.4.       The Contractor shall apply weed killer once a year.  If weed killer is not required, the contractor shall request a waiver in writing from the COR.

1.10.5.       The Contractor shall fertilize trees, shrubs, bushes, hedges and plants a minimum of once a year.

1.11  PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL.  The contractor shall maintain a program for controlling pests and plant disease so as to maintain flowers, shrubs, vines, trees and other planted areas in a healthy and vigorous condition.  The Contractor shall obtain approval of the COR for all pesticides.

The contractor shall present a plan for pest and disease control as a part of its Grounds Maintenance Plan.

1.12. HAZARDOUS AND TOXIC SUBSTANCES.  It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure the safe handling, application, removal and environmentally sound disposal of all hazardous or potentially hazardous fertilizers, weed killers, and pest control products utilized in this requirement.

Well. It’s nice to know that at least in one corner of Iraq, everything will be coming up roses.