Just to follow-up on my last post, I did call all involved parties and try to make good. I got through to the gardener first, and I apologized for what was an overly harsh criticism of the work being done here. I explained better what had been my intention, but the most remarkable thing happened: it didn't seem necessary. He was really nice. As soon as I uttered the words "I apologize...", he too back-pedaled and offered that he was too defensive and takes his business too personally. We talked for a while about what both of us needed to do and what the estate agent required of us both, and the phone call went really well. Later, the estate agent called me back, and I also apologized to her. I told her (honestly) that I'd had a really bad day that day, that I'd sent the email off in haste, and when I re-read it, I realized it was a lot more negative than I'd intended. She, too, was really nice. Our conversation also went quite well. And do you know why? It was because I apologized.
So often, I complain that so many people nowadays do not take responsibility for themselves or their actions. Think of that big dent or scratch in your car door and no note (I've collected a few of those on my mom mobile). I think the people I called interpreted my email to mean that I was a big complainer and the problem. When I called them and took responsibility for my lack of diplomacy, I think they were both really (and pleasantly) surprised, enough to change that perception back to where I'd hope for it to be. I felt a lot better too. I don't like offending people, especially when it could have been easily avoided. While I'm still anticipating that first inspection to be a bit too white-glove for comfort, I feel much better about how I've come across and where the situation stands.
Take-away lesson: If you could have handled something better, admit it. There's nothing wrong with eating a little humble pie, and it could make something right.