Blog

A Day That Changed My Life Forever

It was a Saturday morning and I had a 10:00 appointment with a client 30 minutes away.  My family and I were off to visit a lighthouse when I returned.

My client wanted me to look at a landscape a local nursery planted six months earlier.

They spent over $7,000 on a landscape that gave them no pleasure.

It was a classic case of a nursery installing a job late in the season.

The nursery used the leftover plants they had in stock.  Specimens sprung from the landscape with no sense of purpose and there was no continuity to the design.  Weeds were breaking through the dusting of mulch.

My heart went out to those poor people.  There was little, if any, landscape design or installation skill used in the planting.

I gave them an estimate of 3-4 k to mend the landscape because you have to move, and remove, a lot of plants.  A landscape design to work from required a $300 investment for travel, materials and design time.

I left the visit waiting for a call that never came.

When I returned home at noon my family and I were off to visit the lighthouse.  We never made it inside.  There was a 3 hour wait to get in.

This wasn’t the first time I met a potential client and didn’t get the job.  I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Something about that day left an impression on me.

After 25 years of free consultations I knew it was time for a change.

If you’re considering hiring my company I welcome your call.  I’m happy to discuss your needs and see if we’re a good fit for you.

If you’d like me to visit your home please know that I charge for consultations with future clients.  This consultation gets you the knowledge I’ve learned in 25 plus years working in the field and my degree in Ornamental Horticulture.

The consultation charge justifies that you, and I, value my time.

If you’re not interested in paying for a consultation I know a nursery that will be glad to help.

 

How Does a Tree Heal

A tree forms callous tissue to cover wounds.  How quickly a tree heals depends on the size of the wound and where it’s cut.

The Sugar Maple cross-section at the top of this post shows a well healed wound.  You can see the cut and the callous tissue that closed the wound.

Below is the same wound from the outside.

Maple Tree Scar Tissue

This Choke Cherry stump grew around suckers cut years before.  I can’t say the tree was ‘healing’ but the picture demonstrates how a tree envelops objects.

Cherry Tree Embedded Growth

In elementary school we’re taught to count a trees rings to learn the trees age.  Growth rings also give us a clue to a trees health.

The growth rings on this White Oak are very close for many years.  There may have been a drought, lighting strike or a pest attacking the tree.

Narrow Growth Rings

The rings are so close because the tree was healing from pruning and lost a lot of its canopy causing stunted growth.

The Three Cut Method of Pruning

When splitting wood I see all kinds of neat things demonstrating how trees grow.  The video below showcases healed wounds and shows the three cut method for pruning trees.

If you just want to learn about the three cut method skip to the second half of the video.

Fall in Love with Some Activity

A viewer on my YouTube Channel shared this quote with me.  I think you’ll enjoy it too.

Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don’t think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn’t stop you from doing anything at all. – Richard P. Feynman.

Common Witch Hazel – Late Fall Bloom

Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is an underappreciated small tree.  It blends into the background most of the year until late Fall when in bloom.  How many other trees are in bloom in early December?

Common Witch Hazel Flower Closeup - Hamamelis virginiana
A closeup of Common Witch Hazel blooms. I took this picture on a cold and wet December morning with sleet on the ground from the previous night’s storm.

Where to Plant Common Witch Hazel

Don’t use Common Witch Hazel in your foundation planting.  It’s informal habit won’t work with modern homes.  If you live in a rustic log cabin nestled in the woods I say, “Go for it!”

Plant this large shrub on the edge of the woods where it can blend in most of the year and give late Fall interest.

Common Witch Hazel Tree - Hamamelis virginiana
I planted my Common Witch Hazel at the back of my shrub border. You don’t notice it until late November to early December.

For more information visit the Missouri Botanical Garden website.