Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

July 30, 2010

Global Warming Right in My Front Grounds!

Filed under: shrubs and trees,Uncategorized — glenn @ 11:03 pm

I had a mature elm removed from the front grounds of my landscape garden last Thanksgiving weekend.    I suspect it was over 65 years old and of about the same height.  If someone wants to purchase  the trunk I have it stored away in a quonset hut.  I am not certain what I am going to do with it.

The tree did not have Dutch Elm disease, but it was afflicted with  a minor disorder…..a foliar disease in which for three or four years in a row before removal, it started to shed its leaves right about now, the first of August.

The mature elm must have a billion leaves, for I had to rake every day until late October to keep  my driveway over which the elm stood, somewhat clean.

I remember reading one time,  that if one lined up all of the roots and rootlets of a mature elm, it would reach the moon, 240,000 miles away.  I have never challenged that statistic, for anyone who gardens under the shade of an elm, maple or birch tree knows that these tightly wired roots are almost inpenetrable.  Moreover,  they seize most of  the water that comes their way. 

Nearly everything growing within the shade of this enormous elm, has thanked me for my deed except for the hostas and the brunnera, which are showing some to significant amounts of leaf burn.  The most severly suffering is Hosta, Great Expectations.   El Nino doesn’t seem to be bothered.

A special word regarding Host El Nino.  This one is unique in a hosta world populated with countless members some of which cannot be well distinguished one from another. 

El Nino in sun until about 2 PM in my front grounds has not shown signs of sun burn.   Those in the shade have such striking foliage, turquoise and a nearly white cream, and solid leaf form, the plant radiates its spot as if itself is perpetually under the spotlight.  It is unique among its relatives, both close and distant.   It blends and contrasts very well with Gentsch Hemlock, a dwarfish Canadian hemlock claimed to reach only six  feet. 

Whether in shade or sun, if well fertilized and never having to endure drought, Gentsch has a turquoise  tinge to its foliage except for the whitish new growth, which makes it pleasantly noticed especially in shade. 

They are sold as shrubs….but I have my doubts.   My second oldest Gentsch, probably six or seven years in my grounds (a purchase in a size 5 pot)  it is over 6 and a half feet already, and I have pruned in back each of the last two year by two feet. 

The oldest receives less sunlight but grows in a more crowded condition among other evergreen conifers in a group, two arborvitaes and a huge, fast growing Hetz juniper, all planted at about the same time.    This Gentsch is almost ten feet tall after about ten years in its location. 

Readers should know that there are many dwarf and semidwarf evergreen conifers which are relatively new on the market……cultivars “invented” or selected from some mistake in its heritage.

There aren’t many, or in some cases, there are none which have been grown to maturity yet here in Minnesota.   My front grounds Sunkist Arborvitae is already 15 feet in height in its 15th year in my garden.  It was a size five pot when purchased. 

The label tagged with the plant when purchased informed me it would reach 8 feet in height with nothing else added to the information.   This is not a complaint, only an observation.

It is very, very common that  heights of garden trees and shrubs as listed on labels  underestimate the heights of  mature heights of the plant.

I have excellent soil and an automatic irrigation system.

The rest of the plants in the front grounds have improved their color and appearance in general. 

Yet, Global Warming has attacked.  We do a bit more computer stuff in the evening these times since we have lost our shade cooling the second floor office.

July 28, 2010

Tree Categories: What’s the Difference Between the White Pine and the White Oak As A Shade Tree?

Filed under: shrubs and trees — glenn @ 9:46 pm

Trees are by far the most revered species of the floral world.  We believe we’ve lived in them.  We’ve  eaten  their fruit, their syrup, sapped them for their rubber,  used them for shelter,  for weapons, for comfort and for fire. 

Countless trees are beautiful with some species considerably more beautiful than others.  Many, many trees are among the landscape gardeners’ worst weeds…..defined as  plants seeded out of place. 

No matter how ugly, how scrawny  or  sick, how out-of-place or  dangerous a tree or trees might be, if they are privately owned,  homeowners will not easily, if at all,  convinced they should be removed.  For many trees are nearly sacred……

……even though, especially in older Twin City communities so many trees arrived as seedling  weeds.

I mulch my garden paths.  Nearly all of my landscape garden is in plantings, not sod.  I use no herbicides and let seed what may seed. 

All of the major weeds in my grounds are tree seedlings….elm, sugar maple, red maple, box elder, elm, Ohio buckeye, buckthorn, crab apple, oak, both red and white, pagoda dogwood, green ash, spiny aralia, and cottonwood.    If I were not vigilant with my tree cleansings, my grounds would become a baby forest in five years.   Ten years later they would be fighting among themselves for survival.

In most major nursery catalogues for climate zones three and four, trees are grouped  as Shade, Ornamental, and Fruit trees for the deciduous broadleafs, and among coniferous evergreens,  as Trees and Uprights. 

In general “Shade” trees of the deciduous, and “Trees” of the conifers  are mostly the great big dominating trees….elm, sugar maple, cottonwood, oak, buckeye,  Kentucky coffeetree, birch, and the cone bearing…..pine, fir, hemlock, spruce, and larch (the latter included even though this conifer is deciduous.   With the exception of the pyramidals and conical shaped trees, these are the trees that shade everything including smaller, understory trees in the “shade” tree category….redbud, pagoda dogwood.   (Crabapples are so many in number, they often are given a listing unto themselves.   Then there is the separate but short list of fruit trees, apples, plums, apricots, pears.

Ginkgo is a weirdo unto itself usually listed as a shade tree.

A shade tree develop a canopy which provides shade.  Upright trees do not.   These days there are “upright” oaks, beech, maple, and ginkgos, but they are still listed as shade trees.

What is the difference of habit  between a big shade tree and  a  big pine, let’s say?

None, except one has broad leaves and the other has needled leaves.

If a white pine and a white oak (both my very favorite large shade trees) were to seed themselves and grew successfully in a completely open piece of land, and were not subjected to animal pests eating their foliage, what would the trees look like in the mature state?

Well, they really wouldn’t be shade trees.    Nothing would be able to grow underneath their crown, only their large lateral branches, all the way to the ground. 

Tradition declares  one, the white pine is not a shade tree, but should look like a Christmas tree; so in the nursery they are sheared into Christmas tree shape.    White Oaks side branches will be removed at various stages of growth to look like a shade tree  from about its fifth or sixth year of life. 

Oaks drop acorns….sometimes  hard and big ones striking bald men on the chrome dome.  That smarts.

White Pine drops its oldest needles in the fall.  No one to my knowledge has ever noticed being struck by a white pine needle.

July 24, 2010

Marian and Larry Fischer of Waseca; Beautiful Garden Winners in 2009

We at Masterpiece are very proud of our friends in Waseca, Marian and Larry Fischer, Star  Tribune Beautiful Garden winners a year ago.  Their landscape garden dwarfs mine in size, spreading about 3 acres in all.   It  is exquisitely maintained and manicured.   The setting is truly an oasis in a beautiful endless “sea”  of corn.  

We have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to work together with Marian and Larry to develop the grounds over the years.  I am jealous of its beauty.

It is one form of landscape garden art to create the forms of the grounds…that is, answering the 3 questions in one, ” What goes where and why?”  

 It is yet another landscape garden art to maintain the beauty of the grounds.  

The following article was written by Kim Palmer, a reporter with the StarTribune writing the the Home and Garden section.  You can read the entire article and view the video at the StarTribune website…December, 2008 in the Home and Garden section.

From an interview with the Fischers, Ms. Palmer writes:

“I think I was born to be a gardener,” Marian said. “I’ve loved flowers and nature since I was a child.” Growing up on a dairy farm in Iowa, the oldest of seven children, nature was her escape from the clamor of a busy household. “I like peace and quiet,” she said. “Outside it was quiet.”

When she and Larry had children of their own — two sons — she raised them to savor the natural world as she had. “I would not let them sit in the house, even when they were young,” Marian said. If they wanted to watch Saturday-morning cartoons, they had to do it in a “wired” treehouse. “So at least they were outside.”

The strategy apparently worked; both sons are now gardeners themselves, and they and their friends congregate at the farm every fall for a big Oktoberfest, featuring a barn dance, bluegrass band and apple-pressing. “We are blessed with so many wonderful young people in our lives,” Marian said.

From field to woodland

From the beginning, Marian had a strong sense of what kind of landscape she wanted. Adding trees, for windbreak and shade, was a top priority. “I’m not into this restored prairie thing,” she said. “I was a child of the prairie, having spent so many hours in the hot, sticky field. I’ll go visit a prairie, but I don’t want to re-create one. I prefer shaded woodland.”

But she was still searching for ways to create the beauty that she thirsted for, even as others were starting to take notice of the Fischers’ efforts. In the mid-1980s, the couple’s garden was included on a tour as part of the Minnesota Horticulture Society’s convention. Little did Marian know that she was about to meet a mentor who would have a profound impact on her and her garden. Before the tour, the society’s director at the time, Glenn Ray, owner of Masterpiece Landscaping, came to preview their garden. Later, she went to hear him speak. “He talked about the fragrance of the lilac, and he said it with such passion,” she recalled. “Fragrance is really my thing.

A few years later, when she was on a mission to make her landscape more interesting during the winter months, she remembered Ray, looked up his phone number and asked if he did consulting, which he did. Marian has vivid memories of his first critique. “He said, ‘Why did you plant everything in straight rows?’ I said, ‘I’m German. I grew up on a farm.'”

She soon decided that Ray had the aesthetic sensibility she needed to lift her gardens to a new level. “I am a gardener. Glenn is an artist. It was obvious to me that he had what I didn’t.”

So she started hiring him every year, to refine her garden and do some of her pruning. One year, she showed him a heavily wooded area where farmers had been piling boulders for decades. “Glenn said, ‘You have a gold mine!'” Marian recalled.

That was the beginning of the dry streambed, a project four years in the making. Ray considers it “the jewel of her garden.”

The Fischers and their sons remember, and still laugh about, the painstaking process of building it. “Glenn is really fussy about the position of boulders,” Marian said. “He could spend an hour on one boulder, turning it this way and that, then say, ‘Sorry, that boulder isn’t going to work.'”

Early in their partnership, she followed his advice to the letter. “I don’t argue with Glenn. I would limit my horizons if I did,” she said.

But over the years, she has gotten bolder and more outspoken, she said. She’s redesigning one of her gardens now to reflect more of her own aesthetic. “We’re remaking this into a Marian garden rather than a Glenn garden,” she said. “I want flowers and beauty. He wants structure and form. We’re working on it.”

Ray doesn’t mind. In fact, he’s gratified to see her inner artist emerge.  “She’s a wonderful student.  When I met her everything ws in lines and squares.  She had no confidence artistically.  Now she’s part of telling me what she does and doesn’t like.  She’s developed an eye.”

Comment:  I think those who know me agree, even if painfully, that when I say, “I get as much pleasure from teaching about Landscape Gardening as I do about installing one”, it is true.

They know one lights me up as much as the other.   Sometimes they have to endure both at the same time.   My colleagues and friends are usually very forgiving, though.    And Thank God.

Thank You, “Star-Tribune” For the Honor of Your Recognition

Filed under: The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 9:40 pm

Dear Friends:  Last Wednesday we at Masterpiece discovered that my home garden had been  chosen one of the six winners in the Star-Tribune’s annual Beautiful Gardens contest.   

In an article appearing  in the paper’s Home and Garden section, Kim Palmer wrote:  “How do your gardens grow?

Extremely well, judging from the overwhelming response to this year’s Home and Garden Beautiful Gardens contest.  We received nearly 200 entries, a record number for the contest it started in 1997.

Frankly, we were blown away, not just  by the sheer volume of gardens submitted, but also the beauty they represented.  We saw award-worthy gardens in every style and on every scale.  In the end, our team of six judges narrowed the field to the following six winners:

Glenn Ray, founder of Masterpiece Landscaping, has influenced many local gardeners, including several previous Beautiful Garden winners.  His own Minnetonka landscape is a “masterpiece of color, texture, form aroma and imagination,”  according to its nominator.”

Ms. Palmer listed:

Richard and Shirley Friberg, Roseville…….Dianne and Dan Latham, Edina…….Randy Ferguson, Minneapolis……Diane and Curtis Dutcher, Brooklyn Park……..and Chris Trevis, Lake Elmo as Beautiful Gardens winners as well.    Each garden was skillfully described.

Congratulations to you all.

I admit that I am quite pleased and thank everyone involved for  this recognition and honor.  I especially thank Chris and Marion Levy, long time clients,  and as with so many of you, good friends who apparently nominated the grounds, and Kim Palmer for the special paragraph she wrote, quoted above, about me and the garden.  

And I thank all of you and my colleagues at Masterpiece who have added to my great good luck in life to work with such good and talented people, creating something  beautiful for people interested in garden beauty to add to their lives, and maintain  friendships  which help make life beautiful and so well worth living.

From the bottom of my heart….Thank you, ALL!

July 21, 2010

Garden Party in Roseville, Thursday July 29, 2:00-7:00 PM

Filed under: The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 9:32 am

Friends and, we are happy to say, “clients” of Masterpiece Landscaping, Mona and Tom Dougherty,  are opening their gardened grounds for a grand garden bash for all of us who love beautiful gardened landscapes. 

Flower, trees, and shrubs, and even lawn, will receive the special honors for the day.  Much of the talk and many of the talks will be about them …….to know more about the garden arts  and our  tricks of how to put these gifts of the Earth into beautiful settings to enspirit us and our friends and neighbors. 

But, that isn’t all.  Boulders, bees, and butterflies and even backyard chickens will honored with speech and gossip.

Tea and tasty treats will accompany the beauty.  Classes on landscaping design, flower arranging, and other plant “arts”  are open to all.  Music will attend as well.

Advance reservations are $20 (tax deductible).  Send checks (made to Friends of Roseville Parks) to Norma Forbord, 2016 Evergreen Court, Roseville, MN 55113.  Call 651-636-4280 for further information.  Tickets at the door are $25.

Our Masterpiece staff will be there presenting programs and  answering your questions helping all to know more about creating beauty in the Minnesota Home Garden.

July 20, 2010

There’s a Thuja in My Garden!

Filed under: shrubs and trees — glenn @ 11:09 pm

Not all plants found in our northland gardens are equal.  Some have significantly more value than others.  One cannot rank them according to value.  So many have certain features that despite their lack of beauty, or ugly habits, are simply needed in the landscape garden for perform a special function.

Shade elms used as street trees became beautifully formed tunnels for city traffic lining the boulevard spaces in our Minnesota communities.  However, the   trees have  little value in the urban home garden of one story homes.   Yet, for years these monsters were both planted and seeded themselves as weeds to populate the  city’s landscape…..whether wanted or not. 

Worse are the Silver Maples, (Acer saccharinum) which match the American Elms in size and possess exceedingly soft wood easily damage in severe storms, summer or winter.  Planted in ones back yard not too far from your bedroom should have caused sleeplessness in Minneapolis and St. Paul when the wind and rain or sleet picked up about the time you went to bed.

Of all of the garden trees, and shrubs, for that matter, usable in the northern landscape garden, the one genus we could not do without is Thuja…..the arborvitaes….or as the old timers called them, “White Cedars”.

But even among these Thuya, not all varieties and cultivars are equal.  And landscape gardeners can differ on which are more needed or more beautiful than others depending on their features. 

One local landscape wholesaler has nearly twenty varieties or cultivars listed in their catalog.  Over a ten year period they could have listed thirty different looks of arborvitaes at one time or another, for what is offered for sale differs from year to year.

And there are probablythirty to forty more various arborvitaes that are eminently usable for Minnesota landscape gardens.    Some are more eminent than others. 

Some are trees.  Usually these trees are listed separately from lists of trees and instead are grouped into the category titled, “Uprights”. 

Uprights suggest the tree is a vertical woody perennial growing more than a dozen feet in height.  Upright also suggests that the tree is not a shade tree….that it doesn’t have a large enough canopy to cause shade.  Yet, for those of you who know trees and are avid northern woods folks, you know that the White Cedar does develop a canopy, not by its own preference, but because the species is deer food of the first order.  They will eat as much foliage as can be reached until the arborvitae grows beyond the stretches  of these usually hungry Bambis. 

Arborvitaes are at the top as a landscape garden tree because they do not have shade causing canopies.  So one can grow any sun-loving perennial or flowering shrub within a grove of arborvitae.

Among the more narrow, tall and most elegant of these Thuja for Minnesota is the deGroot’s cultivar.  Its stately form seems to  create order to  almost  any grouping of  perennials and  shrubs.

It is certainly among my favorites and we use it often in our landscaping designs. 

Among the many shrub cultivars I think I have two favoritesl…..Rheingold and Hetz Midget arborvitaes.  Both can grow best in full sun for at least half a day.  Rheingold is the only evergreen conifer that actually appears to have golden to orangish tips to its young foliage when grown in full sun.

Arborvitaes do not do well in dry areas, but much prefer the regularity of irrigation watering on a regular time scheme. 

Among the Uprights, but fatter and more prominent forms, I do prefer the Sunkist or Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae.  They are much the same plant.  The tag attached to my Sunkist arborvitae, a major conifer in my front garden, announced that the expected height was up to 8 feet. 

My Sunkist is double that size and appears to have no intention of slowing down its growth.  Much of its foliar wealth comes from the dependable watering it receives from the irrigation system. 

Woodward is a very, very large natural globe….I have seen them at twenty five by twenty five feet in size. 

Arborvitaes often look as if they are struggling when they are forced to grow in deep shade.

Rabbits and mice love to devour arborvitae foliage in the winter time.  This past winter, my Siberian arborvitae about 18 years old and twelve feet tall, was packed to the ground by last year’s Christmas rain and heavy snowfall.  It had disappeared from sight all winter looking like a small snow drift.  When it finally became release from its icy prison by March, half of the foliage on the ground side had disappeared.  Rabbit droppings proved what the major culprit was…..but then mice almost always eat arborvitae in the winter whereever Thuja grow.

The Golden Globe is another natural globe which shows striking yellow folliage.  It does turn color to a rather darkish green in winter, but regains its color usually by the first of March .

Arborvitaes are all pleasant to the touch and exudes  a very strong fragrance when  the foliage is pruned.  They do better growing in good garden loam with a nearly neutral soil pH.

They are among the best uprights to be used for vertical sculpture and framing garden scenery.

July 18, 2010

What Is This Thing Called “Weed”

Filed under: garden maintenance,perennials,random fun — glenn @ 4:33 pm

No, not the stuff the foolish  smoke!  The stuff  that grows where folks don’t want the stuff to grow.

To the Landscape Garden artist there is only one definition for the word, “weed”…..

A Weed is a Plant Out of Place!       That is the definition, the whole definition,  and nothing but the definition……to the Landscape Gardener.

In my landscape garden the plants out of place most everywhere are tree seedlings….sugar maples, red maples, elm, Ohio buckeye, buckthorn, box elder, Norway maple, Green Ash,  Red Oak, White Oak, American Arborvitae, Japanese Yew, Red Cedar, and so on and so on.  Then there are the herbaceous perennials which can be weedy, weedy, weedy no matter what the definition might be. 

In my garden I cherish one of these weedies…..the progeny from my Purple Cats Astilbe.

I have an underground irrigation system to water my plant world.  I realized early in my gardening life that astilbes demanded a moist environment.   I never thought for a moment that meant reliable waterings from an underground irrigation system. 

Where I once had one clump of Purple Cats Astilbe, I now have, perhaps, thousands of its seedlings.  The color isn’t quite there, but these reliable perennials are as big if a bit more pink that purple, a replica of its parents.  They are everywhere, and at the moment, they are in full bloom. 

I weed out only those which defy harmony.   I know there will be a problem in the future.  For each new hundred clumps  established each year, what will happen to my grounds in five more years.

I have a very small area of my landscape garden in  lawn.  Nine minutes worth to be exact.   The only other routine demand is managed automatically…..the watering for fifteen minutes a zone, every other day program. 

The rest of the grounds is an open door for any and all plant visitors to set up shop……where there is room, however.   Many plants are fussy about where they will do their thing.  I have been trying to get my ginkgo to produce for years and have succeeded with only two and both are rather moody about growing much.

I have Virginia Creeper growing.  Until about August first, mature  and happy Virginia grows about three feet a day and in several directions at the same time.  I call Virginia weedy, but not a weed.  I am the one who decides where Virginia can live and flourish.  Yet, pound for pound, no other species has been removed from my property over the past 36 years except perhaps for the exception of an 90 year old American Elm I had removed last Thanksgiving Day weekend.

I find the Creeper a great ground cover in some locations, and an attractive accent in foliage in others.  I never let the plant crawl up the trunks of trees, if I can help it.   That looks messy.

If one does have grounds fairly well designed naturalistically, there are other “weedies” which make good ground covers more restful to manage…..violets come to mind….cushion and chameleon spurge are good,….

 Japanese anemone is bound to be successful despite your moods.  In Latin is named, Anemone robustissima.   That should tell the interested gardener all that is needed to know.  The “issima” part can be translated to mean….”the very, very, very most!”

It the plant were the very, very, very most in height, the plant would likely have been named,  Genera “altissima”……referring to its altitude.

You can put it together, dear reader.   Expect Anemone robustissima to enjoy its stay in your garden.  Fortunately for all, it is a very attractive for a “robustissima”.

There are many plants who do enjoy “taking over” in the grounds.  And there are some weeds far worse than others, because no one can control them.

Among such weeds, Campanula  rapunculoides leads the list.  Another is Goutweed, the socalled perennial Snow on the Mountain.  As a large group  the grasses, especially lawn grasses can be killers in the perennial garden.  That is why timely and proper edging the perennial garden border from the lawn is very important.

Most weeds can be pulled out easily by hand.  I have always liked “weeding”.  It is so resrfull and uncomplex.   One simply reaches out, grabs on to the stem at its nearest to the ground, and pulls.

If the landscape garden is beautiful before weeding, imagine how clean and sharp it will be after weeding.

But, never forget that a weed is a plant out of place if you are a person so fortunate in life to have found the art of landscape gardening.

July 11, 2010

Guided Garden Tour Scheduled for July 15, 7:00 PM

Filed under: The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 3:02 pm

For those of you who are especially interested in the Landscape Garden, you will learn more on this guided tour than just the names of plants.  You will discover some interesting features of the Landscape Garden which sets it aside from the Plant Display Gardens  one views everywhere.

When Minnesotans think of gardens, they think of displays  of flowers and occasionally a few shrubs.  Blooms are the mainstays of these  plots.  Often such “gardens” occur in the back yard or these days, as foundation plantings in the front as well.  They are to be viewed only and therefore they become two dimentional. 

Landscape Gardens are to be enterred.  The skill in the design generally is to lure the visitor and control what is to be seen and felt.

As a rule flower gardens are a female habit.  Gals love color and many are very particular about particular colors.   Guys are generally more interested in form with color supporting form.  One of the reasons, surely, is due to the fact so many human males have an assortment of color distinguishing problems.  Some are badly colorblind. 

The tour will begin just west of Hopkins.   There is no charge, but a donation to Courage Center will be appreaciated.   Call  at 612-919-5200 or the Masterpiece Office at 952-933-5777 for reservations and further details.

There are some folks who believe the landscape garden is limited to areas with large grounds.  This is not the case.  At least two of the settings we will be visiting will be typical city lots. 

This is also the time those of you who seek living amid beauty must think about planting for the winter landscape garden.  You’ll certainly want to join us on the tour.

July 1, 2010

The Importance of Being Artificially Watered

Filed under: garden maintenance,Plant health,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 9:21 pm

We at Masterpiece Landscaping install grounds irrigation for the landscape garden.   

Nearly all of the folks trained to install irrigation systems know nothing about installing  such systems in the classical landscape garden.

What is the difference?

Imagine a half acre of lawn.  Only lawn….nothing but lawn; no maple trees here, arborvitaes and pine there, viburnum and magnolia, anemone and heuchera, sedum and “Hot Lips” turtlehead in sight.  Only lawn, with or without dandelions. 

Here installantion is simple and quite cheap.    Installation of irrigation into a landscape garden is often much more complex, primarily depending on the placements of the tree and shrub material.

If your dream is to create landscape beauty for your home or business grounds, plant your masterpiece first.  Let the irrigation follow the art, never the reverse, art following the irrigation system……unless, of course, you have no choice.

My family and I moved to my “landscape” canvas in Minnetonka where I still live, on January 1, 1974.   Immediately with the coming spring,   The grounds  “yard”  was almost entirely lawn.   I began at certain edges around the property to develop the privacy required for a landscape garden.   At that time I was heavy into pyramidal arborvitaes.  They were cheap, grew rapidly, and didn’t cause any shade.   Besides the foliage is very fragrant.  Moreover, I was sculpting my winter garden as well.  (None of the originals have survived to this day…..a result of a disastrous winter storm.)

Once established, arborvitaes (there are dozens and dozens of varieties) can tolerate the Twin City swings of water to drought quite well.   Holding on to money while raising a family was not as easy, so I never dreamed I could ever reach the patrician heights of owning a first class irrigation system for my landscape garden.  

I had it installed in 1990, but did not start to use it until  four or five years later….let’s estimate 1995. 

At that time my grounds already had sufficient structure and design to qualify as a “landscape garden”……but, barely, compared to its today’s form.   Yet, the grounds were generally attractive, but not melodious, not harmonizing, not grand.

“Gardens like people gain character with age” I have always reminded my landscape garden students.   My garden at age  twenty or so had not yet reached maturity.  Nor had its artist in so many respects. 

By 1998, by then three years into its water irrigation life, nearly everything within the grounds where the regular, reliable water reached appeared lush.

Today, no one, including me, is more astounded at the lushness of greenery  at every corner of these grounds.  And to taunt those of you who have not yet made this wise investment into  irrigating your own garden plants I do admit I face a new problem ever since regular watering became a way of my garden plants……

Astilbes have become a major weed  here. ( if you think with the traditional meaning of  weed…some plant showing up in your grounds which you didn’t plant and you feel you have to pull it.)  I have thousands, I do believe, from the fifty or so I have planted here in my life time.  Some are growing on logs.


But I am a staunch believer that “a weed is a plant out of place”.   By now the majority of plants on my landscape garden grounds are volunteers which I have artistically accepted into my family of plants which I enjoy being among.

Nothing has made my trees and shrubs  more healthy appearing, more rich and lush….and, yes, more beautiful than the introduction of artificial watering to my landscape garden.

P.S.  I no longer kill my favorite perennials while dragging a hose around for advantageous placements for watering.  I had learned to hate the garden hose.  Now we are more tolerant of each other.

Give us a call at Masterpiece Landscaping, 952-933-5777 to schedule your irrigation installation quote.