Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

June 30, 2012

What is in bloom now at my Place?

Mine is a landscape garden grounds.   Most rooms differ one from another.  Most of the structure is managed by conifers…..after all, the winter landscape  in Minnesota is as long as  Spring, Summer, and Autum put  together…….six months if you really want to know.;

Color is very important and is highly valued in my grounds.   But it is only equal to texture and secondary to form, both shape and size.

I control color in a number of areas, both by what I have planted, and what I allow to remain as perennials and shrubs gain size and territory and/or produce progeny which appears elsewhere in the sodless grounds.

With the exception of about four border trees which occur at neighbors’ properties, all ot the plantings of trees including conifers, shrubs and perennials are either what I have planted or have derived as progeny from what I have planted…….or progeny from God knows where which I have allowed to be displayed  on some stage or another on the grounds despite their unknown origin.

As I have written before this list includes bloodroot and several species of  thalictrum and interrupted fern.    I have only 8 minutes of mowing demanded about every six days during lawn cutting season.  With the removal of sod,  one can pick and choose the beauties from the ugly, the sick and the uncontrolable, the worst of which are tree seedlings.

Conifer seedlings are usually  highly prized.

Even though we are still running about four or five days ahead of the usual seasonal garden schedule  at my grounds, the following ‘bloomers’ usually show their colors around the 4th of July.  Most are already in full bloom.

Evening primrose…..only the Oenothera fruticosa….the one that likes to show up whereever there is no sod.  It has been in full bloom for two weeks already.

Ligularia, the Rocket…..which also likes to seed itself where ever there is space, is in full spikes and just starting to show its yellow….a prize in any landscape garden.

Astilbes all, especially the thousands of Astilbe chinensis which have seeded throughout my grounds due to reliable artificial watering.   Some even grow from tree logs.

Astrantia….an unfortunately unpopular  garden perennial in our area for its lack of shocking color of bloom, but a wonderful woodland perennial which makes any shaded area not only interesting, but appear  authentic by Nature.

Stachys Humelo….I got this plant from fellow landscape garden ‘nut’  Nancy Birrell, and is one of the showiest…..Does best in full sun, or full sun for five or six hours.    Can be divided.

The Hemerocalis (Daylilies” are all on the opening side of the day’s lily.   Colors are great.   Most can manage good sun if there is reliable watering.    Textures are generally lousy to look at except for use in a landscape  garden, where the strapping leaves, even the dissheveled help add to their notice aside pitxy foliage conifer shrubs.

My baneberries are already in shiny fruit…..God knows where they came from, but the garden displays both the white and the red.     It is a valued plant in the idealized landscape shady areas.

Echinacea purpurea is an old reliable and is popping out its first blooms.   Most of the cultivars don’t last long in my grounds…..perhaps it is the regular watering, or they are not  designed to last more than a year or so.

Most of my lilies are Asiatic, and some are still in excellent bloom.   In the woodland there is a vast oozing mass of ever larger growings of native tiger lilies….another gift from God knows where.   They will be in full bloom by the 4th.

Gooseneck Lysimachia in the sunnier areas is showing its goosefeathers here and there   If you give it space its show is spectacular…..If you don’t give it space, it will creep somewhere  anyway, so much so, you might learn to hate it.   It will tolerate shade as well its cousin Lysimachia punctata which is blooming here only in the shady areas.   It has mostly finished its display here  in the sun.   Since both are spreaders  which is  special when you have allowed them to show off,  confine them to their space….Start at about 15  square feet for the spectacle.   Two or three plants is all you will need before the three year wait.

Celandine poppies are still in bloom. and will continue into September.   They are valued and can always be pulled in areas where they have seede too aggressively.    I have hundreds mostly in the shady woodland settings.    I received my first Celandine four years ago from landscape garden star, Susan Schneiderhan.

Moonshine achillea is at its best and has been for a week or more.   Foliage is highly valued besides the long blooming yellow florals.

Dwarf Shasta daisies, Dwarf Platycodons, and Veronica Royal Candles are  in full bloom.

Raspberry and the Scarlet Monardas are beginning their show as are some of the seedling Garden Phlox…….which  seed by the thousands if you let them.   I recommend that you do.   The seedlings  will last much longer in your grounds than the newnames,  and many do not get the mildew problem.   You can always cull the colors you don’t want.

Caradonna Salvia flower stalks and Kobold Liatris are  about to open as is the Goldsturm Rudbeckia planted in full sun….a bit early for all three.

White Persicaria is still in bloom….and the red blooming clumb  is threatening to open by Independence Day.

Moving on to the shrubs, the most important in  bloom now are the Japanese spiraea,  the hydrangeas, and the Hypericums. ….on my grounds, anyway.   You can name your hydrangea, they are all about to bloom, but Anabel has been showing off for over a week.    I have on huge clump that is a knockout.    Anabels are usually more spectacular in  deeper shade and where the soil is rich and water reliably available.   Quick Fire and Twist and Shout are worthy newbies…both do best in good light.   Tardiva and Pink Diamond are the bigger reliables reaching ten feet or so , if you let them.    They do manage well in shade.

Years….years and years ago when I started playing in my present garden sand box, for an assortment of reasons I started playing with Spiraeas….gumball,  Japanese white,  the Shibori, and the like.    The bumalda spiraea, the Anthony Waterers,  Goldflame freely seed themselves.   And there is an area on my grounds where I let them do so.    They all have been in terrific bloom this year….just terrific.   Some are dwarfs.   Others have chartreuse foliage.   I prune them back to keep them from taking up too much space.   I allow other weedies (the ones which spread)  to spread themselves among the spiraea….the Rocket Ligularia,  the Celandine poppies and Oenothera, and even Valerian and certain Hostas.    

I allow these  spiraea seedlings  to go where they want.   I can always pull them or transfer them elsewhere.   I value the color they provide this time of the growing season in the shade or sun, by the way.

Of the best colored foliage woodies I like best in my grounds are:   Red Obelisk Beech, Paperbark Maple….the trunk color all year round…Centerglow Ninebark grown in full sun,  the colored barberries with Carousel and Golden Ruby terrific reds, and the burnt orange Rheingold Arborvitaes when grown in full sun, and a new one on the market, Fire Chief which is supposed to do the same burnt orange show.    I add these for they, too, are bloomers in their own way via their foliage…..and they usually  keep their ‘bloom’ all growing season long if grown in at least half day full sun.

There are so many shades of green and yellow, turquoise, gold  leafed shrubs available for garden display these days, I would run out of life time to list them all.     In Minnesota usually the more important ones are those conifers which are so essential in framing and forming interest in  the landscape garden in winter.

Call us at 952-933-5777 to set up a  time where you can tour a Masterpiece Landscape designed Landscape Garden!

June 29, 2012


Filed under: About Masterpiece,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 5:00 pm

Whether in the Landscape Garden or in the standard Minnesota city and suburban Yard, the answer to the question “What is a Weed” should be the same:


That is the answer, the whole answer, and nothing but the answer!

We are familiar with landscapes covered almost entirely with lawn.  Until the population began moving  to the suburbs in the 1950s,  the only landscape generally seen was a copy of the neighbor’s……

It consisted of lawn, more lawn, a maple or Russian Olive in the middle of the front yard and back yard and pfitzer junipers lined up along the front foundation of the house.    For ‘balance’ which almost NEVER was needed, a pyramidal arborvitae was  planted  either at the two front corners of the house itself, or the front door.

Never mind that the pfitzer junipers would grow to ten feet both in height and in width, and the pyramidal arborvitaes might reach 30 feet tall and nearly close off the entire front entrance itself.

The home owner could worry about those problems at some future time.

Bachman’s was more special in those days.   Their designers chose better lines and better material for their landscapes and so stood above the rest.    The spreader and upright yew were common in their settings.

The rest refers to the rest of the landscapers relatively undistinguishable from among the professionals, the  enthusiasts and the homeowners in artistic results.

Most city  lots were around 48′  by 100′ and decidedly rectangular…..with outdoor single garages.

A dandelion in the middle of the front lawn, or ash seedling in the foundation planting  became rather noticed……by all.   They were accurately  called weeds.

This past week we at Masterpiece installed the beginnings of a Landscape Garden at a residence in Edina.    It covered about 3,000 square feet, about one-half of  the spread of lawn previously  maintained there.  

In the half where lawn was removed  about 65 landscape plants, mostly  conifer and deciduous shrubs,a couple white pine, a griseum maple, and several other conifers provided the upright forms, framing and dividing the beauties inbetween.

But the beauties are not big enough to show  off.    Even though there are a dozen or more very attractive boulders placed in the setting, the “Landscape Garden” looks more like an open  lawn of brown mulch rather than a Landscape Garden.   I must still imagine the entrance, the privacy, the moods of the beauty and harmony yet to appear.

“Garden’s, like people, gain character with age.”

Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the developing Landscape Garden…..a place to be entered…..a place to divorce ones self from the worries and schedules of the day….a place of visual, mental, spiritual beauty as if one is entering a cathedral where fragrance, form, color, light  and shadow  collaborate to inspire the observor.

Lawn grass is itself a weed if growing in locations other than lawn.   It can ruin a clump of astilbe or ferns,  and most ground covers once it enters their space.   It is far worse than the notorious Creeping Charlie in devestating its neighbor’s space.

Three thousand square feet covered with mulch and only 65 selected plantings leaves a lot of room for a lot of plants out-of-place in no time….. even within a month or so.    Try it if you don’t believe me.

BY FAR THE WORSE WEEDS IN THE GARDEN, LANDSCAPED OR OTHERWISE….THE  PLANTS GROWING OUT OF PLACE …. are tree weeds.   Elm, Box Elder and other maples, green ash, common buckthorn,  Ohio Buckeye, Mulberry, crabapples…….and if you are really lucky, arborvitaes and junipers.  These two you might want to pot up rather than cull.

Some plants are weedy, but not necessarily  weeds…..evening primrose, Euphorbia polychroma, lawn grasses,  and just about anything “Lysimachia” or “Polygonum”.   They, too, become weeds if they move out of their place.

I have good soil and an irrigation system which guarantees reliable regular watering.   My major weeds are redbud, oak, spiny Aralia, astilbe,  celadine poppy, evening primrose, Euphorbia polychroma and its cousin Chameleon spurge, and nearly billions of Angelica gigas, which is a spectacular  specimen and group when ‘in place’.

By next May a couple hundred to  ten times more tree seedlings will likely pop up through the mulch  to join our 65 plantings designed at this Edina property.   If caught in time a kick  with  a good shoe or a few minutes with an iron rake could get rid of nearly all of these out-of-place seedlings in the mulch.   The time to kick and disturb is as soon as you see the weeds.    Now if you live in an area where Catalpa is a major weed, you might choose to keep a seedling or two to nurture if your Landscape Garden is large enough and in need of some kind of upright. 

I planted an Ohio Buckeye seed the fall of 1974, the first year of my landscape gardening on the grounds where I still live.   Ohio Buckeye seedlings like open spaces  covered with shredded bark mulch where squirrels can plant them.    The off spring are nice looking with notable     shape and character.                                                                                                                                         

If you don’t like it in ten years….if it is in the wrong place, it technically becomes a weed….so cull it and do so happily for it didn’t cost you anything.     After all it had become a weed.

During the development of the Landscape Garden, that is when the negative spaces begin to fill up…either with your purchased plants or those nature dictated, this art form changes a bit.    For it includes not only what you decide to add to the negative space, but also includes the plants which need to be moved or removed from the space which forms your “Landscape Garden”.

Ideas of beauty rarely  remain fixed.   They are always challenged by competition, for there are an endless number of roads to beauty.   Flexibility here is a God-sent gift.

If something is cherished, but not particularly liked in its location  in your Landscape Garden and  is not moveable and you don’t want to kill it, perhaps you can prune it to favor.    You are the artist… sure you know what you are doing.   Pruning is an ancient art form.

Some plants woody or herbaceous are  more beautiful that others.   Some are plain but worthy.  As I mentioned,  I often allow Ohio Buckeye seedlings to flourish in parts of my landscape and treat them as shrubs by pruning.      Eventually the lovely shape and texture can no longer be kept in the space allowed for it….so I remove it.   It had become a problem plant…one out of place…..ergo, a weed.

I mentioned earlier that on my grounds I have a major problem with astilbe being weedy…..especially Astilbe chinensis.    About twenty years ago I planted a Purple Cats Astilbe.  Its  progeny has caused very likely over a thousand  of these two to three foot beauties, although nearly all are bright pink in color.   

What a problem when they are all in bloom as they are beginning to do so on my grounds as I write this article.  

In about three years the uprights in this Edina Landscape Garden will begin to  divide the 3,000 square feet…to enframe the harmony of the picture within,  to be seen  as specimens as, indeed,  each of them are to create the larger themes of the Landscape Garden itself.

What is required of the  Landscape Garden owner is to be able to identify   seedlings one from another to determine which are valuable to purposes of beautifying the space and which are out-of-place.

I have never planted thalictrums, Virginia bluebells, bloodroot, Chameleon euphorbia, Valerian ever on my property.    They arrived here unexpectedly and add tremendously to the choice I have in creating   the various harmonies within the rooms and grounds.

I cherish White Oak  and redbud.    However, their seedlings  keep popping up all over my landscape garden……but there comes a limit to the numbers my own grounds can house….and that limit was reached about four years ago.    

It is all in a day’s work.    Harmony anywhere is as recognizeable as disharmony, but is much more of a challenge to create and maintain.    Observe the grounds around the homes where you live.

Creating harmony in the Landscape Garden is an easy art form to learn once the homeowner takes a chance to try.

June 21, 2012

Some Big Surprises in my Landscape Garden

Filed under: shrubs and trees,winter landscapes — glenn @ 8:28 pm


SUNKIST ARBORVITAE:   Probably the most stunning plant on my grounds is the 20 foot Sunkist Arborvitae  in my front grounds.  Its form, bright gold color, and size dominate the scene as I or anyone drives to my house located at the end of a cul-de-sac. 

 Although its size impresses the viewer in winter, from late February to December it is brilliant yellow of the new foliage which makes this huge form so noticed and so beautiful.

Its size is especially surprising since when I was planting it with my back and shovel, the tag attached to it declared its  maximum size as “up to eight feet”.

It is still climbing high into the sky

PAPERBARK MAPLE:   About six years ago I was reading an article by Michael Dirr, a tree specialist, who was complaining about the absence in the general northern landscapes of one of his favorite mid-story trees, Acer griseum, the Paperbark Maple.

He claimed  this maple should survive handsomely in zone 5 depsite its universally announced ranking to zone 5 the coldest.   Mr. Dirr raved about the tree’s beautiful chestnut-brown exfoliating bark, its neatly formed crown, and red fall color.

I had to try it, for I still had a number of sunny placed on the grounds at that time.   I bought three.

All have survived and have grown two or more feet each year.   Michael Dirr’s ravings about the tree are entirely correct even though  the red fall leaf color doesn’t show up when the cold wintery weather  arrives early or the tree is growing in deep shade.

The bark is exceptionally beautiful when it is back lit, that is when the sun is to the East, South, or West of where you observed the tree most frequently. 

It is a very neat, clean midsized tree……among the best.

EMERALD GREEN ARBORVITAE:    Frank’s Nursery, no longer existing, used to peddle this shiny leafed pyramidal conifer in small sixes for a coupe dollars apiece about 20 years ago.   I bit and bought one about a foot high in a very small pot.   For more then a dozen years the tree showed up on all the local nursery sales listings until it got a reputation of being fussy…..winterburning, and  weak standing in a winter storm.   I decided not to buy another one for myself and for any of my clients, for I felt I couldn’t trust the tree to survive.    It became just another pyramidal arborvitae whose figure would become distorted with each or our  warmer winter seasons here in the Northland.

I’d walk by my Emerald  green arb many times a day and never noticed it until it suddenly was about ten years old and  ten feet tall with  shiny green foliage, stately shape, and undisturbed by winter weather or any other weather.    I have come to adore its prideful stance which ables it to look down on all aroud it……with its unique green (emerald) sheen.

Emerald green arborvitae then was dropped from the Twin City listings of wholesale nursery offerings for several years…..until this season I found them sold at Home Depot whose nursery folks are likely  far too unaware to know the plant’s shortcomings.

Good, because I have bought about a dozen of them, I have grown to like this arborvitae so much.

RED OBELISK BEECH:    This beech is from the genus Fagus…..a genus which cannot abide our Minnesota winter assaults.    Nevertheless,  a few years ago rather late in the season Bachman’s was offering a Red Obelisk Beech at a discount price.   No one among the wholesale staff knew much about this Beech, whether it was hardy or not, but they pointed out its attractive maroon foliage.   I suckered into the purchase.  

Three years later I have added two more of these dark purplish maroon foliaged pyramidal beech….all are doing very well as if they were meant for our winter miseries.    Thus far it has survived untouched by deer.    They also show good autumn color.

CHAMAECYPARIS PISIFERA FILIFERA AUREA:   The most shocking plant on my grounds is a golden Chamaecyparis, Chamaecyparis pisifer Filifera Aurea.   I have two of them, both around 20 feet tall.

It is the golden color even in winter, and the twenty feet of height which make this Chamaecyparis shocking.

My family moved into our residence where I landscape garden in January, 1974.    Mary Alice Simmonds a very good friend of ours gave us two of these Chamaecyparis which she had bought from White Flower Farms in Connecticut.    They arrived in  size one corregated cardboard pots, no bigger than my clenched fist.

Today, ever golden in the winter, they stand more than 20 feet high rising above the roof of my double garage.

Your King’s Gold Chamaecyparis marked to grow five feet tall  will be in a race growing just short of the twenty two feet if you let it.

June 17, 2012

Beethoven and the Classic Landscape Garden

Filed under: About Masterpiece,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 2:39 pm

“Beethovem is to the EAR what a Beautiful Landscape Garden is to the EYE.

If they are to be enjoyed to their fullest, they must be allowed to enter the privacy of your thoughts and emotions to allow reflections of life and its beauty to enter your soul.

One of my very favorite, indeed, perhaps my favorite mood piece to perceive aurally  to  blend into   my visual landscape garden inspiration,  is Beethoven’s adagio  movement to his Spring Sonata.

Try it yourself if only for its beauty, and then again and again before you think about  anything but its own beauty and why it is so moving.    You will need only your daily vocabulary to open your mind to move to the next experience.

It was my son, Andrew, who directed me to appreciate  this Sonata a few years ago.

Other Beethoven creations to follow are the second movements to the 5th piano concerto, the 3rd piano concerto, and the Beethoven violin concerto fpr starters/

Discovering the Landscape Garden

Filed under: perennials,shrubs and trees,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 9:54 am

I began my drive to create a landscape garden 38 years ago this past Spring.  

I had just been appointed to become Executive Secretary of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society and was winding up my graduate “studies” program and the University of Minnesota Horticultural Department.

But the useable part of my education never came from those post graduate studies.   The two year effort was like being in the military service paying duty as a part of the social contract.

A few classes were truly invaluable.   By far the most inspiring class ever of the nearly 700 quarter credits worth of my college study, for I loved learning and had become a high school teacher, was beginning and intermediate Biochemistry under Irvin Lerner at the University of Minnesota.

A couple classes about soil were very informative adding  some important facts to my yet, unrealized goal of creating a beautiful landscape garden.

The University’s Horticultural Deparment provided nearly nothing worthwhile toward my goal which was alive within me, but yet unrecognized at the time.

One was taught to line up the delphinium, balance the home landscape with pyrmidal  arborvitaes, become  dormant about Winter, and plant  spreader yews instead of Pfitzer junipers for foundation plantings for city and suburb alike..

Silver maples, Summit Ash, and Russian Olive were the trees of choice with some competition coming from the Honeylocusts and  River Birch.

It was a boring diet for any artform that might be considered worth while for the human experience, so no one ever thought about landscaping as an art form.

I had taught high school  for thirteen years  both Social Studies….mostly classes in issues in American Democracy, and Russian previous to my formal horticultural department experiences. Moreover, I was a child of the second world war and the American society that went with it.

“Landscaping” had already become  a hobby…a playtime thing  somewhere around my age of five or six.   It began in a neighbor’s sandbox which except for me went unused year after year.    It was positioned a few feet from a pyramidal arborvitae whose twigs I would bite off to become the trees which would decorate my streets along which my tootsie-toy cars could drive.

I made my houses from blocks.   My Dad, who owned a drug store would save me “Dutch Masters” cigar boxes, which I would use as my corner drug stores and family markets.    Looking back, I already had developed a sense of size relationships and harmonies of  form by the  time I was seven.

At age 12 or 13 while tending to my sand box settings,  I was shouted at by my disapproving Mother….disapproving because as she shouted, “Stop that playing!!   You’re too old to be playing in a sand box.”

Of course, I knew she was right….and always kept the activity a secret from my contemporaries, but I shouted right back…..”I’m not playing in the sand box….I’m making scenery”.

She had brought my secret into the open.   I collected my possessions and never returned to the sand box place again.

From time to time I did have a chance to mow lawns and give advice about garden  plantings.   Neighbors knew I was knowledgeable about trees and shrubs……even four 0’clocks and such,   My mother also gardened flowerbeds of her day.  When tending them, she  seemed to have left the conscious world to reach  a better place in body and spirit to do her artwork.

I was impressed by what I observed.

Although my adversary, she and I had bonded in a number of areas much earlier in my life.    She  was a fanatic solver of jigsaw puzzles.    At about age seven, early in the War sometime, I must have wandered curiously  to her puzzle table standing in the middle of the living room with more than 1,000 pieces and wound up  as her puzzle partner….the only one in the family to develop her jigsaw puzzle  addiction.

She was a woman of law and order.    This law and order regarding jigsaw puzzles required that the puzzle have more than 1,000 pieces to solve and that its picture HAD TO BE AT ALL TIMES,  a picture of a beautiful landscape garden setting.

She was an impatient jig saw puzzle worker for she had many other chores of the day to do besides house work, cooking, sewing, wall papering, painting, canning, and working part time downtown St. Paul.   She truly welcomed my assistance in jigsaw puzzle solving.   It meant she could buy a new box with another beautiful landscape picture much more frequently.   She was not much into patience.

Then there was my introduction to R. Atkinson Fox which had begun when I was four  years old.   We’ll report on that series of experiences another time.

Go look up R. Atkinson Fox on the internet.   He painted.

It is probable that my discovery of R. Atkinson Fox beginning, in a manner when I was three or four,  probably became the actual  seed in my head and body that drove me to undertake the world of landscape gardening which has profoundly captured me to this very day.

I have been truly blessed.    Landscape gardening is a wonderful artform for anyone to experience.  Remember, in our human thoughts and dreams, it is a landscape garden such as EDEN which  has inspired mankind as the most perfect form of  art  since the beginning of recorded time.

June 16, 2012

Whatever Happened to Beauty in our American Lives?

A people’s culture is imprisoned by the habits of the day.   It is designed by religion, politics, and education or the lack of it whereever people collect and settle.

We live in an America that has been reduced to the indoors.   Perhaps the majority of its population now believe that the tomato is manufactured at the local super market or factory.

We live in an America whose indoor college graduates in the social sciences believe that carbon dioxide is a polutant and must be  eliminated from our atmosphere.

They know nearly nothing about the miracle of chlorophyll, but they are keen on manipulating the young human mind.

If a lateral branch of a tree stretches out at the four foot level from its main trunk, and the tree grows a foot per year, at what height will that branching be in those ten years?

I’d guess from my nearly life time experience in landscape gardening the majority of today’s urban Americans adult and otherwise, would be troubled finding the correct, but very, very simple answer to the question.    Yet, the majority of these folks live in their own homes which are located on grounds which grow a number of trees and shrubs.

The national ignorance might be good for our landscape businesses, but it isn’t good for those of us in the landscape business who are interested in creating beauty to uplift the spirit and souls of all who bear witness to beauty…….which, of course, is the God-given reason that the human being, at least in Western culture, accepts landscaping of whatever kind around the houses where they live and many businesses where we still work.

The world’s Western population is an indoor population.    It is a university controlled population.  It has been instrumental in the killing of things classically beautiful, because it destroys so much of the individual’s personal creativity funneling it, diminishing it into the cheap, low, the empty, the spiritless, the bureaucratic mundane, taught by the unthinking, unimaginative, programmed instructor who was herself, himself were  taught by the unthinking, unimaginvative, programmed instructor. 

I spent two years as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota Department of Horticulture in the middle 1970s.   I received some vital learnings which furthered my education about this generally outdoor art and science……soils, some more advanced learnings in botany and plant diseases and pests, but nothing at all of value regarding ‘horticulture’ for the world of landscape gardening.  Nothing was offered in its art, history, purpose, its collective importance in the human domain………the most revered art form of all art forms.

In my two years of classroom horticulture imprisonments at the University of Minnesota Department of Landscaping, I never saw a single picture of any kind of a Minnesota  winter setting.   I did complain to Phd Professor, Jane MacKinnon, a charming, likeable, bright gal from Mississippi why the Department seemed to avoid presenting any information about the longest landscape season of the Minnesota year……as long as all of the other landscape seasons combined, she seemed shocked and stuttered, “Well, it’s much  too depressing to even  think about Winter.” …so, the inference was, why and what can we teach about its landscape.

I also have had some experience in  the University of Minnesota’s Fine Arts Department some years later.   The teaching of that art in that place  seemed to be confined to lecture and lectures’ attacks on the idea of beauty……..almost entirely due to the fact they themselves were not artists at all, but bureaucrats to talked about art and made their students believe they could become artists, but no one ever seemed to learn how to  create color mixes for they didn’t know how to mix paints.

What about the “art” of music…….how is that ‘taught’ these days.   Why is beauty so totally absent from our music-deprived ears?    Why has its noise  become so akin to the smell of garbage in the street, but in aural form?    At what university anywhere, coast to coast, in any continent north or south, has there been  produced a Beethoven, whose music tells us how good it is to be alive, or even a composer of another “Piano Man”?

Why do we put up with this up-to-date and expensive university world which universally  preaches the political and religious doctrine of the  “Death of Beauty”?

You, dear home owner, can begin to change all this, by making a statement.   How about starting  a twenty square- foot area somewhere on the ground for which you pay taxes and establish as your goal to make this space BEAUTIFUL.  

Begin to think “beauty”.

Do some reading and visiting first.   Observe.   Judge the good versus the bad.    Ask yourself  and answer, how and why they differ.  

 The landscape garden is a visual art form… is magic.  

Like people, even those attending or graduating from university,  not all plants are the same.   They have their own genetic material which provides certain opportunities and limits to contributing  to your happiness.

Help restore creating  beauty  into the American way of life.   It is so much easier to slip into the ugly, the sloppy, the mundane, isn’t it?

Call us  at Masterpiece, if you need assistance.    We have alot of tips to share and home  grounds to show.    Our number is 952-933-5777.