Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

May 22, 2016

Masterpiece Home Grounds Open House Thursday of This Week

Filed under: About Masterpiece,garden seasons,random fun — glenn @ 6:09 pm

Masterpiece clients, friends, followers, helpers, and ‘newbies’ are all welcomed to join our Masterpiece Landscaping family Open Garden  at our home grounds, this Thursday,  May, 26, 2016,  from 4 PM to dark…..

Usually this event occurs in August, not always the most spectacular show time to display outstanding  landscape beauty in our Minnesota.

In beautifying the landscaped garden world, May is the most beautiful, the most fragrant, colorful, inspiring refreshing season of the year in our zone four  Twin City, Minnesota.

We picked the third week in May, the time when Azaleas, Redbuds, Juddii Viburnum, and many Rhododendrons are liable to show off in peak bloom more or less simultaneously with the most reliable flowering ground covers,  vinca, ajuga,  sweet woodruff, white rockcress, mauve flowering lamiums, the common sedums with their fresh foliage along with the bright green new  foliage of pachysandra.

April is when our conifer world is at its  most beautiful  color and ‘refreshment’….

so  one must include the Spring touch and beauty of all of the  conifers, especially the juniper creepers,    Japgarden,  Blue Chip, Blue Prince, Motherlode,  Prince of Wales,  Wilton Carpet and Conifer “dwarfs’ such as Dwarf Colorado Spruce with their budding new growth.

However, Spring arrived very early this year, 2016….and it was cool, somewhat moist, void of torrents of this or that and by habit nearly all species of Spring beauty arrived early this season….two to three weeks early to be more specific.

Whereas  May 26 is, on the average, the day my couple dozen azaleas would be opening in their finest color display, the May 26th, might be at high tail end of bloom this Thursday, unless the next few days are cool and quiet.

Conifers, nearly all, will be at their very best display, no matter what the Spring offers in weather.   New year foliage begins mid April and will continue being distinguished until the first week in June, come rain, shine, or/and snow.

REMEMBER IN OUR MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE GARDENS, WINTER IS THE LONGEST SEASON OF THE YEAR……EQUAL TO ALL  SEASONS COMBINED.  Many beautiful conifers are at their best throughout winter when they are kings and queens of the garden roost.

YES, YOU CAN BRING FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.    Tasties will be provided.    Please come! ….from all of us at Masterpiece.

The address is 14624  Woodhill Terrace in Minnetonka…..just west of the intersection of  State Highway #7 and 494, second turn off  from Highway #7   northward on  Woodhill Road and left at Woodhill Terrace.


May 13, 2016

Spring, Minnesota, 2016

No year is ever a carbon copy of another.   No day in the life of an animal, including the human one, is a “carbon” copy of another.   Life is filled with errors and the unexpected , for WITHOUT ERRORS OF NATURE, LIFE, WHETHER PLANT OR ANIMAL WOULD NEVER CHANGE.

I am in my 80s….. and began landscape gardening in my neighbor’s sandbox about 75 years ago.   I have many memories of my Twin City, Minnesota winters.

Winter is very long in our Northland….It is equal to all other landscape seasons combined….one half of each year.    When I was a child, adults understood that calendar of winter.   Folks lived  as farm families then when  both male and female of the household became fully aware of the demands of the seasons and  that weight of life, living and working outdoors in  the northern winter for survival.

City folk are rarely outdoors until Spring these days.   In today’s suburban Minnesota there are no alleys to garages for parking cars.   Cars, for good or bad,  are now stored ‘in’ the ‘room’  next to or close to the kitchen……where no one is ever ‘inconvenienced’ by having to go into the  out doors to get to work.   Mosquitoes begin to  bite in Minnesota around late May on the average, often ending all or most visits tiptoeing through the tulips and enjoying the  glories of the new season’s  fragrance, growth,  and color.     Yet, how could they come to  know anything about the glories of a northern spring, when only  a shrub or two and  lawn grass are their primary plants of life decorating, allegedly, ideally,   to inspire them to enter their Eden-like  outdoor world?

In my neighborhood nearly half of the Colorado Blue Spruces planted fifty years ago when the houses were built, are more than half dead… No one seems to notice.

I do believe, however, some Twin City folks nevertheless,  have actually   felt something unusual, something special about this Minnesota Spring.

It started early….in March, perhaps even mid February.  It followed a remarkably  comfortable Winter void of minus twenty something Fahrenheit and five feet of snowbanks.   No killer frosts.   No heat waves.  Not this Spring!

Life in 2016 Twin City’s Minnesota has been glorious….at least for those of us who have planted with Spring, by far the most beautiful season of our northern year,   in mind.

This year  nearly every spring plant woody or no, has been more beautiful in sight  and  form, and holding its beauty longer  than ever in memory.   In my own grounds, PJM Rhododendrons both large and dwarf, Redbuds all, Juddii Fragrant Viburnums, my thirty foot tall flowering crabapple, along with all major and minor Dutch bulbs,  perennials Lenten Rose,  colored ajuga foliage,  mats of  fresh  lily of the valley foliage, sedums,  blooms of vinca, pachysandra,  even sweet woodruff in the sun, blood root, corydalis, white  Arabis rock cress, Darmera,  and on and on….all blooming ‘at once and together’….a sight I have never seen in the four decades I have lived and planted here.

Along side such color, so beautiful yet so often unappreciated, even unnoticed  is the new growth popping out along the evergreen branches of the MOST IMPORTANT PLANTS OF THE MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE GARDEN, THE EVERGREEN CONIFERS, even those beauties the conifer  tamarack which are not evergreen.

Normally the bloom beauty of  our PJM Rhododendrons, our azaleas, any flowering plums or crabapples, black locusts, buckeyes,  magnolias or  Juddii Viburnums lasts at most a week….beginning in earnest  around the middle of May, give or take a week one direction or the other.

Our conifers, so seldom planted, so seldom appreciated for their beauty, for their “ever” green nature,  so rarely doctored when diseased, go unnoticed and so,  go unplanted.   Their  2016 spring growth on my grounds, whether spruce, pine, fir, juniper, arborvitae, hemlock, yew, or chamaecyparis, along with the deciduous larch I cherish, began their spring show almost two weeks ago……Their foliar budding increases every day and will continue to do so until the first week in June this year, not the usual  five days to a week of winsome, attractive, fresh  spring beauty of others of the garden, but  SIX WEEKS OF WINSOME, ATTRACTIVE, FRESH SPRING BEAUTY!

Yet, we in gopherland ignore their place in our Earthly garden life, for we don’t pay too much attention to anything  landscape garden beyond lawn and a ‘bush’ or two.

Note to our clients…..Do not forget our client appreciation day at our Masterpiece Landscaping  Home grounds  is Thursday,  May 26  this year.   Be sure to call us at 952-933-5777 in you have any questions….



May 2, 2016

The Spring Landscape Garden is the Most Beautiful

The vast majority of urban and suburban  home owners and others who visit the outdoors rather often,  are not particularly interested in beautiful landscape gardens.    Such gardens  are too rare   to be found.  If ever found, they are usually limited to the back ‘yard’.

Not that there might not be well manicured grounds, well mowed lawns, a healthy tree or two implying a degree of neatness and care somewhere.    But where are the  beautiful spring blooms, the spectacular opening buds on so many of the conifers, the very purpose of  nature’s Spring?      Annabelle hydrangeas don’t bloom for another month or two.    Hostas ringing around tree stumps appear artificial and silly….and the foliage will reach full strength and health in a couple weeks yet…until the slugs get to them.   And yes, there might be  a   Rhododendron and Magnolia blooming in the naked occasionally  somewhere in a square mile or two…..but where is the landscape gardened grounds of inspiration?

In the neighborhood where I live more than half of blue spruce trees over fifteen years old are already more than 50% dead.  Ash trees are all over the place whether wanted,  needed or not.   The positioning of other woody materials, whether needed or not,  occur by habit along the front foundation, whether attractive nor not.    Lawns, lots of them,  are mowed.    A shrub or two appear  somewhere.   But, there is little, if any, harmony anywhere on the home grounds.    Crabapples  do appear in the front of  some suburban homes occasionally, but live  unpruned, therefore return to  their natural ugly selves every   Autumn and Winter at leaf fall.

All of the conifers, if there are any planted at all,  are called either ‘evergreens’ or pine.   Few are ever pruned to beauty, for almost no one knows how to prune them to add to their beauty.    Their beautiful leaf buds are opening now and will continue to be displayed until  early June.

In the suburbs, many homes have garages attached to the house itself as a ‘convenience’  making it possible for folks to go to and come from work without ever  having to worry about visiting the   outdoors.   Perhaps fewer than  one in fifty homeowners  know the names of  any  woody plants planted on  their grounds and fewer would know why they were  planted there in the first place.   Identifying perennials might be limited to two species.

We at Masterpiece years ago offered  Spring landscape  garden tours of exceptional Twin City settings, but folks weren’t interested.  Garden tours, by habit in towns and cities  for more than a century have  occured  the first two weeks in July or so when  lady garden club members could show off their  flower gardens in best bloom.     Such gardened grounds are often exquisitely colorful for a week or two  as a flower garden, but  NOT a landscape garden setting where the home grounds are beautiful to come home to, live within, and enjoy whether visiting and  ‘sculpting’ or  looking out each window admiring the setting.

Beginning this Saturday, May 7, we at Masterpiece are offering a series of classes to learn more about landscape gardening in the home grounds.   Please call 612-919-5300 for further information.   Be sure to look at a blog earlier this week for more details……