Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

April 9, 2017

Twin City Spring…2017 in Our Northland

Filed under: Bulbs,garden seasons,Ground Covers,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 4:52 pm

It’s been very dry this Spring of our Minnesota northland.   It also has been warmer than usual, thank God!   Yes, Winter in Gopherland….which  should be called Rabbitland,  was colder and longer when I was four years old back in 1938, the first year  I discovered “garden”.

Minnesotans, at least we urban ones, had tons of close  friends and relatives who had to be visited including many owning a family farm.  I loved visiting family and friends from the very beginning.  It was a helluva lot better than watching television folks!   People especially cared  for  family, regardless how large.  No life insurance.   Death was not uncommon.    Cancer had taken two grandparents before I was born.   By 1947  an aunt, an uncle,   the two remaining grandparents, and a cousin, who died from leukemia also were gone.

We lived in the city.   Everyone we knew among family, friends, and neighbors  were Godfearing,  preferring to follow the JudeoChristian rules of goodness over marijuana, amass knowledge over  feelings, be civil rather than savage.   We knew our neighbors, about sixty or more, very, very well.

We Americans, in those days, were expected to grow up!   We were outdoor people….and lived rather closely together.   Our city lots were 45′ by 100′, which included  a single car garage in the back yard.

Everyone, every grounds had a flower garden and a vegetable garden….Apple and plum trees were extra, and we kids were known to have stolen a number of units during season.  No noises came  from motorized tools in those days.   Lawn mowers were borrowed from time to time when emergency called.   Knowing about 20  neighbors’ telephone numbers by heart was about average then until television arrived about 1947.

Raising a lovely city gardened yard was a sign folks who lived in the neighborhood were civilized and learned.   A well maintained  lawn and properly pruned spreading conifers along the front foundation of the house were proof neat neighbors lived there.  The neighborhood was clean, well manicured, and in Spring, always displayed tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, crocus, and scilla  in the side or backyard garden, if only sometimes to coax the eye away from the vegetable garden if not perfectly manicured.

Because of that past, today I still  live in paradise, but it’s a lonely place  these days.   No one seems to be aware of their nearby outdoors, here where I live and, in general throughout the metropolitan area….and generally the grounds show it.

We are having an early Spring season this 2017 year.  Last year there was a 4″ snow fall this week which slowed Spring life up for nearly a month.  The spring bulbs came and went within a week.

Already scilla, snowdrops, puschkinia, crocus, chionodoxa have opened  up for display on my grounds.  Narcissus, that is, daffodils are already displaying foliage.  They’ll begin flowering in a week.

If the weather stays cool, most of these bulbs will remain in bloom for a couple of weeks.  Remember the rabbits.   They love crocus and tulips, don’t seem to know what Puschkinia, Chionodoxa and Snowdrops are…..and hate Narcissus.

It’s the heat of the location of planting that dictates the length of bloom in general.

Bulbs aren’t the only easy to oblige Spring plants in our area.   I have hundreds of Bloodroot and Virginia Bluebells now greening up for bloom next week or so, depending on the heat of the days.

But I have never planted Bloodroot or Virginia Bluebells  on my grounds.  I am presuming  birds did.   Since most of my acre grounds is lawnless,  I now have hundreds of clumps of both….I toss these Bluebells when they invade beyond their spaces.  If they are kept hugging each other, their spring blue is truly exceptional….with no worry at all.   By early June your Bluebells will disappear from life for another year.    Last year Bloodroot was in bloom about three days in May….for it was a warm Spring and rather late.   Yesterday, I saw a clump of it in full bloom on the South side of my garage….a first, for it must have seeded itself  over the past year.  You will not find a wildflower as neat as Bloodroot.   I let it grow where ever it wants to live…..usually in some shade and often understory to  large wide spreading shrubs.

Notes:   Nearly any flowering perennial, woody or not, marked as shade-loving here in Gopherland can survive beautifully in full morning Sun.  It’s the rising  heat of the afternoon hours that usually causes trouble

The bulbs mentioned above  lose their foliage by mid-June.     They appear for sale on the market around Labor Day here in Minnesota for Fall planting.

 

April 7, 2017

Today’s “Garden” Conditions AD 2017 and the Landscaped Garden

Most folks who own ‘grounds’ are not landscape garden gardeners.  Especially these days of cultures of different drives and habits.

Beauty has disappeared from today’s American cultural experience and has been absent for more than two generations.   Yes, this is a matter of opinion, but most of you readers and “non-readers” aren’t old enough to remember the late 1930s through the 1950s when Americans of the Great Depression became dedicated to win a World war they had to win and became prosperous for doing so.

For peace and quiet for the living who remain honest citizens, there still is ‘the garden’….in particular the landscaped garden where human fingers instead of the mind are dirtied, where knowledge and experience  are  required and amassed to avoid failure,  boredom, and the malcontent.

Beautiful landscape gardens are for the eye, what beautiful music is for the ear….but who knows Beethoven, Handel, or Verdi anymore?

Nearly all  gardens, if they exist at all,  are flower gardens, that kind of garden in which colorful flowers are grown, but these are not  landscaped gardens.   There could be shrub gardens, tree gardens which might or might not be accurately deemed landscaped gardens….for they might be merely plant material on display with no spiritual activity obvious in its arrangement.

In the ideal, a landscape garden is a space, a  “room”, or series of “rooms” where upon entering  one exits  the world “outdoors”.    One becomes  captivated by the Garden of Eden  almost immediately becoming detached from any  worries of the day.

Warning:   Discovering beauty in  the  world of the  landscape garden may become habit forming……driving the victim to become inspired to own one, or even driven enough to learn how to create and/or maintain one…..or call us  at Masterpiece Landscaping Ltd  at 952-933-5777  to structure one for you to fit your grounds.

In the meantime, do remember that most  beautiful landscape gardened grounds are established by positioning  large plant forms first as structure, as if you are entering a special room.   Shrubs, trees, and the larger of whatever non-woody  plants are used for beauty whether for color, texture,  or form….. or whatever materials  your (or OUR MASTERPIECE  soul, eye,  and knowledge command, are to be planted first before the smaller floral or woody plant material……..Why?

……because Beautiful Landscaped Gardens are created,  for the eye…… as Beethoven’s masterpieces, were created for  the ear in order to reach the human  brain which inspires  the  twist and  conquer of creating beauty .

For the accomplished landscape garden creator, it is the eye which must be ‘touched’,  trained,  skilled,  manipulated to position  plants for their form, size, color, texture, fragrance, seasons of performance, contrasts, length of life,  to capture and  inspire the minds and souls of all those so fortunate to visit such paradises….

In nearly ever culture known to mankind, eternal paradise is not a flower bed, not a swath of lawn, nor a National Anthem,  but an EDEN, a  LANDSCAPED GARDEN arrangement of plants causing a dream of  INSPIRATION AND PERFECTION OF LIFE EVEN AFTER DEATH’……

Do enjoy your day.   It’s been very, very dry thus far  this Spring.   I have to retire to my  Paradise on Earth now  to nurture  its plantings with  some precious water, the source of life on Earth,  to encourage them to become happier earlier to extend   their beauty of  life  longer  to inspire all  who enter the landscape garden’s realm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 3, 2017

My first “employment” in The Garden

Filed under: About Masterpiece,The Art of Landscaping — glenn @ 5:03 pm

I am Glenn Ray, the old timer of Masterpiece Landscaping, Ltd.   It was 75 years ago this very May, I began my first venture in ‘managing’ a gardened piece of land.  It was the Spring following Pearl Harbor.  Our America was at World War.   I lived in a very modest, but newer part of St. Paul, Minnesota at that time, a neighborhood where there were a number of empty lots, all sized at about 50′ by 100′ feet per lot.   There were three directly across the alley from our house.

As a part of the War effort, my Dad, too old to sign up or be drafted, joined the Victory Garden movement.   The city would plow empty lots larger than 40′ x 40′ free if any homeowner would take responsibility, care and cost, for developing a vegetable garden and share half of the produce with the neighborhood.  My father, a pharmacist and former North Dakota farmer agreed.  After plowing, my parents and I raked and ‘seeded’ peas, pole beans, leaf lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, raised corn and tomatoes and the like.

That was the last time this trio met “to work” in this Victory Garden.  Due to lack of labor my Dad had to work overtime; my Mother developed an allergy to bees.

I was given charge….in general as a punishment for some or another chore I had failed to perform.   I loved the place from the very beginning.   No adults around……..free, free at last to play and pretend….where I could dive bomb weeds, beetles, and worms as another part of the War effort.   When hoeing I could use my weapon to ‘shoot’   enemy Zeros, that is, crows or robins.  That garden was the best place I’ve ever been to play, in or out of ‘punishment’…..all four years of it.

I alone was the harvester.  I picked the ears of corn, tomatoes, radishes, green beans, and kholrabi, cut the leaf lettuce, ate the peas right out of the pods.  I planted the seeds and picked off the Colorado potato beetles and squeezed the aphids.

I became profoundly respected for my achievements…yet, even sent there as punishment from time to time.  I was smart enough to keep my paradise a secret, so I practiced pouting…. (“Oh, not again!”).  Such duplicity was never discovered, for I would have been otherwise punished for being ‘deceptive’.

I was first introduced to the art of landscape gardening by “R. Atkinson Fox” that year, the same year I was made hands on  in charge of ‘nursing’ our family Victory Garden as part of the War effort, May, 1942 in the empty lots across the alley from where we lived on Eleanor Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I met “R. Atkinson Fox”  a few months earlier that year……a signature to a pretty painted picture of trees, shrubs, and flowers,  hanging on the wall opposite the  front entry way to  our house……  Where and when that part of the Winter at that place in the house my mom introduced me to her  style of punishment for me so she could listen to her beautiful classical music hours on radio without me asking questions or otherwise interrupting her Heaven.   She was especially fond of Beethoven and Johann Strauss, Jr.   She didn’t want anything noisy around, she warned….while she was listening to beautiful things.

When I goofed or forgot the rules, I had to stand at that wall silent for an hour every time, looking at beautiful things in the Fox painting of a landscape garden.

Outdoors, I began learning to play ‘making scenery’ in the next door neighbor’s roomy sand box, the only box on the block.   I chewed off countless twigs of a conifer near the sand box for my trees… an Arborvitae.  Unaware, this was the beginning of my future career and Our Company.

Following me in the company are two co-owners, my son, Christian Ray,  and Joshua Perlich, who began landscaping at Masterpiece when he was 16….both are not only well trained in the world of landscape gardening, they are gifted artists as well.

Landscape gardening is supposed to be an art form….actually the one most cherished of human history.

In nearly every culture of human history, Paradise is perceived as a Perfect Landscape Garden.