Halt! What Grows There?

April 19, 2022

This is the perfect time of year to take a slow, conscientious look at all parts of the properties in your care. By taking a walk around the perimeters of the garden or lawn, you will see what is exposed in the furthest corners of the property. Seeing what may not be evident when the grass is green, shrubs leafing out, trees vibrant or blooming, and lawn furniture focusing interest and attraction on a patio’s hardscape or fire pit, can help you make not only a “to do” list but craft a proposal for work to tackle during the year.

bird nest photo

This is the perfect time of year to walk around your clients’ properties, and see what is going on in the furthest corners and most remote areas of the lawn or garden. With little foliage, you can see things you may not have known before, and your customers may really enjoy knowing. Seeing birds’ nests means you are doing something right to offer habitat welcoming to birds. In turn, their presence offers benefits to the gardens and to the people enjoying those gardens.

You may find some canes of brambles starting, having escaped from a neighbor’s raspberry patch, and need to contain those now. You may see, worse yet, evidence of knotweed or Oriental bittersweet, both distinctive in shapes and colors of growth, that need to be eradicated now in this phase of their growth. You may find things you didn’t realize had taken root, having escaped from a compost pile and need to reorganize how the compost is stored and cared for.

Walking around the properties, you will see what they look like from a different vantage point. Seeing what neighbors see or how a face of the property looks from a less traveled street could mean you’ll pay more attention to planting or pruning to bring those vantage points up to the standard of the rest of the garden you’ve cared for or designed over the time you’ve been with that client.

Too often, we narrow our field of vision by being fond of relaxing in a small area, accessed by a patio slider to the house, and over time, get more lax about other areas of the garden that could effectively increase our appreciation of the property. Seeing the garden now, without the furniture or containers planted by patio walls, could mean you can work with the client to highlight trees (think nighttime landscape lighting) or create secondary focal points in areas of the yard further from the house itself.

While wanting to replace the pandemic “stuck at home” mindset with “home is where we love to spend time” mindset, you can take a chance to scrutinize the whole property with an eye on what else could be where on the property. Think about spending time there, and caring for a part of the lawn which could be recreational, such as how to site a bocce ball area, horseshoe pits, badminton or cornhole toss games. The popularity of these games in increasing, and this time of year when people are getting antsy to be outdoors, is the perfect time to see where in a lawn something like that could be possible. There’s a lot of movement to redesign the front lawn in ways we formerly thought unconventional, such as with a space for games like these to a place to grow vegetables!

You have the skills to share ideas with clients, and the professional approach to justify why an investment in a garden game area, raised bed for vegetables, or enhancing a far corner of the property (new term on the scene, “Sit Spot”) can mean more to discuss with your clients. Also very importantly, you’ll see how much more there is to learn about the habitat you’re helping create for the benefit of wildlife, birds, insects to thrive and protect our ecological balance with the overall environment. Get out there and appreciate your work, remembering what it will look like in a several months and see where your vision for the client takes you both!

— by Chris Blackstone, NHCLP