(unless you live in a prison or in New York City.)

I used to run alot during my middle years of life.  

I walk now.    

I found running stimulating and it kept my heart strong and weight down.   In my yesterday,  I could run home 24 miles  to Minnetonka from Anoka, and did.   I left my Chevrolet there at Main Motors for repairs.   Running gave me freedom to run home rather than depending on someone else  to give me a ride.

One can review home landscapes  much easier when walking.  

Most of what one sees is festering  wounds, cancers, scars and organized disorder often surrounding an otherwise lovely house.  Every tenth homestead or less, one passes  by  an exception and slows down to appreciate the pleasant site, the special statement by its homeowner.    People who live at these exceptions take care of where they live.

I cannot help but slow down at such sites……especially while passing a  handful of ‘yards’  in my neighborhood which  Masterpiece Landscaping has been developing.    I am usually very proud of what I see.    We built their outdoor structure, and they are keeping  their ‘home’, their  ‘paradise’.

Landscaping ones home grounds is an investment.   Most homeowners aren’t aware that  this is a fact.

My neighborhood is a community built about 40-50 years ago.    It was designed for families with children….for families generally satisfied with their station in life with family and retirement-living expected to be experienced in the same home.      Most homes are modest in size and appearance.  

It is a very middle middle class part of suburban Minneapolis, but built before the age of ostentation…….that strange decade or three when after raising families,  parents removed themselves to Bear Path, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley and similar locales to these  much larger even estate-like homes built on postage stamp lots once their children left home…….a mausoleum for two people, ma and pa kettle.   There was no room for any paradise garden.

My Minnetonka neighborhood is blessed with smaller, more reasonable sized homes usually owned by parents who raised children in the bedrooms and kitchens where those  children,  when returning to mom and dad for visits in later life can remember the joys and sorrows of growing up by just being there.     There is usually ample room for paradise to grow  around these modest homes.

That is what “Home” used to mean generation after generation.

Unfortunately, few homeowners think about any beauty just outside their doors anymore.   In newer house designs homeowners  don’t even exit  directly outdoors,  but walk  into a  garage or two, climb into a  vehicle of choice and exit directly out unto the city street.   The mind is totally void of any thought of landscape garden beauty.

Generally, however, one can tell the modern from yesteryear’s ideal.    Most yesteryear folks attempt to keep  their own home grounds  more neatly despite any lack of artistic inspiration.

Our neighborhood is not unattractive at first glance.   It is shady in summer from its huge ash, Norway and  silver maple and honey locust trees with a few river birch here and there.   Scars are hidden by leaf cover.   Some of the native oaks were saved from development  and still flourish.  Some lawns are very well kept, even watered. 

 In winter many  of these oaks  are character-filled specimens and excel in  their beauty  when some retain their full head of hair of tan and golden  leaves throughout the otherwise bleak season.

And bleak season it is,  in my Minnetonka area.    Hundreds  of spruce, many of them blue spruce  are still standing where they were  planted by homeowners  40 to 50  years ago.     Nearly all these spruce are skeletons of themselves, ugly and nearly dead from foliar disases, lack of water,  winter troubles, and assorted other  neglect.   Many are dying under twenty five years of  shade from  an enormous green ash or silver maple which zoomed skyward past the height  these conifers could attain.

These horror trees and the honey locusts probably should not have been planted on these grounds in the first place, but they were cheap….$5.00 a shot……The tract developers weren’t skilled  in landscaping anyway.  Money spent to build a house was never supposed to go to the landscape.   

Designers  sat   at desks looking at checkered paper and would make marks where the fastest growing and cheapest  trees would grow.

Sometimes the homeowner ‘designed’ the grounds to keep costs in check.   Because they are more expensive than other woody plants, few developers had any conifers planted except for rinkydink ‘stuff’ as foundation plantings, whether foundation plantings were needed or not, attractive or not, the right size or not.

Almost all of the planted trees, the ugly and the beautiful,  I see as I walk by on my daily  exercise tour have managed their lives totally on their own.  “Fertilizing” and trees are never caught in the same sentence by homeowners  hereabouts.     It is the habit in the community to ignore the out doors until the outdoors causes a problem.    Some guys  have boats parked in their driveways or golf clubs leaning against car fenders.  They plan to go elsewhere to spend their money to seek pleasure.    Investing  money, body and soul on the home grounds  has never entered the mind.

Most don’t walk their streets in Winter.  And the few who do don’t seem to notice the dying  spruce, the mangled, disorderly and diseased crabapples,  the dangers and ugliness  of a 70 foot silver maple hovering  over a one-story rambling or split level house.

One has to go indoors to see a bad play, to an arena to  hear vulgar rap,   or a theater to watch a disgusting movie.   One has to open a book to read whether  modern junk or Shakespeare.   One can refuse to watch television.    Folks need to go out of their way and often spend money to endulge in something called art in some way no matter how bad it all might be except for one art form.

Every day one leaves  home, one will  be exposed to the ‘art’ of landscape gardening with all of its modern disorder and ugliness, whether one wants to or not.

In Minnesota the longest landscape season each year is WINTER.   It is as long as all of the other landscape seasons put together.     Invite yourself outdoors onto your own grounds.   Look around your  inch of Mother Earth.

Is there a French Lilac in your future?      Where would it go?    Why?    Would you take care of it?

None of  the art forms of mankind so uplifts the human eye and soul more than  an  idealized  landscape grounds.    After all, in nearly every human nonpolar culture PARADISE is imagined as a BEAUTIFUL GARDEN!

If  you want any help in any way to  bring more landscape garden beauty to your life where you live or work, please call us at Masterpiece Landscaping Ltd., at 952-933-5777.