Most homeowners in our Minnesota communities ignore landscape gardens. Lawn and a shade tree in the middle of the front lawn, mud in the shadier depths, and the foundation plantings habits fits their needs for the duration. Probably most homeowners are poorer now than they have been for more than a decade. They endure living in their sterile environment. More females mow lawns these days than ever. The American husband population from coast to coast has been disappearing.
Nothing beyond the human family, what is left of it these days, has the dimensions to inspire ones soul, if one has one, than living among the beauty of the Earth, the place from whence we come and where we return.

March is our Minnesota’s ugliest month of the year with or without Eden in our midst. The more lawn, the less garden and the less clean-up. The more deciduous trees, the less lawn, the less garden, and the more mud and leaves to clean-up. Diseased conifers trees don’t distribute their ‘leaves’ helter-skelter, but are uglier in March. Their diseases and distortions are seen more clearly. Some in my neighborhood have been 90% dead for ten years, but their homeowners haven’t come to notice yet. Some grounds possess shrubs whether needed or not. No one in the neighborhood plant names.

Nearly nothing is placed to direct the eye to the garden’s beauty, for there is no beauty for the eye to see.

In our Twin Cities suburbia there are generally no alleys. Garages appear at the front of the house. In most suburbs areas garages and their pavements dominate the entire front grounds of every home on the block. How is the beauty quotient of your front grounds holding up when you look across to the other side of the street and see the entire mess of it? These scenes are not as ugly in March for the pavements usually aren’t cluttered and the garage doors are usually still closed.

If you were more aware of the art of landscape gardening, how would you grow your front landscape garden or gardens better? How would you create and maintain its beauty so that every day its sight, its harmony inspires every time you see and enter it no matter what season of the year. Like the compositions of the great Beethovens, creating landscape garden beauty is simply A TRICK OF THE TRADE. With Beethoven and kind, the trick was to manipulate the human ear arranged sounds, instruments in harmony to reach the human the soul to inspire the moments, moods while listening.

In the ideal, the trick of the trade of creating a beautiful and memorable landscape garden is to manipulate plants to accomplish the same spirit, but to manipulate primarily the human eye, but also upon occasion and season, the ear, and the nose.

For those interested in reviewing the condition of your landscape garden, its design and/or allure, call us at Masterpiece Landscaping, 952-933-5999 for a consultation, for gathering information, advice, for installation or improvements.

With the arrival of a few days of endurable landscape garden weather, even though snow still occupies great swaths of ground in places, I spent the past three days cleaning up some of the residue under the weight of a drier than normal, windy five months of winter. Rabbit damage was more severe than normal. Japanese spiraeas, barberries of all kinds were eaten nearly to the ground…but they will recover but at a shorter size of growth compared to normal seasons. Lower branches of arborvitae shrubs, Norway spruce, Rhododendrons, and shrubby pines were denuded of foliage and bark what used to be the first foot, foot and a half of last year’s growth. Smokebushes, redbuds, and some hydrangeas also became tasty bark this past winter, but the damage didn’t appear lethal anywhere.

Pruning is corrective exercise but also an art form unto itself with its own rules. Nothing is complex about pruning for form and design. One needs to know what one is pruning, how to prune, what plants are damaged when pruned ‘out-of-season’. Pruning perennials is easy. The time to prune depends upon the time of bloom, and the beauty of the perennial in foliage and/or bloom held well in winter. Nearly all of the hydrangea shrubs and small trees on the Minnesota market, except for Endless Summer, produce reliable bloom clusters which hold exceedingly well throughout most winters. Winter blooms of Quick Fire are beautiful throughout the season.

Perennials with excellent winter bloom show include the Chinese Astibles, which become a spectacular weedy infestation when in bloom in grounds with reliable irrigation, the Baptisias, Vernonia, Joe Pyeweed hold their blooms proudly and attractively throughout most of our winters. My favorite of winter interest plantings is the Cinnamon Fern unless the snowfall buries it when over three feet.