Spring is not, by calendar, that far away from today’s February if you are a devoted landscape gardener…..in particular one who is devoted to express this love as it classically is supposed to be……from one’s soul.
Throughout the history of mankind, there are two ‘far superior’ spiritually-driven artistic forms of human expression above all others…..”Paradise from beautiful music….and paradise from beautiful Earth.
Religiously…..”One is closest to God..in the Garden,” so truthfully discovered by and from the ancients, both Chinese and JudeoChristian sources.
In our today’s world, beauty has been made to disappear. It is neither taught in music, sculpture, in architecture, and certainly NOT in the American garden….with some historic exceptions, those still maintained for tourists to view.
We live in a much different world today where neither art forms are personally practiced. We live in cement and concrete worlds belabored by noise sold as music as if noise on busy streets.
I believe that the easiest of all art forms for citizens owning some space of land, such as the grounds surrounding ones home, is the art of beautifully gardened grounds.
I’ve been God blessed in my lifetime. From age five on, (before our U.S. entered World War II) I was forced to listen to Beethoven, Strauss, Handel, and beautiful operatic arias by radio, often scratchy in reception, and in the same day I’d find glory building cities and making scenery in a neighbor’s sandbox.
We had a beautiful snow fall this past week in our Twin Cities. For a day or two, lucky if a week, visual paradise covered our Earth. That paradise would be less empty if our homeowners were more experienced in or sensitive toward the art of creating and maintaining a beautifully landscape gardening.
Maintaining a landscape of lawn can be beautiful in its negative space, depending on the quality of clip the lawn receives during the growing season. In winter the vastness from urban lawns can be beautiful from the negative space of a lovely snowfall. But, without form, color, and shape, a landscape garden at any season, is as empty as a prairie, and therefore no landscape garden at all.
The urban citizen lawn was an invention made popular after the American Civil War when woods and farming young people began migrating to cities for work. Big time industries, built in the North to win the Civil War spread out to build railroads across the country as well as from city to city, east of the Mississippi, building houses in new towns swelling in population. Pittsburgh belched out the steel to build homes to lure guys from the country needed for work AND buyers of new homes fresh off the Pittsburgh steel presses. These homes, often built enmasse had to be cheap enough for purchase by both immigrants and native farmers moving to towns, both finding work in the mills or providing service elsewhere in the communities of these fast growing cities and towns.
A well manicured lawn became a symbol of urban ‘superior’ living over the farm. Towns and cities advertised the people now populating their growing urban areas, as less raw folks, neighborhoods of folks less imprisoned by daily, nightly, and seasonal chore demands, free to live in a new world of civilized city life with neighbors and schools ….where even newspapers began to show up.
Lawn was cheap….and easy to maintain. City ordinances required lawns, mowed lawns to be maintained to advance the aura and reality of civilized urban life.
To keep house prices affordable for a labor oriented population, certain cuts were made to imply beauty from a distance, anyway of these new affordable homes…..Clapboard, that is sheets of pretend brick would imply brick if seen from city streets….Also concrete block was used as foundation material rather than far more expensive beautiful stone and/or brick.
Covering over the ugly cement block gave rise to a new language and industry in the American landscape world….”FOUNDATION PLANTINGS”…..Whether Denver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Duluth, Apple Valley, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Fordyce, Arkansas, to this very day, whether needed or not, the one term known by nearly any homeowner anywhere in America is foundation planting…..usually in our northland….spreading junipers or yews diving the lawn from the foundations of the house….or even an apartment or business building.
What do these paragraphs of American history have to do with conifers and beautiful winter days?
Answer: In general, the most reliably beautiful plants in our Minnesota and other such northlands for winter view essential in our landscape gardens …..are the hardy upright EVERGREEN conifers. These days they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
The art of landscape gardening is a visual art form….SO IS MAGIC! Both skills are based upon tricking the human eye to go where the artist wants the viewer’s eye to go….and where to continue to flow…..
In the ideal the most successful landscape garden is one that implies privacy…..God’s room away from the present…whether by form, color, shapes, contrast, and fragrance…..and best of all as in beautiful music, HARMONY.
We at Masterpiece Landscaping are always glad to assist folks at their home or business to create, guide, or correct settings of beauty where beauty is not well served. Do call us at 952-933-5777 for an estimate.
P.S…..The crabapples are the most popular flowering trees in our Twin City area Minnesota landscapes. Nearly all species and cultivars are very difficult to keep healthy, for they are prone to all sorts of diseases and maladies of form. Late February and early March are the best times to rejuvenate the shape and look of your crabapples without spreading the disease.
April and May pruning may become lethal to your crabapples by allowing the disease, ‘fireblight’ to enter wounds made upon the tree during this time. Call us, again, at 952-933-5777, for we would be glad to restore beauty by shaping and cleaning up your crabapples or any other trees or shrubs during this time….
Warning….some of our area flowering shrubs, viburnums, azaleas, rhododendrons, and northern bridalwreath spirea must NOT be pruned during spring….for there is no way to prune at this time without destroying their blooms.