LOVELY GREENS….. by Tanya from The Isle of Man
20 Saturday May 2023
20 Saturday May 2023
20 Saturday May 2023
14 Sunday May 2023
A perfectly beautiful day to go picking out plants. And we found a beautiful new bright Peach Rose bush for our Valley Drive client. We delivered it on the way back home and have planned the install with our homeowner for early Tuesday morning.
Our other mission was “wave” or “trailing” Petunias for a metal basket, which fits at the top of a garden Etagere. We purchased two (2) “wave” White, and two (2) “wave” pink. And one (1) Pink verbena for the center of the dish. It has lots of buds. And in a previous post we mentioned over-wintering a third season pink Geranium, so we’ll be taking it from our location early tomorrow morning, to the site of our Beverley Drive clients house, and finally planting everything up. It’s always kind of exciting to pull a project together. And
this client also needed four pretty Begonias for her planters on the shelves of her very cute Etagere. We selected four (4), one each in pink/white/peach and yellow.
It was a super busy day at the nursery with it being Mother’s Day. Many children picking things out for Mother’s and Grandmother’s. Lots of Dads and Dogs joining in on family fun outings. Wagons and garden carts everywhere and as soon as plant racks were emptied, new ones were rolled in with yet more plants. It’s worth standing back and just watching the huge assortment of plants being added every hour. We had small purchases today but what’s great is that the commercial checkout line is so manageable because it’s inside the nurseries “red barn” so we don’t have to stand in long lines. We buy items for clients, we do charge them a moderate site visit fee, but in return they receive our “biz discount” on all their plants. This is a “nice win” for them and brings new installation work for us. And the beauty of seeing so much plant life to choose from is dazzling. We always enjoy our trips to the nursery. It just fills you up to see the variety and the amazing colors and displays. This nursery has many talented designers and employees with a ton of knowledge and we love the idea of a family owned and operated nursery. So important to support “home grown” businesses. We contributed a small part in that ethic today.
“Contessa” says… it is a site visit to behold!
11 Thursday May 2023
We are here today to complete our clients spring tidy. The Pansies made it through the winter and most everything came back except one (1) Salvia. The Shasta Daisy looks small but we are pretty certain it will fill in. Our last fall tidy took a lot of weeds out so her beds are fairly clean of weeds. She does have some left over spring blooming daffodils and we planted tulips last fall, so we need to do some cleaning up of the beds of those two early spring bloomers. And it’s time to remove all the Pansies. They served her well from late October until now. A good run forPansies, and she loves them
So Yesterday she and I shopped for plants. This year she wanted to add all “annuals.” So we found some pretty ones. The main thing is she likes color and instant gratification and she made all the pics herself. Waiting for blooms is not particularly her ”thang.”
Here is part of her area from last year, as a comparison after we added about 8 new perennials and finished her spring work
Sooo…. Please check back this evening to get a “birds eye view” of our progress.
We are still planting and moving plants around. Tidying up early spring bloomers and cleaning the patio furniture and cleaning the sand from the newly created stone patio. We will be back tomorrow to first off plant the two new yellow Rose bushes, finish planting the four new Canna Lily’s and four other annuals in the larger bed. Then we will mulch everything and take a final video.
We completed four hours today and estimate another four or five to finish. We can always move a few hours into Monday morning. Let’s see how it takes shape. One thing is for sure, the beds were full of weeds and creeping vines when we took on this project and we have come a long way. It is looking full and will definitely be pretty for our summer season.
(REVISED) Friday – 5/12/23 – 5:30 pm
Four (4) Hours today. New yellow Rose bushes planted in the sloping bed. Tricky digging holes on an incline. But we think we have them positioned quite well. Both a little higher on the slope than the one in the middle at our clients request. Everything in the main bed is planted and the entire bed is cleaned up of debris. All four Canna Lily’s in pots are yet to be planted. We need one more larger pot as Canna grow rather large and we don’t want them to tip over. We will check our own supply to see if we might have one in storage, but the owner is willing to purchase a fourth if need be.
We need potting soil and we will pick it up Monday morning on our way to the site. But they were thoroughly watered and with 90% chance of rain tomorrow, Saturday, they will be fine until Monday when we return. Finally to finish this project we will spread the mulch.
We had told our client we would clean up all the patio furniture and so our “wonder cleaner” baking soda did the trick. Not only does it clean grime, but it whitens and brightens. Can’t beat it for .80 cents per box. All her chairs had mildew and the baking soda eats away at it; just a little water and soda and a soft brush really cleaned them up. A wonder cleaner. Late fall we had gathered and placed all the furniture off to side of the yard so that when the patio folks arrived last week they had clearance to complete their job. And it’s looking really very nice. Great stone and great pattern the way they laid it. Still a good amount of sand is lingering on the surface, but when we finally wrap up the gardening project, we are going to clean it up well. No additional photos this week because we prefer to give you a “final video” upon completion. But it’s looking really great already.
”Contessa” says….. a big project…. but a fun one as well!
(REVISED) – 5/16/23 – Tuesday- 5:00 pm
This client had no garden when we met her. Nothing but invasive creeping vines. So this is year three and we have lots of flowers now and today we finished up all the finishing touches. Planted four Canna Lily’s and a very pretty ornamental Azalea for the center of her garden table.
We are home now….. and will be invoicing her for eleven (11) hours. Five bags of mulch, two bags of potting soil, and two (2) yellow rose bushes.
”Contessa” says….so lovely to work in and complete this pretty little garden!
10 Wednesday May 2023
Today I so needed to happen upon this adorable cartoon.
Our pace today was incredibly challenging. A ton of logistical work in progress. Attempting to arrange time for each “in need” customer now that spring/summer is fully in swing. We are just now arriving home and it’s 6:01 pm. We had new appts to schedule, plant selection appointments to complete, plants to purchase and deliver, clients to call about their upcoming “maintenance service contracts” that begin on June 1, and making sure that every longer term client has been served for “spring tidy” prior to June 1.
And we also visited a potential new customer today and it’s now a solid booking. Yes!
Our personal service gardening approach has blossomed and we wish to serve….but to serve you well. Our goal is still to keep what we do on a small enough scale, so that all of you feel you are being cared for.
Many blessings are happening as we write. We could not be more pleased with how our gardening endeavors have unfolded this year. Without your needing us to tend your gardens, we would be unable to continue….. So thank you…..to all of you! Thank you so much for everything.
And so it is in this context, that we appreciate the cartoon included above. Without my Lord and Saviors guidance, support and love I could not continue. I love what I’m doing, I care very much for each of you, and I hope that you know that you are important to me. I trust that our small endeavors to take care of and serve you, are really helping you. We are here….. to serve everyone!
Thank you Jesus……for your love that fills all of us daily and gives us the conviction and fortitude to serve you well. Jesus, you have made this all possible. We praise and thank you for your love and support.
• AMEN •
08 Monday May 2023
Today we started a new client and a new spring project. Spring tidy is the plan and we will move one Hosta at our homeowners request, to create a border/anchor between our client and their neighbor.
The left side bed is pretty low growing natives and the right side bed was just full of weeds, so we tidied the bed up leveled all the soil and filled a fairly large area in the corner with soil, once we removed a square brick area that had been placed in this bed, by a former owner to accommodate a grill. We took all that out today. Our homeowner wants shade tolerant and low maintenance plants in the bed toward the back and some slate and two chairs more towards the front. A little “oasis” for them to sit and visit and enjoy the new common ground area that has been recently created by the PFX crews. Three (3) hours today.
We will be going back tomorrow to remove most of the slate and then see what kind of condition the soil is in under it. This will give us an indicator as to what kind of plants might be possible considering a lot of shade, the soils condition and low maintenance as our guide for success.
With the hope that the soil might be conducive to plants or shrubs, we will then visit the nursery on Sun morning to make a selection along with our client.
Now that it’s pretty much cleaned up, they have more of a feel for how much space they really have and after our digging up of some of the soil to see it’s condition, we will be better able to advise them on what to plant in the back one-third of this fairly nice sized bed. This area will hopefully become their “living” backdrop.
Hours going forward are at present undetermined until after tomorrows digging excavation. We just aren’t clear yet on how planting is going to be, and certainly no point in further planning until we complete the work.
So we’ll report back tomorrow.
“Contessa” says…it’s all part of the fun of our project!
(REVSED) Tuesday – 5/9/34 – 8:00 pm
Oh look at what we have unearthed!
We were asked to dig to survey for good soil that might be suitable for planting.This is what we found. A stone patio, each three inches thick and closely and precisely positioned to create a very nice small patio.
A trusted neighbor two doors down told us that the prior owners had hired a company to build it. Unfortunately our community association had not approved it and creating patios in your front yard is prohibited. So they were told it must come out. But the homeowner instead, after so much work and expense, simply covered it with mulch. The next owner covered it with dirt about two inches thick. So today we unearthed it. Now the decision is what to do about it.
Our primary goal today was to determine if our new homeowner can plant some bushes in this bed. And the answer is yes. Because the back third of the bed is just soil. And in fact a steel embedded border is deeply placed at the back of the stone creation.
We had begun at the front of the bed removing stones to see if they were continuous. And indeed they were. Our client decided to have us clear the whole patio of all the dirt so we placed it in the back to create a nice bed for planting. And this soil is marvelous to use for just this purpose.
It is now up to the homeowner as to what they want to do. Take all the stone out and sod the area, or plant the area or attempt to get an approval to keep the stone patio “as is.”
In the interim of decisions, we are meeting our client at the nursery on Sunday morning at 9:30 to select some shade tolerant flowering bushes, specifically for the back section.
Our client is excited about picking bushes and getting them planted, and we are happy to follow through on this part of their project, if indeed she finds what she wants.
About an hour ago we billed at 6 hours for the project, to this point. Let’s see what our next steps will be. We are here to follow it to conclusion, but into next week. Because tomorrow through Friday we are booked on another project about four blocks away. We are pretty sure it will all come together. Please do come back and visit us….to see how we finish up.
“CONTESSA” says…..it’s all very good!
02 Tuesday May 2023
Can you believe it… 6 hours. Why such a long time?
First off…. the bed is only about 24 inches wide. Over to the left of the sidewalk is a humongous tree with far reaching roots underneath the earth. Upon digging down even six inches we ran in to thick roots and tangled feelers about 30 inches long. There was no way the six Azalea bushes that had been planted there three years ago, could ever survive. No soil, no depth in the bed and no girth to allow for growth spurts once planted. These were planted by a nursery. The root balls were larger than basketballs. We had to totally soak them and used three different shovels to dig them out. This left huge holes to fill, and the bed had to be leveled properly. Our planting technique is to build beds up towards the middle. Less dirt on the edges near the way to close brick borders. In our opinion those six bushes never stood a chance. No sun there and no depth of soil.
So, very wisely our homeowner decided for us to dig them up today and just plant some pretty annuals for this summers growing season.
Today was cold. It was a very muddy job due to our recent rain and the fact that we had to soak them even more to be able to dig them up.
All the root balls and root feelers were set aside but to wet to bag. So tomorrow we will return to take everything and tidy up any muddy spots left on the sidewalk.
Today we were to have completed the back yard spring tidy as well. Time just did not permit. So we are working to schedule time with the homeowner into next week or tge following week
A NOTE: Folks always ask how long is the project going to take. It’s a normal question, but until we dive into a job it’s very hard to be sure. This job was one of those hard ones. Today’s work was living proof that until you start digging and get into the “nitty gritty” of a project, it’s really hard to give exact times. Once our homeowner saw the mess outside they had a very good idea that our proposed four (4) hours was in the end, not going to be enough time. But the good news is this bed is in much better shape than it’s ever been and together we will try to come up with a more permanent and longer term plan. We’ve recommended removing the brick borders as they really limit the capacity to plant. And a tidy flowering ground cover that is continuously maintained by us may just be the answer. Anyway we will work together to come up with a more permanent solution. In the meantime these very colorful and very pretty Begonias will look nice this summer. They were reasonably priced and certainly brighten up this very shady spot, as they are shade to part shade annuals. For now it’s looking fresh and attractive.
“CONTESSA” says….it’s all very nice!
29 Saturday Apr 2023
21 Friday Apr 2023
Posted Blooms, Gardening, Professional Services, Sharing, Today's Updatein
We completed a three hour buying trip today for four (4) of our clients. At this stage in our business relationship with them, they trust us to make selections for them. It was very busy at the center today so it took longer than usual. We then headed back to our community and made deliveries to each house. As temps were in the very high 80’s today, we did water the plants at each location and watered their gardens as well. Our monthly maintenance contracts do not begin until June 1st, because we are hopeful to complete all our larger jobs before we begin the tender loving care of our “Summer Maintenance” customers. So from now until then we are charging a fee each time we complete a watering visit, upon their request. It was so warm here in Virginia we just had to water, because our plant install jobs are not commencing until next week.
We did purchase some very lovely plants today. Almost $500 in blooming perennials. So we will be busy.
Tomorrow, Sat we have one client install. And Sunday we have an Open House to attend. The owner of the property has asked us to attend this event so he could introduce our services to the visitors. A very nice gesture. And of course he is hoping his next tenant might continue to use our service for continuous upkeep.
It has been a very busy week and tonight it’s now 9:30 pm and we are just finishing our day. Good production this week. Each day full. And for the next two weeks we are booked.
“Contessa” says….. it’s all very good!
20 Thursday Apr 2023
REVISED – MONDAY – 4/24
Tomorrow Tuesday, we will be back to complete this ten (10) hour job. So far we have six hours on the books. We will complete the final push to ready the beds for spring. Our condo crews are coming to trim the square large Boxwoods which creates a ton of leaf debris to tidy up and the perimeter bed which is quite large will be finally addressed to complete “neat and tidy.” The beds inside the courtyard will be hand “tilled” to turn soil and our liquid fertilizer treatment will be sprayed once the tilling is complete. Our Rose bush on the left-center-side is positioned on a sloping area in the bed so we are going to dig it up and fill that area of the bed with new soil to create a more level bed. We believe it’s positioned slightly low in the bed to do well. It’s a ”gardeners guess,” but generally our intuitions serve us and our customers well. We are going to “give it a go.”
We asked our good and gracious Lord for “rain” and on Saturday “HE” provided one full hour of moisture. Thank you dearest Lord. We really needed it for successful gardens. Your provision is accepted and we are so grateful.
We will provide a FINAL VIDEO, once our work is complete. Our technical issues are resolved and so we can post pics and video once again. Thank you WordPress!
Our property today has a number of (7)Pencil Boxwoods. We spent part of today hand trimming them. Early spring and they are “fluffy” with new green growth. So much so, they are branching out. So we used a regular shears to trim them. This is the photo (above) before the trim.
And the (below) photo is after the trim. Last year they weren’t so green, so our fertilizer treatment for them really worked, combined with our proper hand trimming, rather than with an electric trimmer they are looking so healthy. Hand manicuring makes all the difference. They are quite beautiful when given the proper care they “deserve.” These bushes are rare in residential neighborhoods and quite expensive, so keeping them in good shape is a high priority.
We were at this property for three (3) hours today and three last week. We have video to share once we can post it. Technical issues at the moment prevent our successful uploading.
Please visit us again soon. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow we are visiting the garden nursery and looking for specific plants for this client. Things in his beds are coming in slowly, but we think we only lost two plants this winter. They are slowly coming into season.
So far this spring tidy has been six (6) hours for this client location.
We completed our deep edgings around the perimeter of the outside of this property and tomorrow when we return from the nursery we will yet again, do some weed pulling. We hope we can work again tomorrow, but we are expecting 90 degrees so we’ll have to see how it goes. A little early frankly for it to be so warm. We aren’t even to Mothers Day yet and in Virginia that is the signal that we can now buy flowering plants for our gardens as any fear of frost/freeze has passed. A strange year so far with NO snow at all and moisture levels at a critical stage.
WE SO NEED RAIN. Oh great creator of all living things we could use your heavens to open up and bring us some moisture. And we know that when your timing is right, you will send it. Thank you our father God, Oh’ thank you!
(REVISED) Tuesday – 4/25
Oh’ a change in schedule today. Could not he helped. We worked a very hard day yesterday and were fighting allergies. Eyes and pollen and wind and muscle aches. Oh my gosh! We had to reschedule our client to tomorrow. We could barely see when we arrived home last night. Eyes very swollen from the pollen count. Fortunately we were able to move tomorrows client to May 2nd. So it has all worked out. We’ve been resting today and trying to stay indoors as much as possible. It’s been a tough couple couple of weeks with allergies and everyone is asking us….”are they crazy that they can’t “see” from all the pollen in the air. No they are not crazy. It’s been exceptionally rough to see. The weather will hopefully provide us with some more rain this upcoming weekend to clear the dusty/green air. Ugh! Can’t hardly wait for moisture. Regardless tomorrow we must press on. We are fortunate our customers get it. But….they are also suffering too. We all are. Such a really weird spring this year. Pretty of course, but totally off the charts with up and down temps, blooming like crazy flowering trees and plants, and wind to top it all off. Hang tight….one more rainy day and we should be good. I sure am optimistic. Never have we all wanted it to rain so much.
“CONTESSA ” is praying for buckets of RAIN!
(REVISED) – 4/27 – Thursday
Final Video/Inner Courtyard.
We need to possibly replace a couple items called Indian Pinks. At $30 each only two came back. And one is trying. The third is robust. And our Pink Muhly grasses along the center back are taking their time to come round. We know we need some filler items this year. But as this is our bachelor homeowners first year with an all perennial garden we will go slow, so get can choose his own filler-in-Ed’s. He is particular about his taste and so we are following his lead. We have recommended some bulbs be planted in the fall for next years spring blooming. And he liked the yellow Canna Lilies last year over by his Frank Lloyd Wright statuary, so he wants more of those tucked in behind where the Pink Muhly grasses will return along back the brick wall of the house. We repositioned a peachish colored Rose bush that seems to have lost it’s “vim.” But we moved it forward slightly, tended it’s roots and replanted it in new organic garden soil and raised and leveled the garden bed up just a bit. It was sitting in a low spot, and we think it might have been sitting in a water collection area. So we’ll give it a go for this second season. If it doesn’t come round we’ll replace. But I never give up on a plant “one time around.” I mean I just don’t ever kill a plant. So….as a forever optimist gardener I’m not tossing it just yet. We’ll see how it comes back and if it comes back. It did bloom and was a beautiful pinkish/peach fluffy flower. It just seemed to hug the ground rather than branch out and upward. Upward being the key word here.
During this spring cleanup assignment we ran out of approved hours to revitalize the bed circling the perimeter of the property. As a PFX crew is coming to trim the English Boxwood very tall bushes soon, we will secure additional hours to clean up the perimeter outside area and in and under these notoriously messy leafed bushes post trimming. There will be tons of debris to clear up. They are beautiful but you really have to keep up with them so they don’t mess up your beds. Leaves that drop and are left behind make a real mess on the patio, so we must clean everything up.
Yesterday our clients was billed for ten hours, plus the cost of some organic soil to level out the bed with the rose bush that not performing.
It’s all about bringing the property to “spring ready.” We are close.