It could be my most favorite day of the gardening year has nothing to do with me. In early summer every year, Melissa comes to prune, weed, and otherwise do whatever my garden needs to look great. She and her sister Mindy run a business-M and M Flowers. Their company ought to be named M and M Landscape Management. These two women do a lot more than plant flowers. Their idea of landscape maintenance is within a stone’s throw of perfection. They are expert in plant care. They can spot a problem instantly-whether it be a tree, a flowering shrub, or a boxwood. They can replace, renovate, or add to just about anything in a garden.
The level at which they are able to prune and otherwise maintain a woody landscape is unsurpassed-truly. They are a gifted and utterly professional pair supported by well trained and efficient crews. The day they come to trim my landscape-my most favorite day of the gardening year.
Their formal pruning begins and ends with the horizon. They drive stakes into the ground, and run lines utterly level. Completely and unequivocably level. My landscape is criss-crossed with level lines before any cutting takes place. My job is to get all of my boxwood to grow as best I can. The day Melissa comes to trim, I know I will see the results of my work, growing. Boxwood and yew hedges take years to grow into a shape. For this, I have patience.
Eight hours later, the 6 of them are gone. The yard is spotless. For one day every year, I have no weeds. The boxwood and Hicks yews speak to a geometry close to my heart. The densiformis yews are loosely pruned, and look lush.
Though my front yard slopes down to the sidewalk, the boxwood are absolutely level with the horizon. I cannot really explain why these precisely rendered shapes opposed to a natural slope are so dear to me. Everyone has their own personal and specific idea of beauty-this is mine.
The sidewalk level boxwood has been in two years. They are just beginning to represent an idea about a change of level. You can see in this photograph that the upper level of boxwood is precisely shaped. The lower level needs another year or two to catch up. That pruning is soft, as the growth is not there yet. I have little patience for most things. But for a landscape growing, I have nothing but patience.
Early this Sunday morning I was busy looking, and taking pictures. Saturday after work I walked everywhere, but was too tired to photograph. Were the work of doing this maintenance and pruning to fall to me, my landscape would never look like this. Melissa is much better at this than I. Better yet, she comes to shovel me out and get my landscape in shape at the end of my grueling spring season. She puts enormous energy and time to my property when I am just about spent.
Needless to say, my tour this morning delighted me. My work is completely focused on all of my clients-via the landscape company, and the shop. I have an idea to provide anyone who approaches me with a gardening experience that is beautiful, and successful. This is hard work, and rewarding work. The past six weeks have been work at an incredibly intense level. This Sunday morning, my place looked beautiful. Thanks, Melissa.
My rose garden is not anything that would rate a picture in a book, but it pleases me plenty. The space is really all about boxwood hedges, and Thuja Nigra. Melissa deadheaded the roses, put the climbing rose arms blown down by wind back up on the wall, and weeded the gravel. She staked the roses. She trimmed the curves in the arborvitae, and properly trimmed the boxwood. My take on my visit this morning? I do so hope heaven looks exactly like this.
This view is much more about an answer to my very busy life, than a statement about formal landscapes. This serene view satisfies what I need from my garden. What you need from your landscape-this is the first question.