Rays of Hope 2017

In a frenzy of design and installation, 27 trees, 179 shrubs, 467 perennials, 700 annuals and 980 bulbs were planted for a total of 2,353 specimens this year.  Normally not one to boast but that’s a whole lot of digging. Entering the 16th year of this profession proved a bit challenging with my resume’ reading as blisters sculpted in sinewy palms. For the love of the art, I wouldn’t have it any other way! A mild spring  made opening season a pleasure with light weeding, mulching and installing bulbs for potted displays. At home, cherries were prolific at the end of June with a bumper crop to harvest and hours of patient pit removing that ensued. The pie was worth the wait.

Another generation of dragonfly re-visited sculpture made for a garden I tended at the same time and date as previous year. There is inexplicable magic in it’s timing on 7/11 at 1:11 pm; as if it’s unspoken presence represented an ancient ‘Anum Cara’ as the Irish say. Later this season, there was an ever present calling from a great horned owl’s hoot. It foreshadowed the changes to come in the weather. Usually sitting high and dry by mid-July, it was quite the opposite with above average levels of rain and over-saturated soil.  All that was planted earlier was not done in vain; most of the trees installed took root and flourished, withstood the following two-month drought and a few waned before their time.

So the good bones of garden design stand the test of time clad in carefully placed rock, forgiving and unhewn by human hand. Their soul essence alive with time immortal; stoic and steadfast as as an old friend, treelike in their entrenched presence. Another year awaits ahead of tree planting and garden tending.  Elder trees in their holy splendor speaking: it’s winter here, rest, renew and time to sharpen the shovel. There is much to look forward to in 2018.


Spring 2015 is emerging with the hope and renewal of a season more mild than last year. Nature teaches us that patience is more that a virtue, but a deep sense of belief that life willcontinue on. In Michigan, the quiet of winter brings forth time to reflect, take inventory and plan the landscapes for the upcoming season. There was less desiccation and die back on broadleaf evergreens, deciduous shrubs and ornamental trees than 2014; the harshest winter in nearly a century. They were however, fodder for the deer in woodland and prairie locations if left unprotected.

Crocus, Galanthus ‘Snow Drops’ and Winter Aconite are in full bloom soon to be followed by daffodils and tulips; all of which can weather the extreme fluctuations in springtime temperatures. From the large to even the tiniest, threatened and quite rare Snow Trillium ‘Trillium Nivale’ currently in bloom in the wild, (check out Sageimages.com, a close family members collection of nature photography) they serve as a reminder that creation is a self-sustaining ecological system where death provides the means for new life. Summer 2014 ended with destructive storms in August and ended with a double rainbow. Spring 2015 opened with gentle rains on April 10th and those observant enough to see, a full arch rainbow in it’s midst.

Happy Spring!