Walk-About Wednesday: Thankful

Hi Everyone! I’m keeping it brief this week as I am heading out of the office, out of the country actually, to a place called Rum Point. What a great name for a town! I’m betting they have rum, in fact I’m hoping they do.

Rum-Point-Grand-Cayman-Island

 

Thanksgiving is fast becoming my favorite holiday. How did it beat Christmas? Because it’s the only holiday that hasn’t been commercialized. It’s about being grateful. It’s about getting together to enjoy family and food. It’s taking the time to count our blessings, of which I have many. Family who are like friends. Friends who are like family.  Grown children thriving in their careers and lives. Precious grand-kiddos. A job and colleagues that I love like family, and the great clients that make it fun. And especially celebrating forty years of marriage with my best friend.

See you in two weeks…unless I can find a job doing landscaping in the tropics, or launch a new career as a snorkel guide, or work at a tiki bar, or… A girl can dream.

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

frost on rose

Walk-About: Frost

Frost

frost on maple

 

OK, so I’m a fair-weather gardener. Truth be told, I’m a fair-weather everything. I don’t like to be cold.

But this morning as the sun rose, the entire world around me was covered in a sparkly blanket of frost. Everything glistened. The air was crisp and clean. Against my usual instinct to hibernate, I bundled up in my warmest parka and with camera in hand I set out to capture the magic of the earth settling down for its winter nap under a blanket of twinkling ice crystals.

frost on fern

Sure, this means the end of the season, and yes, all the tender plants, annuals, hostas, and my basil will go to mush. But it has a beauty of its own. And it’s so fleeting. In a few short minutes as the sun rose, it melted away. I’m so glad I braved the cold and did my walk-about on this chilly early morning.

frost on junipers

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Mother duck

Walk-About Wednesday: No Can Do

No Can Do

Baby birds

Baby birds

We have a guy on our staff, let’s call him Eric. Because that is his name. Now normally, if you ask Eric to do something, his reply is the same, “That we can do!”. He is the most “can do” person I know. Cheerful, helpful and will do his best to make everyone happy. Lots of people at our company are like Eric in that way.

Now, I should also tell you that Eric is a lover of animals. Actually, most of the people at our company are like Eric in this respect as well.

Once in a while we encounter something in the course of our work that Eric won’t do. If there is a bird’s nest with eggs or baby birds, we won’t disturb the little bird family, or cut down their tree. We’ll wait until they’ve grown up and flown away, and then come back to finish the job.

Duck eggs

Duck eggs

This past summer we even had to work around a snapping turtle nest right in the middle of our work zone.

As it turns out, there’s a limit to Eric’s “can do” attitude.

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Ghostbuster quote

Walk-About Wednesday: Spores, Molds and Fungus

Spores, Molds and Fungus

stinkhorn fungus

stinkhorn fungus

“I collect spores, molds and fungus.” I laughed at that line from Ghostbusters. What kind of nerd does that? The good kind, apparently. I sometimes get calls because there is mold growing in someone’s mulch. It looks like, well, pardon this comparison, but it looks like dog vomit. Or creepy orange and black fingers. Or little round shot-gun dots from artillery fungus on plants and siding.

Dog vomit slime mold

  Dog vomit slime mold

Before anyone gets in a panic, there is nothing unusual or wrong with mold in mulch. It does no harm to plants or humans. It is a natural process of the wood breaking down.  I explain that to folks and that’s were my work ends.

But, those nerds have taken it one step further. They collect it. They study it. They make it into useful stuff.

Weird but true – some of our most important medicines come from spores, mold and fungus. Where would we be without penicillin – probably the most famous of useful molds. Anybody on a blood thinner like Warfarin? That also comes from mold. And rat poison – Warfarin’s cousin? Also from mold. And that shot-gun fungus coming from your mulch and peppering your plants and siding with its dots? Well, that’s being studied by scientist for its remarkable adhesive properties that put Velcro to shame.

artillery_fungus

artillery_fungus

Don’t be dissing your mold. Maybe it holds the key to our next scientific breakthrough. Or you can just rake it up. Your call.

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

After Gi

Walk-About Wednesday: It’s About Time

It’s About Time

Before Gi After Gi

 

At the time, it seemed like a good idea: bell bottoms, polyester, platform shoes. Fashions come and go. So, you update your wardrobe. Your hairstyle.  You get a new car. You probably have a smart phone. Your computer is always doing updates. So, when’s the last time you updated your outdoors?

Before He Before He2

Those timber walls only last so long before rotting. And the yews? Everyone planted them in the 60’s and 70’s and now they look dated. The shrubs are overgrown. And you’re tired of constantly cutting everything back. It’s time. Time for an update. Refresh the look of your home and let us help you choose materials and plants that will give you a new look and lower your maintenance, too!

Before GW After GW

 

 

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Burlap hedge

Walk-About Wednesday: Potato Sacks

Ugly Brown Potato Sacks

burlap-wraps

burlap-wraps

At this time of year people ask us to cover their plants with burlap to protect them from deer. Or from wind, or snow, or salt spray.

Sure, we’ll do it. And in the spring, we’ll undo it. And do it all over again next year. And the year after that and the year after that and…

burlap shrubs

burlap shrubs

Here’s what I don’t like about that plan: it costs a lot of money, and half the year that beautiful landscape is covered in ugly brown burlap and it looks like a yard full of sacks of potatoes.

Burlap on bush

Burlap on bush

A better idea is to select plants that are deer resistant, that thrive in our climate, and look good in all seasons. We can help you plan for the right plant for the right spot to make your yard look good all year ‘round and not look like a bunch of ugly brown potato sacks.

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Heart Bush

Walk -About Wednesday: Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Red Maple

That saying implies anger, rage, all ugly feelings. But this week as I walked and drove around, I felt awe, joy, and all good emotions. Don’t you just love this time of year when the whole world seems drenched in fall colors? It’s good to see red.

Jap Maple Fall Color

Burning Bush

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Oak Carving in Pumpkin

Walk-About Wednesday: Much More Than Mums

Much More Than Mums

Fall Display

Every fall I go overboard. Ok, so I go overboard other times, too. But I’m kind of known for my fall displays. In fact, one of our sons brought a new girl over to meet us, and to show off how crazy (in a nice way) that we decorate for fall.

You can do it, too. It’s a quick, easy way to dress up your yard and bring in tons of color when everything else is turning brown and dying. $50 worth of pumpkins and gourds goes a long way to adding seasonal color.

Bats Carved in Pumpkins                                 Goose Neck Gourds

Don’t just save pumpkin carving for Halloween. If you carve into the surface and leave the insides intact, your pumpkin will last for weeks, long after the mums have faded.  If you need help, I’d love to give your home some color and fun that goes way beyond mums. Give Thanks Pumpkin

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

Lavender

Walk-About Wednesday: Music to My Nose

Music to My Nose

Ever notice how a waft of some fragrance can bring you back to a long-ago time and place? That’s because the fragrance center of our brain is right next door to the memory center of our brain. When the fragrance center lights up, so do the memories.

When planning a garden, I like to appeal to all our senses: visual, sound, touch, and smell. And maybe bring us on a mental journey back to another place and time, like memories of childhood or grandma’s garden.

Here are a few plants that are not only a feast for the eyes, but music to my nose:

‘Stargazer’ and other Asiatic lilies, Lilacs, Fringe tree, Katsura tree, Lily of the Valley, Linden trees, Old-fashioned roses (love ‘Jude the Obscure’ by David Austin) peonies, hyacinth, and lavender.

Stargazer lily

Stargazer lily

lily of the valley

lily of the valley

 

Jude the Obscure rose

Jude the Obscure rose

lilac sensation

  lilac sensation

Fringe tree

Fringe tree

 

 

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional

doctor-shrug-1-600x400

Walk-About Wednesday: Doctor, Doctor. Give Me the News

Doctor, Doctor. Give Me the News

Here’s what happens: 1. Someone shows me a leaf and asks, “What kind of weed is this?”, or 2. Someone shows me a picture of a cool plant they found on the internet, or 3. Someone puts a bug in my hand. Yes. This really happened. Someone put a bug in my hand. Who does that?

Then they ask me: 1. “What is it?” 2. “Do these grow in our area?” And 3. “How can I get rid of these creepy crawlers?”

The answers are: 1. I don’t know. 2. I’m not sure. And 3. Please don’t ever put a bug in my hand.

doctor-shrug-1-600x400

Here’s the truth and why some people are disappointed with me: I don’t know everything about everything in the outside world. Landscaping is a big field which includes building outdoor kitchens, patios, giant retaining walls, drainage systems, designing gardens, parks, public spaces, lighting, plant pathology, etymology, hybridizing, and the list goes on.

It’s a big world outside and no one knows everything. We all specialize to some degree. The good news is, we have a lot of specialists on our team, and we have relationships with a whole lot more experts in their fields.

Think of us like your primary care physician. If they don’t know what’s wrong with you, they order tests, or send you to a specialist. We don’t know everything, but we know a lot, and if needed, we can refer you to specialists that can help.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to see a doctor and get some anti-anxiety meds because I’ve been having nightmares about bugs crawling on me.

Brenda Sunseri, CNLP

Lead Designer, Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscape

New York State Certified

Nursery & Landscape Professional