Ah, Spring!

Monday, March 21st, 2016

After a few months of drab winter colors our spirits are in need of a lift. The joyous hints of green indicating emerging daffodils and the songs of the returning birds tell us Spring is about to pounce in full force. One of these coming days (maybe it already happened) you’ll be taking that same old drive and where yesterday there was just a haze of green, today there is lush beauty all over the trees and lawns. The first Tulips might just be too much color to bear!

This is the star of another season. The potential is unlimited and the possibilities are endless. As the mercury rises and coaxes you outside to breathe in that sweet spring air it is time to roll up those sleeves and get your blood pumping. It is time to plant!

Spring Blindness

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Okay, we are all guilty of a spontaneous buying spree. See it. Want it, Gotta have it.

Spring blindness is running to the local plant emporium and buying everything in sight because it’s in bloom and green. What more could you want after winter?

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The Big Easy

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Name this plant;

  1. Show-stopping Blooms
  2. Has been cultivated for over 1000 years
  3. Deer resistant
  4. Blooms year after year


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For a Spring Fling, Think Fall

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


Last winter dragged on and on seemingly indefinitely. There was an audible sigh around the office when the first spring bulbs finally emerged from the bleak, cold winter. I really hope it doesn’t happen, but if we have another excruciating winter wouldn’t it be nice to have lots of colorful spring bulbs to cheer you up. Well, its too late in April to put those beauties in the ground.

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Autumn Folklore

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Here are a few wise sayings referring to our upcoming season…

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Elegance & Beauty, Rhododendron & Azalea

Thursday, May 1st, 2014


Nothing shouts Spring to me quite like the blooming of Azaleas and Rhododendron in May. Way back in our day (I don’t care to say how long ago) our dad Walter Small had Rhododendrons imported from Holland as small baby plants. To this day a few of those old glorious beauties still alive in LaPorte.

When planted in masses, the flowering stalks can be breathtaking. Rhododendrons can also be utilized as foundation plantings. They can be a backdrop for perennials. Small groupings of Azaleas can have a similar effect with a different texture.

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Freeze Dried

Monday, March 3rd, 2014


I know it is difficult to think about watering plants with all of the snow we have had this winter. If we end up having a dry spring though our plants, especially evergreens, will need some help from us to get their required refreshment. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their foliage throughout the winter and with the ground being frozen they cannot replenish what they lose. It is similar to food that is left in the freezer too long, freezer burn. Some branches may look dead but don’t be tempted to prune them back. Give the plants time to push out new growth with warm spring temperatures. Plants can overcome an amazing amount of abuse. Keep in mind; If it is a dry spring be sure to get out the hose and start watering.

Spring Shming

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

spring-schmingNormally a March newsletter will contain some references to how great it is that the birds are out and the first bulbs are starting to poke through the mulch. Not this year! It is still winter and looks to stay that way for a minute. There is hope I guess. The first day of spring in March 20th. That is less than three weeks away. The average high temperature for March is 46.7 degrees which is a far sight from what we have been looking at lately. It has to get warm sometime this month. Doesn’t it? Let’s keep our spirits up and make lemonade from our climate lemons.  All this snow will make some great snowmen once it thaws enough to make a ball from it. Ice fishing has been up this year. You probably gained many years of experience handling your snowblower this year. No one can take that away from you. When those 50 degree days come they will feel REALLY warm. Hang in there kids. April, theoretically should provide us with many 60 degree days.

But It’s Winter

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

but-its-winterWe always are asked, “How long do you work into the winter?”. Well, our crews work outside until the ground is too frozen to put a shovel into it. We venture back outside when the ground thaws in the spring. This year that was a very late start. Two years ago we were able to work almost all year. If I remember correctly we only took a month or two off before we had that crazy hot March weather. Our design team works through the winter trying to get ahead of the rush of phone calls and design requests that inevitably come the first week of warm temperatures. We keep several of our team members busy all winter to help in the shop repairing and performing maintenance on all of our equipment. When that big rush hits in the spring we will be ready. Enjoy your holidays everyone. Spring will be here before you know it.

Treasure Hunting

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Who wouldn’t want to go on a treasure hunting adventure looking for an elusive prize? Every spring we can always go looking for hidden treasures, In this case they are known as Morel mushrooms. I remember going out into the Woods at my Aunt Sophie’s house. My cousins and I, paper bags in hand, went on the hunt. Sometimes the neighbor Pete and my uncle would even tag along. As we walked I can still remember the smells of the woods. Fallen trees and old leaves were the carpet under our feet for these journeys. Then, a squeal of joy from the first one of us to find the prize. Somehow once someone saw the first one the rest would magically appear on the forest floor where just moments ago they were invisible. What fun we had walking through the forest, talking and cutting mushrooms on warm spring days. Occasionally we would even see a deer with her new fawn. After the hunt it was back home to clean and cook the mushrooms. They are absolutely awesome sautéed in butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper. There is a short window each spring to go on these hunts and to savor the flavor of these delicious fungi.

If you do not have a woods to go looking for these treasures, fear not. If you are fortunate enough to live near New Buffalo, Michigan there is always a guy with a truck parked at Red Arrow Highway and Highway 12. In season he will be there with gigantic morel mushrooms on the hood of his truck. Of course the flavor is the same, but being in the woods on a warm spring day can be the greater prize. The beauty of nature coming to life, birds singing, and the sun shining through the trees is what makes life satisfying.