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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.

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The Search Begins


It has been kind of nice to look around outside in my yard and just driving around town. With winter cold here it is easier to forget how many of those leafless or brown plants are still dead from last years double whammy of extreme cold and then the extreme heat. At least it looks a little more natural and a little less on the radar of things that need to get done in a hurry. Those dead plants will wait for us to replace them and this will give us a chance to do some homework to figure out what we really want to replace with or if we even want to replace. The tough ones to lose are those plants that we were using as screens for privacy, it takes years to get those screens big enough to do the job. For that you will be looking for something that is fast growing, nothing elliptical or conical shaped since those will make it take forever to get that screen back solid. Of course one of the treats we will be looking for is wether or not the plant made the list of plants that can take that kind of beating.


Nobody knows when an event like that might happen again, maybe next month, maybe 3 years from now, maybe never. I don’t want to base my decisions on any of those choices. I’m riding through town looking at commercial landscapes where plants have to be pretty tough to take what they get born a daily basis, but to make it through last summer with hardly any irrigation puts it in the tough -as -nail’s category . I’m also noticing what’s going on in formal landscapes in neighborhoods to see what is thriving. Those are the plants that have passed our test in the case that the weather stays weird. There are still plenty plants to work with that will offer great choices for the new, freshened up look in your yard.


One thing I noticed as we were pulling up dead plants all over town is that a lot of plants weren’t really planted correctly to begin with. Some were planted too deep. I think they looked right upon planting but the planter didn’t consider that over time the root ball will settle considerably. When that happens the crown of the plant gets covered in soil and mulch eventually choking the plant out. Plants need to be planted with an inch or two sticking above the ground line, that helps to keep those roots away from that band of clay for as long as we can.


I also noticed that if there is any irrigation the zones are generally not running long enough to penetrate the soil very deeply (like 1 or 2 inches). Different times of the year call for tweeking the zone run times to keep the soil watered deeply enough so that the plants roots can go deep for their water. This method produces deep, strong roots that can better combat these weird weather events. I barely run the irrigation early in the spring, the plants aren’t yet growing vigorously yet as they slowly come out of dormancy and the temperatures are still relatively low, the soil is still damp from winter, for more established plants that can be enough to hold them. As the calendar dates move forward , the plants come out of dormancy, the rains begin to fall farther and farther apart you’ll have to make adjustments probably not with the frequency as much as the volume going out by upping the time that each zone runs.



When Old Man Summer gets here you will probably have another adjustment coming. Get that water down deep in the soil by longer run times less frequently. These practices will matter greatly the next time we have a double whammy weather event and it’s just way healthier for the plants roots underground and the plants above ground, steady and stable. Another thing I noticed around town is that some of the irrigation systems that I saw is that the lawn heads are often on the same zones as the bed heads. Most likely your plants need to be on a different zone than your lawn as they do not have the same water requirements. It’s not always possible to get that but if you are in the planning stages of a system ask your irrigation man if that would work in your yard or to consider it at every available opportunity.




Mimi and I will be headed to Atlanta next week to go to market which is always fun and exciting but this year will be the funnest kind of market trip. We will have Max’s fiancé , Madeline with us . Madeline and Max are moving towards taking over our duties over the next few years. Madeline has a very unique taste and a very mature style in everything she does. Mimi is going to show her how to get around market and even more important how to come as close as possible to buying all the right things.


There are  not many things that is more fun  to do than to teach someone a thing that they are very interested in learning. We all get along great in family matters now it will be our chance to begin honing our skills as a family in business. Business makes it much more challenging to be family during stressful situations at work, it takes a lot of focus and purposeful communication. Exciting times are coming our way. I hope that your process for planning on how to tackle this springs arrival is a fun and fruitful time that you and your family can share.

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