God on Lawn Care

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles. ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass. GOD: Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colourful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there? ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn. GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy. ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week. GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay? ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it? ST. FRANCIS: No,...

Award Winning Landscape Design

Earlier this year Knapp Valley Gardens Landscape Designer Mike VanderPloeg was awarded the MNLA Merit Award in the Residential Design/Build Category for his design for the Otis resident. The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association Industry Awards Program recognizes and honors those in the green industry who have demonstrated excellence, professionalism and responsible environmental standards in the areas of Residential and Commercial Design/Build, Installation, and Management and Special Projects. This site overlooks the skyline of Grand Rapids in an area of older homes, many of which have been remodeled and re-landscaped to take advantage of their prime location and appreciating values. Critical to the project was keeping the site lines of the downtown area open. Working with and around the carpenters, the additions were started in spring of 2007 and continued into the summer. The homeowner was looking for a landscape that would compliment his extensive renovations and in doing so create a tranquil oasis, a beautiful garden, and a nicely manicured lawn which he could work and enjoy. The site preparation required removal of some overgrown shrubs and unhealthy trees. The grades worked well with the additions put on the existing home. In turn natural walkways with a couple of stone steps were decided on. A large patio was a requirement in his backyard as it is a popular place for gatherings on the 4th of July for firework displays, as well as a meeting place for neighborhood functions. Being an older home with lots of character, bluestone was a perfect match. The patio and landing off the additional steps is patterned bluestone with the walkway being irregular bluestone....
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