Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Gift of Giving…..

We are living in turbulent times. Turn on the TV and you will find a half a dozen reasons to feel afraid, hunker down and hope for the best. It is time to step beyond the borders of our comfort zone take some risks. What brings me the greatest joy in life is the gift of giving and being able to receive with grace. Each of us are given natural talents and strengths and when I focus what that gift might be in whomever I meet I am giving the gift of presence. The joy I feel and connection I make when I find that hidden gem or passion is the gift I receive in return. It may be math, cooking, writing, humor (like our friend who channels Elvis below) or heart but there is always a special trait waiting to be discovered. As long as I have the courage to risk rejection, speak candidly and be willing to own what makes me unique I will have a successful life.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Season of Thanks

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists after suffering a long and arduous journey to the new world. Shared their first season’s bounty at an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. It was not until 1827 that Sara Josepha Hale started lobbying to make Thanksgiving an annual tradition. It took her over 30 years and she introduced the recipes we know today for Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin pie. The holiday as we know it is due to her efforts. The tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year is observed in many cultures but we are probably the only one that offers presidential exoneration for a turkey. In 1989, George HW Bush had the honor of becoming the first president to formally issue a pardon to a turkey and every president since has followed suit.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Maintenance Matters…..

We are so grateful to live in an area where the employment is relatively stable. Where we have clean water that comes from our tap and an abundance of fresh foods at our fingertips. Not many communities in our world can say that with confidence. How we approach maintenance in our home, health, cars and landscapes helps shape our gratitude. When we gain a deep personal satisfaction for caring for ourselves and those things around us, a part of that value is monetary, but perhaps more important is its emotional and psychological value. A neat and preserved landscape will be worth more both financially (an average of 15% more value if selling a property) and aesthetically. Pleasing scenes give daily satisfaction to a returning owner, and create a favorable first impression on visitors.

Part of our mission statement and our primary purpose at Jefferson Landscaping is to eliminate the chaos from your landscape and introduce calm and beauty into your life. Pleasant surroundings invite us to take joy in being outside and marveling in the colors. We feel a little more vibrant and it can help give the strength to expand daily maintenance into other aspects of our lives.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Glorious Colors of Fall

Fall has become a magical time for us. I used to feel like hiding when the days got shorter and everything was withering and dying. I was focused on the loss rather than the grace. Each year now towards the end of October, I take a trip to the Seattle Arboretum or Japanese Gardens and surround myself with indescribable colors and let myself become transported by the beauty and inevitability of the season.
Picture above I took at the Seattle Arboretum of the Japanese Gardens

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Roots of Flower Arranging

This is the time of year when our cutting gardens are bursting with the last of the season’s colors… It is an almost bittersweet time as we fill our vases with a rainbow of fragrant blooms from the garden, knowing another fall and winter will pass before we can do this again. We arrange our flowers with tender care, selecting a red rose for the ones we love, snapdragons for strength, or perhaps calla lilies for beauty. The flowers we arrange and give to others possess historic roots that grow deeper than those from which they blossomed.

The earliest known flower arrangers were the ancient Egyptians in about 2500 BC. They selected flowers for burials that were sacred or had religious meaning, such as lotus flowers and water lilies. The practice of arranging flowers as gifts began in prehistoric times when flowers were known more for their medicinal value than their aesthetic value. Today, a gift of flowers is a common way to express love, sympathy, apology, and a host of other sentiments.

There is also great cultural significance in the art of flower arranging. One example is the tradition of the bride’s bouquet, containing specially chosen blooms that are both emotionally significant as well as relevant to the theme of the wedding. A lesser known tradition is the corsage worn by the groom in his buttonhole. This is actually a medieval tradition that represents the declaration of his love for the bride by wearing his lady’s colors.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doggone it! Color to get through the Dog Days of Summer

The sun is out, the days are warm, and each day brings us closer to the Dog Days of Summer: the hottest and most humid time of the year, lasting from about July 3 through August 11. The Dog Days were named long ago by stargazers who observed that this sultry period occurred within 20 days on either side of the conjunction of the star Sirius (which is the dog star) and the sun. In olden times, the arrival of the Dog Days of Summer meant disease and extreme discomfort. Today, we can look forward to this time of year filled with warm days, evening barbeques, and Fourth of July celebrations. The hot, humid climate of the Dog Days does, however, take a toll on our gardens. Gardening with color during this time of year can be a challenge. Many plants fade and wither with the heat. Also, water conservation issues can make for a very thirsty garden. There is a solution, though. As perennials, flowering shrubs, and trees start to wane, we can fill the void with summer annuals.

 These are plants that go through their entire life cycle in one year. They do not flower more than once. Many annuals make excellent “Dog Day” plants, because they can thrive in full sun and hot temps, and they add quick, vibrant color to the garden. These are just a few examples:
Tuberous begonias (begonia tuberhybrida) come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The begonia family has over 1400 species. Geraniums are native to South Africa and can range in size from 6 inches to 3-4 feet. They come in blooms of red, white, pink, purple, or blue. The common name “cranesbill” refers to the the seed capsule that looks like a crane’s bill. The beak-like column will burst open when ripe and cast the seeds over a distance Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) thrives in the heat of summer, smells like cherry pie, and comes in purple, blue, and white. Heliotrope is toxic if ingested in large quantities over a period of time.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What’s Growing on...

News & Noteworthy
We are spending our weekend hours tending to our own vegetable beds. Our lettuce, peas, beans, celery and carrots are coming in nicely. The raspberries, blueberries and apple trees are laden with future fruit. It is our favorite time of year.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Garden Favorites – Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Legumes: Beans, peas and lentils are staples of our diet all over the world and have been cultivated for 6,000 years. Peanuts, licorice, tamarind, fenugreek and jicama all belong to the bean family. Despite, its name coffee is not a bean but a cherry.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the fruit of the vine that’s native to the South America Andes. They started being taxed as a vegetable in 1883. Prior to 1820, everyone thought tomatoes to be poisonous. Tomatoes are number one! More than 60 million tons produced annually beating out banana’s by a third.

Cruciferous: Broccoli and cauliflower are technically the flowers. Kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts all cruciferous veg. offer great health benefits and prevent cancer.

Peppers: Bell peppers have no “bite at all since they contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin. Chili Peppers can be mild or hot enough to cause damage.

Basil: Basil also had a dubious reputation but in the 17th century it was redeemed. In Italy Basil is considered a sign of love. In India, it is sacred, dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. Basil is also considered tomatoes soul mate as proven by the caprese salad.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a member of the carrot family. It was also one of the plants growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon more than 2,500 years ago.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fun Facts about Spring Flowers

From mid to late spring they take our breath away!

Flowering Cherry: The Japanese flowering cherries collectively known as Sato Zakura (meaning domestic, village or cultivated cherry trees grown solely for ornament), have been extensively bred for hundreds of years. They symbolize both clouds and mortality. The gift of 3000 flowering Cherries from the Japanese government to the city of Washington DC in 2012, is still celebrated annually National Cherry Blossom Festival

Peony: One legend suggests the name originates from the physician of the Greek gods, Paean, and the roots are still used today in medicine. The Peony has been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years and is named Sho Yu, which means most beautiful. Plant in full sun and feed when you feed your bulbs, herbaceous peonies can continue to produce their blooms for over a hundred years.


Tulips: The name originates from the Persian word for “Turbin”. Once they reached Holland in the 16th century, the bulbs became a precious commodity and very highly valued. Each color symbolizes a different meaning, red is considered perfect love, yellow tulips convey cheerful thoughts while white conveys forgiveness. While they have a short life of only three to seven days, they bring amazing joy to us all.
*(Picture taken 4/14/2013.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tulips in Skagit County

The Tulip Festival in Skagit County is an annual pilgrimage for many in Washington State. Tulips should be in bloom for a couple more weeks.  For more information, and directions to the Tulip fields & Festival, go to

And if the Tulips aren't enough there is the best ice cream stand around.  It's at Snow Goose Produce which is a stand you'll find along side the road.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Certified Sustainable Landscape Professional

We're pleased to announce that Jeff Carroll has passed his Washington State Sustainable Landscape Professional certification exam! .  Jeff along with about 20 others completed the course, and is now a Certified Sustainable Landscape Professional.  Congratulations Jeff!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Earth Day April 22, 2013

Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches.

Famous Conservationists include:
John James Audubon, David Brower, Rachel Carson, Jacques Cousteau,
Jane Goodall, Leonard Horn (for whom this newsletter is named), Aldo Leopold, John Muir,
Theodore Roosevelt and Henry David Thoreau amongst the notables.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Environmental Issue– Doing our Part

How we are lowering the carbon impact of our landscaping:

We started a pilot program two years ago to replace the gas engines on our mowers with propane. It was very successful and we have now converted 90% of our entire fleet of mowers to propane. An analysis by M. A. DeLucchi for Argonne National Laboratory concluded that the LPG fuel cycle produces the least amount of greenhouse gases of all the fossil fuel cycles, including that of diesel fuel. The study concluded that “Liquefied petroleum gas, consisting of 95% propane and 5% butane, offers a 20-25% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gas.
Low reactivity. Propane exhaust creates 60-70 percent less smog than the hydrocarbons in gasoline exhaust, according to studies by Southwest Research Institute.

Low air toxics. Propane cuts emissions of toxins and carcinogens like benzene and toluene by up to 96 percent, compared to gasoline, according to studies by Southwest Research Institute.

Ground and surface-water safe. Propane is nontoxic; spills vaporize rather than soaking into soil or water.

 To complete our transition to sustainable we standardized on Stihl – cordless, battery-powered outdoor power hedgers, line Trimmers and blowers. The result is a new breed of environmentally responsible products, eliminating both noise and exhaust emissions. Using the newest technologies with re-chargeable and fully recyclable, lithium-ion batteries, we can continue to provide the best landscaping services possible and cause less disruption to your household.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Our Sustainable Initiative & Motivation

In 2011, we began seeing landscape maintenance companies all over the country converting their mowers to propane with positive results. In 2012 we converted 2 of our midsize mowers over to propane to see how they would perform. In January of 2013 we have converted our entire fleet of mowers to propane. Also, we will be converting our 2-cycle hand held equipment; leaf blowers, weed eaters, and hedge trimmers to battery power. This will mean less pollution and less noise. When our clients are having meetings at their home office less noise while our team is there. Makes for a less disruptive meeting. The same goes for the few commercial accounts we have. I have been in several meetings where the blowers and line trimmers were so loud we had to stop the meeting for the landscape technician to pass by because of the noise.

For our company to do it’s part to leave less of a carbon footprint on the planet and a cleaner environment. I believe this is the future of the Landscape Industry.

The challenges of Becoming Eco Friendly
Receiving correct information about the new technologies and in some cases the products are so new it’s all learning curve for everyone involved. From manufacture to the contractor. And of course new technology means the products are expensive.
Why was this goal so important?
Linda and I hope that Jefferson landscaping can do their part in leaving this planet in better shape for generations to come. For our children and their children.

First in the State to Become Energy Efficient
In Washington State, we are the only ones with propane mowers and battery hand held equipment. Especially the size of our company we will be converting to propane, 5- 21" mowers, 6-midsize mowers. The 2 cycle equipment will be converted to battery power is 5 line trimmers, 6 hedge trimmers and 5 leaf blowers.
Why aren’t more companies following suit?
Cost and learning curve. With new technology there are always a few problems. We think the small problems we run into are worth a cleaner environment.
The Benefits & Cost Savings of Going Green
Less exhaust, less fumes , less noise. With the propane conversion mowers we should recoup our investment in 3 years. The emission results to our planet is immediate.

Feedback From our Customers
The feed back from our clients is very positive. Especially the ones who see the big picture with or without children.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 NW Flower and Garden Show

It’s All in the Movies – Wins Gold Medal!!
Three classic film genres—the Western, the Romance and Black & White—are showcased in this three-part display garden. From artist* rendering to display let the magic begin.

The “Western” garden uses drought tolerant plantings, a hitchin’ post and water trough for those thirsty horses to underscore its theme.

While a large gazebo surrounded by flowers is the perfect setting for romance in the garden.
The classic “black & white’ film noir theme is carried out with the creative use of materials, plantings and light. And a mysterious dead body….

Garden Show Shout out….

Jefferson Landscaping has co-designed one of the display gardens at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show with our professional group (Washington Association of Landscaping Professionals).

Many WALP members helped to make our vision come to life but a special shout out to the following: Jon Shepodd*, for his art work and design collaboration, wholesale plant provider Vibrant Plants and Ragen & Associates who generously loaned us their Gazebo and Bird Bath.

What’s Growing on..

News & Noteworthy
It is never too early to plan your vegetable garden. Use a sheet of paper to utilize the space most efficiently. Remember to rotate the vegetables in the garden to reduce insect and disease problems.

For those of you on our fertilizing schedule the late winter/ early spring application should be down by the end of next week.

We will be back to weekly service starting the first week in March.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our Green Initiative Sustainable Approach

At Jefferson Landscaping we are doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint with our conversion to propane mowers and battery-operated tools. We are looking to lead the industry in alternative fuel by becoming the first landscaping company in the Northwest to convert from gasoline to propane mowers. We are already well on the way, having converted over 30% of our midsize mowers to propane.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

What’s Growing On?

New & Noteworthy
Jefferson Landscaping will be co-designing one of the display gardens at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. We are participating with our professional organization WALP (Washington Assoc. of Landscaping Professionals) it will be held at the Seattle Convention Center, Feb 20 – 24th.  See more details here!

The show theme this year is, “The Silver Screen Takes Root…Gardens go Hollywood.”
Our Garden is titled, “It’s all in the Movies!”
Three classic film genres—the Westerns, Romance, and Black & White — are showcased in this three-part display garden.

The “Western” garden uses drought tolerant plantings, a hitchin’ post and scattered bows and arrows to underscore its theme, while a large gazebo surrounded by flowers is the perfect setting for a lovers rendezvous. The classic “black & white’ theme is carried out with the creative use of materials, plantings and light. John Wayne, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart would all feel right at home here!
Inspirations to take home: Are of the plantings and prop accents to create fun and unique spaces.

New Technologies….

Jefferson Landscaping launched a pilot program in January of 2012 to convert two of our mowers to propane. It was so successful that we have recently started converting the rest of our fleet of mowers to include all twenty-one inch and thirty-six inch mowers.
Propane is an alternative fuel source to gasoline which is a cleaner burning fuel resulting in a less polluted environment. Propane is certified with the EPA as an alternative fuel. We will be the first Landscape Company in the Northwest to convert and update all mowers to an alternative fuel source. Our goal is to reduce Jefferson Landscaping’s carbon footprint and to set precedence for reducing emissions in the Green Industry. Cleaner fuel, cleaner environment, clean air quality for generations to come.  See the videos!

Battery Operated Equipment…..
We have started testing battery operated hand held equipment. Besides lowering emissions these units will not be a loud as other units. If you’re interested in participating in this pilot program, please call Linda Carroll @ 206-992-9117. It is exciting to be the pioneers for a cleaner technology and we believe together we can do our part to conserve.

Windows Nokia 920 phones…..
We have standardized on the Nokia 920 Windows phones for all of our team leaders and management. This will allow us to improve our internal and external communications. The hi-resolution built-in camera will allow us to train and answer questions from our team leaders while in the field. Very exciting!