Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens

Author Archives: John Rice

Late Fall 2018

November 9th, 2018 | Posted by John Rice in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Late Fall 2018)

Hi Everyone:

October was quite a shock as we had average temperatures.  September was 3 degrees a day above average and the last 3 Octobers were up to 9 degrees a day above average, so to be average was quite the change in pattern. Precipitation was average for the month, too, though it seems wetter, I think mostly because we are at 118% for the year.   On October 22nd we had temperatures in the western suburbs around 24, which for many of us ended the growing season. Boston’s lowest temperature has been 34 degrees, so no hard freeze there yet. Even with that 24 degrees here in Acton, one of my roses is still flowering.  Fun to see the variables in nature. With the adequate soil moisture this has been one of the best falls in years to be planting.

The winter forecast calls for average precipitation and slightly above normal temperatures.  They seem to think most of our winter weather will be in January and February. For those of you buying live Christmas trees, Balsam fir are the most fragrant, Frazier fir hold their needles the longest and Douglas fir has a fragrance that is slightly citrus. Enjoy our cold season!

As winter approaches, here are some things to consider for your property:

  • Don’t put your pots away!!!! Have your entryway look spectacular this holiday season (winterberry, variegated boxwood, magnolia, birchwood, holly, incensed cedar, eucalyptus, juniper and other branches etc.).  You can have them look great for the whole holiday season and beyond. Many of last years containers still looked great when we did the spring clean up this year.  Doing containers is how I started in the industry and I love doing them for you!
  • Planting bulbs for next spring, plant now so they will be there in the spring! You can plant them till the ground freezes. Using the right bulbs can also be a great way to keep critters out of your garden.
  • Planting of trees & shrubs, November is a great month to plant shrubs and trees in our cooler weather.
  • Protect evergreen shrubs and conifers from being eaten by deer, using sprays or netting.
  • Have your house be festive all winter long with outside holiday decorations.
  • Mulch to protect the roots of trees and shrubs from cold and or dry weather
  • Tie branches (i.e. arborvitae, boxwood) to prevent branches from breaking under snow weight
  • Spray an anti-desiccant on your evergreens to prevent winter-kill of their branches.
  •   Fertilize your spring bulbs so they all come up beautiful next year.
  • Have the final cut of your lawn be short (1.5-2”) this will lessen the chance of snow mold in the lawn in the early spring
  • Let us chip your woodpile for you and use the wood chips to suppress weeds and later on to feed your soil.
  •  We can shred your leaves and turn them into mulch for you.  Why pay to have them hauled away or dragged to the edges of your property.
  • Clean up of leaves and debris, gutters too. Put critter repellant where necessary, especially for voles and rabbits.
  • Cut down invasives or bramble (i.e. bittersweet) off trees and shrubs to prevent snow & ice load damage and for invasive control.
  • Stake young or vulnerable trees so they do not fall over.

Policy Notes: When we do your fall leaf cleanup, our practice is to not blow mulch out of your beds (so it is there to protect plant material roots from freezing).  That means that we may leave some leaves in those areas until spring when we do a full clean up.  Near high profile areas, entrances etc., we will do a more thorough round up of leaves.  If you have any questions or adjustments you would like to make, please let me know.

To lower our emissions we now have battery-operated blowers and weed trimmers to go along with our gas powered machines. Depending on the size of the job, we use what we think will give you the best value. As of now the battery powered machines are about 70-80% as powerful as the gas machines. If you have a particular request which to use please let us know.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if you are interested in using my services at 978.274.5633.

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!!! Thank you for your business and for your trust.

Sophia Update: as many of you know horses have been a passion of hers and Sophia has been riding since she was 4 years old.  3 weeks ago, she fell off her horse and broke her arm. As in the craziness life is sometimes for a 13 year old, she had been feeling left out because she was the only one of her friends that had not broken something. She can check that off her list now.  Her arm seems to be healing nicely and no concussion. Sophia passed another milestone as she is now taller than Jennifer, her mother, it made Sophia so so happy!


Some Poems for the soul and the season.


I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.  So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

Nathaniel Hawthorne


A Blade of Grass

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, You make such a noise falling! “You scatter all my winter dreams”
Said the leaf indignant, “low-born and low dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again – and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”



Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – – – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

Flares out at last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay — how everything lives, shifting

From one bright vision to another, forever
In these momentary pastures.

Mary Oliver



The snow began slowly,
a soft and easy sprinkling
of flakes,
then clouds of flakes
in the baskets of the wind
and the branches of the trees –
oh, so pretty.
We walked
through the growing stillness,
as the flakes
prickled the path,
then covered it,
then deepened
as in curds and drifts,
as the wind grew stronger,

shaping its work less delicately,
taking greater steps
over the hills
and through the trees
until, finally, we were cold,
and far from home.
We turned and followed our long shadows back to the house,
stamped our feet,
went inside, and shut the door.
Through the window we could see
how far away it was to the gates of April.
Let the fire now put on its red hat and sing to us.

Mary Oliver