Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens

Author Archives: John Rice

Fall 2018

September 15th, 2018 | Posted by John Rice in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Fall 2018)

I hope you have enjoyed your summer. Summer had good moisture (120% of average). Rain was not as consistent as I would want but it filled the reservoirs. Temperatures were average in June, and then it really warmed up in July and August and we finished the summer 2 degrees a day above average. September averaged 3 degrees a day above average and rain was 167% of average. As we go deeper into the fall most gardens have good ground moisture.

The climate prediction center is forecasting for us to be above average in fall temperatures and rains. Let’s hope they are right.

We have incorporated ion battery powered equipment into what we use. Good news, tick and mosquitos counts have been medium to low this summer.

Things to think about this Autumn are:

  • Help our Pollinators. If necessary water your flowering or about to be flowering plants. Remember the nectar is their food and their lives depend on it.
  • We can design and install your patio, so in a short time you can be enjoying your property even more with family and friends.
  • Clearing invasives and or bramble areas.
  • Seed the open spots in your lawn; fall is the best time to germinate lawn seed, which will help crowd-out the crab grass and other weeds next spring. October 15th is when your lawn is peaking; it’s a good time to do an assessment.
  • Planting of trees, shrubs, late blooming perennials and annuals, have your property look festive this fall! October and early November are great months to plant shrubs and trees in our cooler weather.
  • Planting your containers with cold season annuals so you have color and inspiration till at least Halloween and sometimes-even Thanksgiving.
  • Transplanting and dividing of overgrown plant material.
  • Final weeding so your beds start clean next spring, anytime after 10/1.
  • Planting bulbs for next spring, plant now so they will be there in the spring!
  • Use mole/vole repellant now if they have been a problem.
  • Fall is a time when we typically see more wildlife. I know in my area we have had a mature bobcat and bear looking for food. It’s a good time to remember to acknowledge and respect our valuable neighbors. They help us control many pests and diseases.
  • Add root & biology fertilizers to any plants that did not have good growth this year.
  • Spraying your plants so they are protected from the deer eating them. Do it now before they get “used to” eating at your place.
  • Designing new beds for spring planting.
  • Let us chip your woodpile for you and use the wood chips to suppress weeds and later on to feed your soil.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if you are interested in using my services at 978.274.5633. In these challenging times I really appreciate it. Thank You!


Sophia Update: Sophia (13 years old now, holy moly! My baby is growing up) 4 days a week she gets to express her passion by working with horses and then she is also an intern at a local clothing store.

Where did my flowers go? After record warm February, March and April were cold and snowy. April was the 6th coldest on record and for many towns. For many towns it was between the snowiest spring to the 6 snowiest spring. Temperatures in March were down in the single digits and for some of us; it ruined the buds especially on the hydrangeas, magnolias, and viburnums to name a few.

Industry Updates: After the Canadian Province of Ontario implemented restrictions on the use of pesticides, a governmental report found a decline in herbicide concentrations. Median concentrations for herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba, and MCPP, commonly used by both private individuals and lawn care companies declined by 81%, 83% and 71% respectively.

Industry Note: Perennials, there are both long lived and short lived. An example of short-lived perennial are lupines, long-lived example would be black-eyed susans.

Business Update: We now have ion lithium battery operated blowers and weedwackers. As I stated in my spring newsletter a typical gas leaf blower pollutes 24 times more (per second) than my pickup truck, which we know is not great in itself. It got me thinking, how can I improve here. So we tried out the battery powered equipment and surprise, surprise, it works pretty well. We happily use the battery equipment on many of our jobs now. On some large jobs it is still better to use the gas engines, at least for now. Get this: on the worst 2 stroke gas powered blowers, they spew more pollution than a 3,900 mile drive in a Ford pick up. The battery-powered machines are much quieter too.

Climate Update: You may have noticed in our new normal, that our summers are above normal in temperatures typically by a few degrees, but our winters are much warmer than average by many degrees. One of the key reasons summer are “cooler” so to speak, is our plants. They are actively taking in co2 during the summer, and in the winter they are not.

Industry Update: Pollinator alerts; the whole country is under an alert that we are losing them at an alarming rate. When you do plant, include plants that support our pollinators.

Fall Plant of Interest: feed the birds during our winter, plant winterberry or hollies.

The Value of a Tree: one tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. A single tree produces approximately 260 ponds of oxygen per year. In its life a single tree can absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide.

What is a tree worth? $193,250. According to professor T.M Das of the University of Calcutta, a tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,254. This figure does not include the value of the fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees.

Some fall poems follow

Take Care, John


Early Autumn – Poem by William Barton

Robins threaten from tree top vantage;
Swallows gather belatedly;
Crows test the shifty winds.

Oak leaves stay strong and green
but beech and willow
turn to twisted yellow.

Raindrops pimple the lake.
Suddenly a heavy shower –
a thirsty stream recovers its voice.

Puddles lace the pathways;
mud collects in cobbled corners
with the reek of fallen leaves.

The skies grey into dusk
and soft darkness,
in the year’s long afternoon.



Early Autumn – Albert Ahearn

The calendar foretells summer
but the trees, fauna and I know
that Autumn is now upon us
in spite of the Gregorian.

Deciduous trees are shedding
their kaleidoscopic, colored
dead on the earthen ground below;
and decaying scents fill the air,
nostrils, the mind with reverie
of indelible yesteryears.

Squirrels burying recent finds,
cheerleading and football practice
Unmistakable, autumnal,
recurring signs of its presence.



Fall – Mary Oliver

the black oaks
fling their bronze fruit
into all the pockets of the earth
pock pock

they knock against the thresholds
the roof the sidewalk
fill the eaves
the bottom line
of the old gold song
of the almost finished year
what is spring all that tender
green stuff

compared to this
falling of tiny oak trees
out of the oak trees
then the clouds

gathering thick along the west
then advancing
then closing over
breaking open

the silence
then the rain
dashing its silver seeds
against the house