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Tim’s Blog

Unprecedented times, unprecedented solutions. A call for support.

By Tim's BlogOne Comment

Goldner Walsh Garden and Home recognizes that the safety of our industry, employees, and the general public is our first priority. In effecting change for our industry we are initiating new procedures for our business.

We are asking you, our loyal customers, to help us. We would greatly appreciate you to contact your elected officials. The nature of the work we do and the procedures we have in place is viable to maintain the standards for safety for our employees and our customers.

We need our Senators and Representatives to effectively communicate to Governor Whitmer and ask her to recognize the updated Federal CISA Guidelines (dated March 28) that include Landscapers as a critical infrastructure workforce (as referenced in Executive Order No. 2020-21). Currently, our Executive Order references the March 19 list that doesn’t include landscape and the Governors’ office is unwilling to accept this updated list to our knowledge.

Attached is a sample letter. Please feel free to copy and paste and add any anecdotal notes but we need to get the word out ASAP!  You can write one email, send it to one representative and copy it to the others. Below is a list of senators we are told that is part of a newly formed bipartisan workgroup that will begin developing a plan for some businesses to open back up. We need to make sure garden centers and landscapers are of the first to reopen for business.

Senator Ken Horn – senkhorn@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Wayne A Schmidt senwschmidt@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Curt VanderWall sencvanderwall@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Stephanie Chang senschang@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Sylvia Santana senssantana@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Jeremy Moss senjmoss@senate.michigan.gov

Mike Shirkey senmshirkey@senate.michigan.gov

 

— COPY & PASTE BELOW THIS LINE —

 

Dear _____________,

We are consumers of services and products provided by our local landscape company, Goldner Walsh Garden and Home in Pontiac, MI. During this ‘Stay at Home’ state directive many people, particularly the elderly and those with health restraining issues, rely on this company to help maintain their properties. For many others, gardening and having outdoor living spaces to work on and in, is a form of exercise, recreation, and benefits mental health. Since everyone is presently staying at home much more than we ever have in the past, we find this need for their service and certain products even greater.

Our personal outdoor garden and yard spaces provide vital stress relief and a source of peace aiding and supporting our mental health during these uncertain and turbulent times. As you know, even prior to this pandemic, mental health was a hot issue in our communities and now is an even more serious concern, We support the Governor and the ‘Stay at Home’ directive but due to the nature of the landscape industry and how Goldner Walsh protects their own employees and ensures our safety as a customer on the job we support providing their service.

The nature of landscape work is performed outdoors, individually, or in small teams. Landscape work can be implemented easily with appropriate social distance amongst workers with little public contact and poses a low risk of spreading COVID-19. According to OSHA classifications, the landscape industry falls in the “lower risk” category of exposure (the lowest level on their occupational classification of risk for COVID-19).

Goldner Walsh takes employee and client safety and health very seriously, enforcing strong safety standards on the job and business grounds following Federal and State guidelines to mitigate any possible COVD-19 exposures at their landscape facility and landscape work sites. Goldner Walsh has developed their own business specific protocols and continues to refine as needed to keep current with any developments to keep their employees and customers safe. They readily share with the State of Michigan, clients and or any other landscape company these safety measures. If all landscape companies follow these strong safety standards, this work force could be contributing to communities needs, lessening the load of the unemployment strain on the State of Michigan while contributing to a needed economic stability in these unprecedented times.

We are all in this together, and we feel our landscape company, Goldner Walsh Garden and Home and the entire landscape industry can stand with our public officials to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 while also being able to safely perform functions of their companies that are necessary and beneficial to our communities throughout Michigan.

Sincerely,

“Cool” Containers

By Tim's Blog

“Cool” Containers

blog-12-14-14-1You have likely heard it before…we at GW wear many hats. I traded in my landscape architect hat for a custom winter container designer hat the week of Thanksgiving. Well, 90% of the hat anyway. I still had 10% of my brain with crews buttoning up client gardens for the winter and ideas brewing in the back of my mind for design plans yet to mature on paper this winter. After week 3 of a whirlwind of winter themed revitalized home entries, it’s now a steady pace counting down to the soon to come deep freeze of winter. There is still time to perk up your pots. Containers are a simple way to welcome the change of season and we at Goldner Walsh Garden and home have all the supplies you need to spark some fresh new energy into your home entrance. We have basic to extravagant, edgy modern, jazzy fun to classic traditional. It’s all about style. Your containers not only complement your home but your personality. I’ve had a great time pulling together combinations for clients. I start my day gathering treasures like a kid in a candy shop (in the flower shop), for my day outings…what could be better? No two installations are exactly alike…the possibilities are truly endless.

The day we had the early taste of winter I was out installing and my hands were ice. Though, I must say it really got me in the holiday and winter creative mindset. Now I am saying along with my two sons, “Where is our snow?”

Pictured left: Port Oreford Cedar, mixed greens wreath overlay, White Pine accent, Sugar Pine cones, dried Hydrangea flowers, Magnolia, Curly Willow sticks, with a touch of silver ribbon waving through says festive.

blog-12-14-14-3In downtown Birmingham, Phoenicia was one of our first installations. The key to branches and sticks staying where you want them in a container is a piece of floral foam in the top. Loose soil below is ideal so taller items can “root in.” Mandy and I were lucky enough to have lunch to go after our install this day, thank you Samy! The Lentil soup and Lamp wrap was absolutely delicious. If you haven’t eaten at Phonecia, stop in and tell Samy that Amy and Mandy from GW sent you.

Pictured right: Birch Poles, Birch Ice twigs and three green varieties from bottom up Port Oreford Cedar, Magnolia accents, and White Pine. These definitely make a statement from the curb and frame the view from the inside as well.

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Dress up the greens with a little glitz!
Pictured above: glass ornaments, 3 fabric bow, berry pics, glitter sticks, and gold leaf feathers compliment the home owners wreath theme. These pots are also lit with a strand of small white lights in the center to give them a nice glow in the evening hours.blog-12-14-14-6

blog-12-14-14-5Often you can cut greens from your own yard to supply a base or we offer greens by the bunch in the flower shop and in Telly’s at Goldner Walsh as well. The frosting on the cake is when the fun begins. Come check out our ribbon, pics, sticks, ornaments and “fluff”. Whether you are feeling conservative or outlandishly artsy we have the supplies for you. The flower shop can make a bow(s) and add to your decor by reflecting your pot choices in a coordinating wreath or swag. Containers make a statement and welcome not only guests but you! Just think of it as a really long lasting floral arrangement. You deserve it. It’s totally worth the time, price, and energy. Stop in and see us soon and get busy! You will be glad you did. ~Amy

 

Showing Some Ornamental Tree Love

By Tim's Blog

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Showing Some Ornamental Tree Love

What a great sighting today in Bloomfield Village, Michigan! In full flower a magnificent Panicled Goldenraintree (a.k.a. Varnish Tree or Pride of India) and for you botanists: Koelreuteria paniculata. Very hardy and these showy flowers dependably bloom in July! Quite a treat for all you ornamental tree fans. Later in September appear papery 3-sided lantern-like seed pods, changing from green to yellow to brown! Top this for a bonus show-stopper in the autumn! More of this tree type should be in circulation for some showy summer landscapes.

Ginko Greatness

By Tim's Blog
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blog-10-31-14-1 Celebrating the Ginko bilobo tree providing beauty in the landscape for millions of years! The Ginko biloba tree is the oldest living tree and has many very interesting features. It is a great tree for an accent in your landscape. First of all the distinctive fan shaped leaves are so cool. It is super hardy (zone 3) and very tolerant of typical urban soil conditions and pollution. For centuries, leaves of the Ginkgo biloba are used as an herb in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for respiratory conditions, cognitive impairment, and circulatory disorders. In North America, it is most commonly used to improve cognitive function and memory in people with age-related cognitive decline and memory loss. Fall bonus: The leaves have a vibrant golden fall color and they usually all drop in one day! [/row]

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Magnolias (Can’t Be Real)

By Tim's Blog

Sometimes I look at a flowering magnolia and can’t believe it is hardy enough to grow here.  I mean really, something that beautiful can grow…here!  As a kid the neighbor lady down the road had an old saucer magnolia; the magnolia the average customer refers to in description (“ya know- the tulip tree”), that magnolia marked spring for us neighborhood kids.  It meant little league, riding your bike and late nights. The tree marked an end to winter.

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Flash forward a few decades and armed with solid horticultural advice, I never hesitate to recommend the tree.  From small, little ornamental shrub-like magnolias to something that can become a huge shade tree, magnolias are up to the task.

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I still dearly love to see a magnolia flowering in spring.  There are a few trees I can honestly say that to witness them in their prime, in their season and all their grandeur is to see heaven on earth.  Magnolia is on that list.  Joel

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Spring Frost and My Reputation

By Tim's Blog

Semi trucks heavy with nursery stock have been rolling in and out of Goldner Walsh with some regularity lately.  Prior to their arrival, in preparation, we cleared space for them, put up benching and got the nursery irrigation (irritation) up and running. Taking great care unloading to avoid damage of any sorts, however, mother nature we just can’t control.blog-4-15-14

Without fail, we’ll get a great load in with buds swelling or flowers ready to open and the weatherman (weatherperson) warns me of a day like today.  Whats a plant guy to do?  My season and reputation are now on the line.

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The answer is quite obvious; copy the state of Florida.  Right?

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Yep, Florida.  Ever see the shots on the news of the citrus growers during a frost, you know just before they report orange juice prices are going to increase, you see the grower setting up sprinklers to coat his crop in ice.  We’re doing the same thing.  The ice will coat and protect tender limbs and foliage from frost damage and melts off harmlessly as the day progresses. Reputation intact.  Now if I can just figure out how to increase my pricing like Florida and still have you guys buy our plants.

OUCH! Winter Burn on the Landscape

By Tim's Blog

Winter Blues / Garden Browns

blog-4-12-14This has been the most severe and relentless winter I remember since childhood. I am not alone to be more ready for spring to get here so we can enjoy all the beauty of our garden landscapes bursting with beautiful fragrant flowers, birds chirping, and butterflies fluttering about. We have had record breaking snow that for the most part has been fairly dry with out damaging ice build up which breaks the branches. There is so much snow that as far as our eyes can see every inch of ground is covered with the vivid white powder that seems to get top dressed with more snow every week.

From a horticultural point of view, this snow has provided nature’s best insulation from the single digit temperatures to all the dormant perennials and shrubs below the snow. Even though the snow is deep, it is still relatively light and not breaking branches. However, the multiple polar vortex weather phenomena’s and all the sunny winter days have been torturing many of your trees and shrubs, and it shows. When we have cold sunny winter days, it usually means that we also have clear winter nights which explain why we have endured such incredible temperature drops to the negative single digits. We are just starting to see the results of this double punch of weather, particularly on our evergreen trees and shrubs as we get closer to spring in the way of severe sun burn on the leaves and needles. This is caused by a combination of very bright light reflection from the snow and severe low temperatures that cause the leaves and needles to literally dry out and turn brown. This because the soil below is also frozen and the roots cannot absorb moisture to replenish water lost in the leaves.

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The other issues are that many of the flower buds on the early blooming trees and shrubs may have also been damages and just will not open this year. Certain thin barked trees, such as Japanese Maples will split from the cold from a condition called “sunscald”. We generally have more damage in the spring after all the snow melts with a few teaser 65 degree days to be followed by a sudden 40 degree drop at night. Who knows where all the water from the melting snow is going to go if we have a sudden heat wave? Mother Nature does have a backup plan for this, so don’t jump on a plane to go to Arizona to escape. The evergreens like yews, rhododendrons, holly and boxwoods, pines, spruce, and arborvitae will turn brown and drop as the weather warms up. Although this is very stressful on the plants, new growth will emerge and push the rest of the dead needles and leaves out of the way and greet you with green.

The bark that split from the cold will take a few years to heal, but the best thing to do is leave it alone and do not put any kind of paint over the wound to allow for faster healing. Treat your landscape this spring as you would after recovering from a long lingering illness. It is more harmful to brush off the snow when it is cold than to leave alone. Feed them in the spring with a good organic fertilizer, instead of a high powered chemical form, to encourage a measured recovery. Treat yourself with some beautiful flowers from your local independent florist to make up for the loss of blooms on your favorite trees and shrubs.

Be patient and be prepared to except the reality that some plants may need to be replaced. The next step is to consult with an experienced landscape horticulturist and designer to assess any damage and determine if changing the selection of plants or the design may insure optimal future success for your continued enjoyment.

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Goldner Walsh: Hiding the Neighbors for Over 60 Years

By Tim's Blog
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Emerald Green Arborvitae fortress (just add neighbors)

Without doubt, the neighbors are our best business. From the regular customer walking in off the street to our full blown design and landscape clients, their number one request is how to hide the neighbors. This in turn forces us to come up with more creative ways to do just that.

Katsura Japanese Maple performing it's duty with style.

Katsura Japanese Maple performing it’s duty with style.

We could just give you the typical “arborvitae fortress” however it has been done ad nauseam and just seems to look too remote. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the fortress is needed and can be cool if done right. Ironically, if you go to a big box store arborvitae would seem to be the only plant recommended.

Check out the Japanese maple in the photo to the right, customer had a patio and really only wanted to block a view of the neighbor’s window. Mission accomplished, fortress avoided and community spirit intact. So ask yourself a couple questions: what time of year do I need to block the view and what is your angle of view? Another customer just hated looking at the neighbors while standing at the kitchen sink. The answer was a single ornamental tree which in turn the “neighbor” just loved. Kind of poetic.

So, before you put up the “Great Wall of West Bloomfield”, know there are many, many more choices, despite what the big box tells you. Come in and see us. We’ll get you steered right, however we have no plumbing or electrical supplies.

Alleghany viburnum, on hand and ready to thwart the neighbors.

Alleghany viburnum, on hand and ready to thwart the neighbors.