This past October was characterized by unseasonable summer heat that, at times, seemed never ending. A few chilly mornings and brisk evenings inevitably gave way to days where an ice bath sounded like the pinnacle of refreshment. Now, it looks like fall has finally arrived: the leaves are swiftly falling, I’m breaking out my winter coat, and my summer plants are dusted with frost most every morning. Indeed, the time for summer gardening has ended—replaced by fall harvests and early-winter prep. November is the perfect time for this transition—temperatures are mild and sunlight is still readily available. It’s best to get out early and do your cool-season gardening chores before early sunsets and frigid weather resign you to binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things on your couch.
If you’ve just bought a house, updating the landscaping may not be your top priority. For many homeowners, landscaping is an afterthought; something that requires too much time and money to be essential. But a simple, smartly designed landscape is not necessarily expensive, and the upkeep it requires, if planned properly, can be easily accomplished every week. At Roanoke Landscapes, we want clients to know that the benefits of landscape design justify the effort it takes to get a lawn or garden in top shape. In fact, smart landscaping creates value and improves quality of life in a number of ways—many of which are often overlooked or understated. Here’s a run-down of what a smartly designed landscape can offer homeowners and communities broadly:
Photo by barnyz on Flickr.
Halloween only comes once a year, but the excitement and anticipation that precedes it (known as “Halloween Season”) lasts months—from the start of September when pumpkin spiced everything begins hitting the shelves to Halloween’s Eve (and, for those of us who get serious post-Halloween depression, weeks after that). When Halloween anticipation strikes, quintessential Halloween activities like pumpkin carving just can’t wait. Last year, my family carved their pumpkins on the first week of October. In Southwest Virginia, that means those pumpkins had three weeks of sitting in eighty degree heat before the fated holiday arrived. At the time, we didn’t know of any surefire ways to preserve carved pumpkins, so, by the end of October, our works of art were basically mush. Since then, I’ve looked up a few tricks to ensure that, this year, our pumpkins still look fabulous in time for Halloween. Though, I have to admit, all those mounds of slimy pumpkin goop certainly scared the neighborhood kids.
Employee happiness is integral to building a great business. Studies show that happy employees are more productive and, on average, produce higher quality work. Accordingly, influential companies have orchestrated a number of initiatives designed solely to increase employee happiness—from happy hour at the office to conferences at Disney World. Today’s employees want to see that the time and labor they put into their jobs comes with benefits that improve their quality of life, especially as employee wages stagnate and the amount of time they spend at work increases. Being able to have a cocktail in the afternoon, wear jeans on the job, or enjoy a complimentary gym membership can somewhat mollify the modern woes of employment (though a raise would certainly be better than a gin and tonic).
It’s not yet time to brace for impending frost and snowfall, but gardening is all about looking forward. While we enjoy what’s left of sunny, warm days and summer’s late greenery, we can also plan for what’s ahead. In Southwest Virginia, winter tends to sneak into focus, and it is not unusual for first frost to come sandwiched in-between unseasonable heat waves. Thus, it may be hard to pick an exactly right time to winterize your garden (or your irrigation system, for that matter). But, whenever you chose to make the leap, here are some tried and true tips to remember.