Today is a day for some obscure thoughts and some some common misconceptions.

Schepers Property Maintenance helps get our customers over the hurdles that exist in making their garden become their own and therefore making their garden great. There is a reason we call ourselves the garden coaches!  We bring our customers into their garden.

The very first misconception people have is that they start a conversation by saying “I am not a gardener, I do not have a “green thumb”.  These same people have ironically called me though. They want changes. They “don’t like” this, they “really like” that and they “are frustrated” with something else. Some like flowers, others love fauna and coolness. There are those trying to create a shady spot and others that want a safe place for their children to play. People need to know that asphalt and concrete are garden decisions. You are putting a face on your property. Your are managing your outside world. Realizing that gardening is any decision that deals with this outside world and any change you make is a gardening decision makes you a gardener.

A garden is not like a room that needs painting. The start and end points are not that definable. It is more like a room used for storing memorable pictures and furniture. There is a process of sorting through the boxes and making decisions.  There is the obvious garbage pile, the give away pile, the sell pile and the keep pile. In the keep stack there are the items that are easily dealt with, the pictures that need to be placed in albums and the things you are still not quite sure about. Also, unlike a room, your garden does not have a door on it that can be shut when guests come to visit. A garden is your face to the world and by nature it is honest. The tendency is for people to not allow time and learning to be valid elements of gardening, just like sorting a room is a process. It is adolescent to see a problem and think the solution is ever simple and fast. We can help you show your best face making it possible to leave your door open.

A recent survey, my asking ten random people in a Tim Horton’s line up, concluded that people feel most comfortable in a well-kept, well lived in home. They would choose this hands down over pretentiousness or mess and dirt. The latter two take away intimacy where as a house being lived in encourages it. A half-finished puzzle on one end of the dining room table and packages on the other are not offensive but rather make us curious. One cup of half-finished tea next to a plate with crumbs and a book is far more comforting than a computer screen that has not yet hibernated. In fact a messy room seen by a guest makes sense and makes them feel better about their own.  A piece of furniture that is worn and out of place begs to have the story told. A make shift cupboard to deal with all the extra baking wear let’s us see ingenuity and a person that overcomes; who is not franchised by the media. In the same way a garden need not be perfect or idyllic, it can be you.

A good garden is a garden where a story is told. The best gardens are the ones that start the story like this..”Mike from Schepers Property Maintenance helped me build this”. When going for a tour in someones garden there should be stories.  One man was a geologist who collected rocks. He created the most mismatched garden path I have ever seen. How could something as natural as stone look so out of place. It did not look bad but it would not be a thing of beauty without his story. Every stone came home with him from a trip and we spent a solid hour discussing where he had been, how he got the stone and how difficulty it was to bring it home. This is an excellent garden. In our yard is a rambling Forsythia that never looks quite right. It is too big for it’s space and therefore needs to be pruned radically. It belonged to a Mrs Richardson who was a neighbour, a customer and a friend. She was good at them all. Every time I see the shrub I think about the fun I had carving a gigantic “80” in her yard for her eightieth birthday. I did not forewarn her but took liberties, leaving her lawn a little unkempt for her big party but giving her the gift of my “80” tattoo. Instead of complaining she had her coffee in the shade of her rear deck and puzzled it out. She said it took her almost the whole of the second cup before the tattoo was seen. That shrub is a good garden plant, it contains stories.  Be warned there are no good stories that I have heard about a concrete and grass yard.

There are many more misconceptions. Concrete for instance does take maintenance. It is an odd thing about life but working too hard at making things perfect forces one into a mind set that will experience every imperfection.  Dust, leaves, bird poop, spilled cokes and ash all are imperfections in hardscapes that need maintenance.  They are things that just get eaten and assimilated by a flower bed. Much of the work we do at Schepers Property Maintenance is looking after debris that in a lawn or a flower bed would be compost but on asphalt is not acceptable.  Dust on concrete is the first natural step to make a place to grow things, weeds are next.  A crack in concrete is a constant reminder of change and upheaval but it is negative. A plant dying in season, flowering, reproducing and going through stress is a tamer alarm clock of the seasons.

Show yourself this year and plan a garden bed. Make it in the front yard where you are forced to see the quirky neighbours. Make and share a story.


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