Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring Growth Spurt

"Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer".  A professor of mathematics educated at Cambridge, Geoffrey B. Charlesworth, who wrote that enlightened prose, lived in Massachusetts and was the author of many poems on gardens and gardening.

Irises and wildflowers from my garden
form a pretty floral arrangement
Although Mr. Charlesworth passed away in 2008, I believe he would agree with me that springtime in the eastern United States made a loud and clear statement within the past week. I’m not talking about the early blooms of daffodils and cherry blossoms, forsythia or dogwood. I’m talking about the urgent rush to a verdant state that seems to have suddenly come out of nowhere and taken hold of the entire eastern seaboard. Just this week, as the Mid-Atlantic has enjoyed days of brilliant sunshine alternating with scattered rain showers, mother earth has stirred to life from her deep slumber. In the space of just a few days’ time, the gigantic oak trees on my historic property in Baltimore County, Maryland, have fully leafed out, richly hued buds of the irises I planted in my new garden last summer have suddenly pushed through their apical meristems and are beginning to bloom, and my whole yard has swiftly become lush and very, very green.

At 15 years old, Jon Haar was already
three years into his yard maintenance
business, hauling a lawnmower in a
wagon from house to house in his
While eventually I would like to landscape my property into a mow-free wildland with winding paths that meander through wooded meadows to small hidden glens of flowering leas, for the time being I have two acres of lawn to mow – and I don’t own a mower. No need, when I have a mower-man as diligent and dependable as Jonathan Haar and his 4 Seasons Landscaping Services, LLC. Since Jon was a twelve-year-old boy tugging his wagon down the street to mow grass for the neighbors, his entrepreneurial spirit has leaned in the direction of landscaping. In 2009 when he was 20 years old, Jon launched his yard maintenance business full time – a one-man operation – which he conducted out of his parents’ home in Baltimore City. I was introduced to him through a mutual friend and became one of his first customers.

Jon married Carolyn in 2011.
Now they run their landscaping
enterprise together
In 2010 Jon was doing well enough in his business to hire a helper, Richard, who stayed with him for two years.  That same year, at the urging of Jon’s father, a calculus teacher in charge of the IT department at Baltimore Lutheran High School in Towson, Jon attended a chili cook-off at his family’s church, where he met and soon fell in love with a fellow college student and teacher’s aid, Carolyn, whose family hails from Burbank, California.

Working as a team on "his and her" mowers,
 Jon and Carolyn made sure my yard looked
its very best yesterday

Jon’s landscaping business, and his relationship with Carolyn, really took off after that.   In 2011 Jon married Carolyn, and in 2012 Jon bought his first "leaf-vac", a gigantic contraption designed to suck up fall leaves in great quantities at high speed, which allowed Jon’s autumn clean-up business to really surge forward. In early 2013, he added a 52" Wright Stander rider mower to his yard-maintenance arsenal, as well as two additional full-time employees.

In winter Jon's company keeps
busy with snow removal
and other work
Carolyn helps Jon with the company’s website, as well as advertising and a monthly online newsletter they put out with gardening and yard maintenance tips. Jon and Carolyn are a sweet, responsible young couple just starting out, with level-headed plans for the future of their business. I want to give a big shout-out to Jon and the meticulous job he does on my two acres, especially right now, when my whole yard is greening up at such a high rate of speed that Jon and his equipment can barely keep pace. But they do.

Hailey Rose takes center
stage, with her mom, Katie
and her cousin, Chase
Hailey seems to need no help
unwrapping her birthday gifts
After my lawn was mowed and edged, I had the pleasure Saturday afternoon of attending a gathering at the home of my neighbors, Allen and Jacquie, who were celebrating a growth spurt of their own – in the form of their granddaughter’s first birthday. Little Hailey Rose was adorable in an outfit adorned with lady bugs.

Having recently experienced a rapid increase in size, Hailey’s parents, Katie and Jay, put out a request for bigger clothes for their wee one. I was more than happy to oblige, gift-wrapping a darling combination of pant-sets and onesies decorated with cat faces, and a teething ring in the shape of a horse. While Allen turned burgers and dogs on the grill in the shade of their pretty yard, Jacquie put the finishing touches on side salads and condiments and I put a warm dip and crackers out with the offerings from other neighbors. We had a great meal and then shared birthday cake as we watched Katie help her daughter open gifts, a technique which little Hailey seemed to get the hang of naturally.
Katie prepares to cut Hailey's ladybug
birthday cake as Jay gives his daughter
a good view of the proceedings

Hailey tests a new toy at her party
It’s amazing to see how much Hailey has matured just since I saw her a few weeks ago. Spring is indeed the season for bursting forth from dormancy. Growth is everywhere, spewing luscious colors and every shade of green. As Geoffrey Charlesworth might say, it is a lovely time of year.

Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the result of their love!
~ Sitting Bull

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