Maybe during grad school…but, that was a different busy. Working with clients carries a unique pressure. I want everyone to be happy, but I can’t do everything at once. Obviously.
Maybe it was the crazy cold winter and belated spring, but it seemed like a season’s worth of work was squished into four weeks.
This morning brought relief and some gut-wrench as I wrote checks to the vendors that supplied native plants and seed for my spring projects. Thank you Prairie Moon, Agrecol, Strand, Johnson’s and NorthCreek Nurseries!
I also reviewed my job budgets and reflected on the highlights and tragedies that defined Sparrow’s spring.
Let’s focus on some of the positives….
- 2,410 native perennials were introduced to their new homes…as prairie-style foundation plantings, to carpet bioswales and to entice pollinators to woodlands where garlic mustard once reigned.
- 51 native trees and shrubs closed a forest gap where an old vegetable garden once lived.
- A 1,000 foot long foot path was created to meander through the woods, orchard and new prairie meadow. Even added a few peach trees to the orchard. Although I consider myself a native plant purist most of the time, I do use edibles.
- A half-acre woodland was seeded with a blend of sedges and wildflowers….not a bargain bin blend either, but a $5,000 investment, carefully laid out as a base blend of six different sedges with hand seeded wildflower highlights.
- A woodland restoration plan was designed with the help of the talented Heather Holm! Beech, Maple and spring ephemerals will be planted this fall.
- A woodland community along a local lake was freed from it’s garlic mustard captors. 17 hours. 10 huge Hefty bags. I have never hated a plant more. Ever.
- Holding a young woodchuck in my hand as we helped my mom and her husband move out of my childhood home (I let it go…it was cornered by my brother’s dog and couldn’t figure out an exit strategy).
- The Lupine field in front of my house kicked butt this year.
- Four inches of rain fell on my seeded masterpiece with such force that it blew out sections of the wood chip trail. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Thankfully all was not lost. We rebuilt and added erosion fabric just in case.
- After spending two hours with a client discussing a re-work of her foundation plantings, she asked if she could plant “normal” perennials with native plants. What’s “normal?” Are native plants abnormal? Sometimes I feel like I’m not gaining ground fast enough in this industry. Sometimes it’s so hard offering a polite explanation. Sometimes I just want to blow.
- Being asked what a woodland is when talking about prairie and woodland communities with a potential client. Shouldn’t people know what a woodland is? Seriously? Trees? Hello?
- Horseback riding on trails lined with garlic mustard and focusing on how much I hate this plant instead of enjoying my precious free time. My 17 hour project was a drop in the bucket. If everyone picked garlic mustard every spring for 17 hours, the Midwest would be a better place. Sometimes I envy my friends that I ride with that have no idea what invasive plants are….they seem to be enjoying themselves despite their views of buckthorn, honeysuckle and garlic mustard. Is ignorance bliss?
- Putting every creative ounce of energy that I have into every single one of my proposals and then not getting the job. And not even getting an explanation as to why. Just silence. I know I’ve been in the industry nearly 20 years, but this still hurts. I realize that my skin will never be thick enough.
But, let’s end on a good note….
My in-basket runneth over with work, which is a good thing when you’re running your own business.
And my husband and son continually cheer me on; offering help when I need it and weathering my moody storms.