President's Message

By David DeJohn, NHCLP

June 2016

Okay, we’re into it full swing now! This has to be one of the most varied starts to the Spring season that I’ve had in a very long time. Usually it’s relatively routine with the season starting with cleanups and mulching, next comes finishing any left over work from the previous season, and then on to new projects for the next several months. This year, though, it has been all over the map making the schedule anything but routine. Two stone wall projects started and mostly completed during the winter are now in the process of being capped, raised beds using 6"x6" hemlock timbers are just being completed, pad prep for a garden shed has started, walkway and patio excavated and prepped on yet a different project, and organizing and lining up material for a patio soon to be installed around a pool. Not to mention the cleanups and mulching. Thank God I’m only down to three mowing accounts now!

With all that going on it amazes me that I am still more or less on schedule, or at least the illusion of the schedule that I started out with. As is probably true for everybody else out there, April and May is the time of year when clients are at their most nervous and anxious. The sense of urgency is palpable and it’s sometimes hard not to feed into it, especially when you start getting the second round of phone calls and texts from the clients you haven’t gotten to yet. “Haven’t seen you yet, just wondering where you are?” I got that exact call on the 27th of April, the day after it snowed 2 or 3 inches and the morning of a severe killing frost. That’s when you need all the diplomatic skills you can muster! Ah, let the chaos begin!

I’m writing this in mid-May so by the time you’re seeing this issue we will have had our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Northern Nurseries. The Mission Statement for the NHLA is all about education and providing opportunities to further your knowledge in the many different areas that is the horticultural and landscape field. Between our Winter and Spring conferences, and NHLA sponsored Twilight Meetings as well as all the events, classes and educational meetings put on by the cooperative extension there is always something new to learn and challenge us to stay current in the industry. NHTI is another great resource for continuing ed and they have a very good landscape program. I’ve been slowly-very slowly- taking classes in this program and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. During this past winter I really went out of my comfort zone and took the Beginning Vectorworks class that was being offered for the first time at NHTI.

If you are at all interested in learning a CAD like program geared towards landscape design then I highly recommend this challenging class. Chris Kessler from Pellettieri Associates taught the class and did a great job making the material accessible and understandable. Aside from a couple students in the class who already use Vectorworks in their jobs (thank you Rhonda for all your help and advice! ), Chris was able to get those of us without Vectorworks experience and/or, like me, not much computer smarts, to actually be able to produce something that resembled a computer generated site plan! It was challenging, frustrating, stressful, and rewarding – and a great way to spend the winter. Thanks Chris, much appreciated!

So, back to the Twilight Meetings. Northern Nurseries has gone by, and we have others coming up in July, August, and September. We’re always looking for ideas for these evening meetings so if you have any thoughts or ideas let us know.

August 9 will be a day you want to set aside for our 3rd Annual Golf Tournament at Candia Woods. All the forms can be found at and registration and payment are due by Friday, July 22. Talk about going out of my comfort zone, I might even sign up to play. That would qualify it as an educational event as you would learn that I don’t know how to play! Hope to see you there!

One other event I’m really excited about is coming up on Saturday, July 16. This is an NHLA Day/Open House hosted by Palmer Koelb at his Shin-Boku Nursery in Wentworth, NH. Palmer has been specializing in Japanese Style pruning for 25 years and started Shin-Boku in 2003. If you haven’t been to his nursery before then I guarantee you’ve never seen a nursery like it. In fact, I think it is only one of two in the whole U.S. that has trees like these, as well as a Japanese Stroll Garden that is a work of art in itself.

Palmer is one of the original founding members of NHLA and was the fifth President of our organization. I was recently invited by him to come up and see Shin-Boku again, and it was certainly an afternoon well spent as we walked around the nursery looking at these one-of-a-kind specimen trees. 90% evergreen, the trees here are totally unique and spectacular examples of the Japanese pruning style that Palmer has been practicing. As we walked around, Palmer had a story about many of the trees we saw and what it takes to achieve their unique shapes. We tend to think of pruning and landscaping in general, whether it’s done properly or not, as something measured in minutes and hours and days, but when you see some of these living sculptures you will see the result of painstaking work measured in years and in some cases, decades. There is a calmness at Shin-Boku that comes from this, and I was reminded that the landscapes that we create now are not instant and never really done.

The date,again, for this event is Saturday, July 16, starting at 11:30 or so and goes to 5:00. There will be food, tours of the nursery and a talk by Palmer about his style of pruning. There’s a pretty good size loam pile there and Bobcat of NH may be there with some equipment to try out on it. There’s tons of other stuff to do in the area as well, so I hope to see you there and at all the other events mentioned. For the Shin-Boku day please rsvp me,, or Palmer,

Information for this and the other events can be found in on our calendar.

Happy Spring!



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