Waldron Landscape

We are a full service Sonoma Valley landscape company equipped for any residential or commercial project, large or small.  Our services include consultation to full design, through construction, and regular maintenance.  We also provides one-time cleanups, garden renovations, high weed mowing, and emergency irrigation repairs.

We are fully insured and licensed in landscape architecture, construction and maintenance.
Contact us today to discuss your needs:
(707) 996-5868

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Tuesday
Jun022015

JUNE 2015 NEWSLETTER

 

Little did I know when I started working with my brother in 1974 that droughts would have a heavy impact on our careers. The big dry spell of 1976-78 was so bad that if you didn’t have a well, you lost your lawn. Our budding maintenance business sank into the drying mud and we began installing drought tolerant landscapes where the once green lawns had been so happy. There wasn’t enough work for two of us, so I built fences for awhile and since working with wood had been my strength, I went into construction. For the next 30 years I built houses in the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. Maybe I’m bad luck, but almost as soon as I rejoined Waldron Landscaping, bang, another drought! At least, for now, our water supply is much greater with Lake Sonoma’s huge capacity.

 

The lessons we learned from the first dry spell influenced the companies’ philosophy of conservation from the very beginning. We’ve not only learned to use attractive plants and underground drip systems, but have spent considerable time designing xeriscapes, which, combined with paths and patios are not only attractive, but utilitarian. After the first drought a lot of rock-scapes were quickly put in, turning once nice front yards into quarries, with the occasional juniper thrown in for variety. This is ‘verboten’ in our scheme and part of the reason Dave went back to school to become a landscape architect and begin to design attractive alternatives to lawn.

 

Since we can only water our lawns on Mondays and Thursdays from 7pm to 7am, many of you are once again weighing the value of your turf. If you decide to keep watering at a minimal level, your lawns will probably come thru the summer fine. Lawns have amazing resiliency to stress. If you decide to remove the lawn (and you are a VOM or city of Sonoma water customer) check into their rebate program. It can get you a check for up to 1000 dollars. Don’t let the lawn die before you call for an inspection. Only green lawns are eligible.

 

The drought has not only affected us, it also changed long-time employee, Nacho Navarro’s life as well. He worked for the Skylark native plant nursery in the 1970’s. The nursery did very well during the dry spell. When the heavy rains finally set in, almost everyone forgot about native plants and once again began a love affair with their lawns. Nacho went from a now failing nursery to us, where his brother Ramon and two other ex-Skylark employees had taken refuge. All the wet and dry cycles have covered a few decades and now Nacho will be the first employee at Waldron Landscape to turn 65 and enter the social security zone. I know how he feels, being only three years behind him! Not to worry, Nacho plans to collect his SS and work part time for a couple more years, so he can roll out a couple hundred more miles of drip line to help conserve some extra water.

Monday
Mar022015

MARCH 2015 NEWSLETTER

 

March is the start of the gardeners’ year, so Nacho, Gerardo, and Pablo, naturally arrived on February 28th at Oakland on a Volaris flight from Guadalajara, ready to fill out the staff and get to work. They looked well rested after 2 months in sunny Mexico. It’s good to have everyone back and in good spirits, swapping stories and getting the news from Mexico. Another year begins…

 

Pablo tells me his youngest, 15 year old Paulina, enjoyed her December Quinceanera held at their country home in Destacamento. Pablo’s wife, Florentina, had the garden overflowing with color, especially bougainvillea, which she plants in profusion. About 90 guests enjoyed the DJ, food, and beer. Pablo reports that his famous “Rancho California” is doing well: his 3 cows are set to double the herd when they give birth this October.

 

Gerardo’s home of Atotonilco is a few hours north of Destacamento, and is known for its Tequila production. His wife, Cecelia, and sons Luis 14, and Giovani 6, will hold down the front until he returns next December. Gerardo has been making the migration north since he was 12. He is now 50. He started out picking cherries in Washington and eventually worked his way south to the apples of Graton and grapes of Napa. He worked at Skylark Nursery before becoming a full time landscaper. He owns a two story house in Atotonilco and says his favorite part of it is the rooftop patio, which has a view of town and surrounding hills.

 

Nacho’s house in Llano, Michoacan has a similar roof patio. Llano is a small pueblo, but the views of the area on a warm , quiet evening are still impressive. Nacho’s sister, Elena, stays in the house all year maintaining it for her brothers and sisters when they come to visit. Nacho turns 65 September 4th and is looking forward to retirement. He got his start at Skylark Nursery back in the 1970’s before joining us at Waldron Landscape in the early 1990’s.

 

Every 4 years or so we adjust our rates to try to keep up with inflation. In April, we will raise our prices 7% to take a bite out of the 8% inflation of the last 4 years that has set us back. If you have any questions on this issue, give me a call.  Another business concern is centered on the drought. We will be concentrating on water conservation more than ever. This includes fixing leaks, adjusting irrigation timers and sprinklers for the highest efficiency, and in some cases encouraging everyone to think about the possibility of converting areas like lawns for more drought tolerant landscaping. In the meantime, think “March Miracle” and pray for rain.

Monday
Dec012014

DECEMBER 2014 NEWSLETTER

 

 

                                 

 

As we at Waldron Landscape start our 41st year in business here in this wonderful valley, we want to extend our thanks to all of you and wish you a happy Christmas season and a fulfilling 2015. When my brother Dave started the business in 1974 he hired me part time to help me through my senior year at Sonoma State College, we had no idea what we were getting into. Fortunately, we both liked the work and clients. I started my own business as a general contractor and worked in the Nevada City area for many years before returning to Waldron Landscape when Dave retired. I will say this, managing 40 employees, taking care of over 700 regular maintenance customers, while juggling the installations is very different than building one custom home at a time, but it’s a heck of a lot more interesting.

 

December is always a good month to get a jump on winter pruning. Many annuals are flowered out and can be removed. Most flowering shrubs can be pruned now as well. The wet weather means that all irrigation systems can be turned off. Be sure all exposed pipes to valves and faucets are covered with insulation. Nobody wants to come home to a geyser in the yard. Whoever did the successful rain dance to bring the recent wet weather Thanks!

 

This year, about eight of our gardeners are migrating south to Mexico for a little sunshine. Six guys will swell the population of La Union de Guadalupe. Population doubles there every Christmas. It’s the biggest celebration time of the year. This year the festivities will be even better. Juvenal’s brother Conrado Gutierrez (who worked for us several years ago) will marry Perla on December 27th. He works in avocado groves now and lives in La Union. Pablo Sosa Jimenez will be funding his daughter Paulina’s Quinceanera on January 15th. Several years ago my brother Dave, my son Dave and I visited La Union. I expect everyone to be back from vacation in January and February, well rested, tanned and a little chubbier.

 

One last Thank You to all of you. Because of you we were able to fund Kaiser, 401 K plans, vacations, and give a Christmas bonus.

Wednesday
Sep032014

SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER 2014

 

Before I get into a little sidebar about corn, let me do a couple housekeeping chores. First, it’s now mandatory to water lawns only on Mondays and Thursdays 7PM to 7AM. Let us know if you want any help reprogramming your irrigation timers. Second, we invite those of you who would like to be billed for your landscape services via email to let us know. Just put your email address you’d like Windy to use along with a little note to that effect when you send in your next payment.

 

Now, a word about corn, Mexico’s staple food. Almost nothing goes on with our Hispanic employees that doesn’t touch on this commodity. I’m not even referring to Juvenal planting every spare patch of ground here at the corporation yard. That’s a given. What he does with the corn is the secret, but now I may have a clue. We got his wife Luz a little job helping a caterer with an informal party of 140. She, and her daughter Bianca, were there to just cook the tortillas. She arrived not only with the presses to flatten the corn batter, but with her own corn batter as well. Rumor has it that she and Bianca cooked the tortillas at top speed, but still had a line of people waiting for more when the supplies ran out. Now Juv, where did the delicious corn really come from?

 

While our chief irrigation honcho is in the spotlight, I must tell you his mother Maria de Jesus Gutierrez (Dona Chuy to her family and friends) and her 89 year old father  Gregorio de la Cruz, visited Sonoma last month. It was a first visit to the U.S.A. for both of them. Jesus (Dona Chuy) whose three sons Juvenal, Luis, and Jesus all work for us, is also married to a Jesus. Can you imagine the confusion in that household? It makes my mother naming her first three sons David, Denis, and Daniel pale by comparison. Our own Martin de la Cruz is one of Gregorio’s seven children. I checked with Gregoriao about his 17 grandchildren, 10 live in the U.S. most of them here in the valley. His vacation was marred by only one bit of bad news, and you might have guessed, the news involved corn. While on vacation here, a storm cell in his home town of La Union de Guadalupe did quite a bit of damage to his own acre and half of corn. This is basically what he lives on for the year, so now he’ll have to make other arrangements to feed his family. Juvenal said his Dad’s corn field on the other side of the valley didn’t suffer any damage. Juv, you may be sending some of your seed corn back home with Gregorio. Now I understand why you grow so much of the stuff. Good job!

Tuesday
Jul012014

JULY 2014 NEWSLETTER

 

 

                                           

 

                                             

 

Boy did I make a mistake when I mentioned Jose Mejia’s move to Idaho. Our manager of many years, Jose Hernandez, has been getting calls all month asking why he is leaving.

Jose H is here to stay! I should have known with 11 of our 42 employees named Jose, there would be some confusion. On the plus side, our three most recent hires, Baldemar, Hugo, and Roberto, have added some good men to the roster not named Jose. By the way, Jose Mejia, who is Jose Hernandez’ uncle, got a job as a maintenance gardener in Boise and is doing quite well.

 

PRICES! I hope I got your attention because our dump fee of 1 dollar per 32 gallon can will increase to 3 dollars in August. Let me explain. We have been losing money on this part of the business and ideally would like to haul as little as possible. It’s time consuming to transfer the debris from the little trucks to the 10 yard truck each day, haul it to the transfer station, and pay for the load ( by the ton).We would rather put as much as we are able into the green 96 gallon yard waste cans supplied by the city or county garbage collectors. These cans, as you know, add nearly nothing to your regular bill. Mulching your clippings right on site is an ideal option if you have enough space. Let’s work on individual solutions during July to help us cut down on hauling and save you from extra expense. Remember, we want to do as little hauling as possible.

 

That last paragraph was a bit much. Life was simpler awhile back when Dad put the yard waste in a pile and burned it. Date yourself and tell me that the smell of burning Sycamore leaves is a pungent memory from your youth. On weekends, entire Sonoma neighborhoods lived under a haze of smoke. Now if you smell smoke while on a stroll in the old neighborhood, the first thought is “where the heck is the fire department?” Enjoy the summer and remember Jose Hernandez is under long term contract and has no plans to move to Idaho.

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