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


Summer in Sonoma Valley ~ Perennial Care

www.WaldronLandscape.com    WalPlant@vom.com

            We had a little company barbeque on Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend here at the corporation yard for all the guys.  As they drifted in from their various landscaping and gardening jobs throughout Sonoma Valley, they quickly bellied up to the big barbeque that head chef Elias had fired up, and began taste-testing his specially seasoned beef, chicken, tortillas and vegetables, hot off the grill. Juan, his son Juan, and Tavo set up their musical instruments and were soon playing their repertoire of songs. The nearest neighbor is half a mile away, so the volume was on high. Little Juan is an excellent drummer for a fourteen year old. Juan Sr. does the singing and plays keyboards. Tavo plays keyboards as well. The party was, as is always the case, very casual. The only possible problems we might have are when half the guys start taking over from the iron chef Elias and the other half move Juan from his microphone and try to sing. By the end of the afternoon, peace still reigned and pretty much everyone had taken a turn either grilling or warbling, or both.

Perennial Garden            Late spring in Sonoma Valley is a great time to begin cutting back some perennials, dead-heading others, setting the irrigation schedule for hotter weather, and monitoring plants for fungus and insects. When pruning many perennials, it’s sometimes a good idea to really get after the fastest growers with the pruning shears. They might look a little destroyed for a few weeks, but come back much fuller and sometimes with more blooms. The alstroemerias, for example, like to have the entire flowering stalk pulled from the ground. This is one of the best cut flowers around. The penstemons should also be cut very close to the ground. I try to cut them frequently, using their flowers for arrangements in the house. That way the pruning is done on a piecemeal basis and the plant never looks hacked.

            No newsletter would be complete without a cat update. Marcie and I finally found a friend (I use the word loosely) for Slimfast. Her name is Bella. She’s a five year old short hair with the same black and white fur pattern and green eyes as Slim. For the first three weeks after she arrived in the house, she hid out in places I didn’t even know existed. She explored at night. Little by little, with her permission, she has allowed us to approach and pet her. She has bonded with Marcie. Bella spends a lot of time using her little white paws to type on Marcie’s computer keyboard or sits quietly on a nearby chair. Slim still holds the high ground on his three cushions in the living room. I hope that lasts. Bella can out jump him by about three feet. Age may yet rule, as Slimfast’s appetite and swagger show no sign of abating.

            In the last newsletter, Dan pointed out to me that I’d misspelled 'slough.' This, coming from a younger brother and math major to boot, was pretty hard for the old English major to take. I promise everyone, 'slough' will be my last error in the spelling department. I’ll just bone up on my fonetics and never let anything like that happen again, phor sure. 


Spring in Sonoma Valley

www.WaldronLandscape.com    WalPlant@vom.com

             All of los guapos are back from their winter hibernation in Mexico and running around the yard in the morning, loading their trucks with bags of fertilizer and all the machinery they need for each day’s work. This is a sure sign (along with such springtime traditions as the red-winged blackbirds staking out their nesting territory in the reed grasses down in the sloughs) that winter is over. I write this knowing that we’ve had more rain since March 21st than we had all winter, and that since the weather is generally colder than normal, nobody really thinks it is spring. I hope it warms up, because if we have another coldish summer and the beloved tomato crop disappoints again, serious mental anguish and other depressive behaviors will set in. We are hoping for some really spectacular weather in the near future and are going to plant our vegetable garden without delay. Juvenal and Fernando have many pepper, tomato and squash seedlings in their little greenhouse that are already several inches high and nearly ready for transplant. We’re going to add mushroom compost to the veggie garden in an effort to spur extra growth and fill all our employees’ shopping bags this summer and fall.

            Nobody has ever accused me of writing a particularly cohesive (or often even a coherent) newsletter, but I’m warning you in advance that the next paragraph may out do itself in this department. You can skip it if you’re feeling a little dizzy already. My wife Marcie wants me to mention that April is organ transplant awareness month. Marcie is busy organizing a small bunch of locals who are organ recipients into an outreach group to educate others about the life saving miracle of a transplant. Our company Kaiser Plan jumped another 13% this year, running the total to over a quarter of a million dollars for the year. I think it’s the best money our company and its employees spend. A two year old son of one of our employees was diagnosed recently with a rare genetic disorder found in only about 400 people worldwide. This syndrome has no cure and will require years of specialized medical care. Given Kaiser’s outstanding response to cases like this, I think it is worth every penny and then some. Managers Jose Hernandez, Dan Waldron, Raffa Casillas and Juvenal Gutierrez are already getting busy. They’ve rehired some of our summer crew and are scheduling lots of work. If you need any help with irrigation startup, mulching, spring color, cleanups or anything else, call early and get on the schedule. Remember that the irrigation systems need to be reactivated about ten days after the rain lets up. We can’t always monitor every system, especially when the timer is inside your house. Keep an eye on your garden and remind us if you see things begin to dry out. It’s a good idea to put new batteries in the timers each spring.

            My brother Dan spends weekdays working for us and returns to his home in Nevada City on the weekends. He volunteers at the local pet shelter every Saturday walking some of the dogs. He brought back a video of a black and white cat at the shelter that could be my cat, Slimfast’s littermate. Slim is a fifteen year old male and the other cat is a five year old female. What a dilemma this is, since I wouldn’t mind another cat for Slim to interact with.  But, would Slim like the company? (His brother Tubby has been gone for two years.) Or would another cat cause him too much stress? I may have to find a cat counselor to help me delve into the intricate feline psychology of this little mystery before making a decision. Trying to understand cats is an area I would never venture alone.


Start Your Sprinklers

www.WaldronLandscape.com    WalPlant@vom.com

Ramon and Nacho Navarro, Raffa, Dan and Juvenal recently made it back to Sonoma after winter visits to Mexico. The lure of the big burritos must have overcome their will power because they all not only looked well rested but a little plumper as well. They must have lost site of the 'portion control' element of their diets. All of them downplay this ‘temporary’ gain as an aberration that a few weeks of hard work will put right. Ramon tells me the weather in Llano, Michoacan is exceptionally warm. Juvenal reports the avocado crop around La Union (a couple hundred miles from Ramon’s home in the neighboring state of Jalisco) is spectacular. Many new avocado orchards are being planted in mountainous area around La Union. Juv’s brother Conrado, who worked with us a few years ago, is now employed planting these trees. Gerardo and Pablo are still wintering in the southland enjoying unlimited guacamole. They should be back next month to fill out (no pun intended) our crews in preparation for the busy season.

            The weather has been so dry and warm that Jose’s installation team has been working continuously. There is usually a lull this time of year because the ground is so muddy not much can be done. The maintenance men have also been busy. They are fertilizing lawns like it is spring, and going crazy setting and resetting irrigation clocks. This hasn’t been the case since the drought of the seventies. If you monitor your own timers, water about once a week until the rain reappears. The lawns and plants need to be kept moist to protect them from frost damage. If you need help, Juvenal can take care of any irrigation details. He might as well begin trouble-shooting systems now to keep from getting overwhelmed in the spring rush.

            My wife, Marcie, is so involved with so many local groups like Kiwanis, Willmar, Vintage House and the Community Center, that I finally had to get into the spirit and volunteer to drive one day a month for Vintage House’s LIMO program to assuage my guilty conscience. There’s nothing like someone else’s good example to motivate a person into action. Anyway, the service involves driving seniors who need rides to  non-medical appointments or just to get the shopping done. Beverly Odell runs the program. If you think you might like to be a volunteer driver, she can be reached at Vintage House, 996-0311. There are 52 drivers now, and I noticed some of them (you know who you are Betty, Dee, Bob etc.) are regular Waldron Landscape clients. I hope I’m not wasting newsletter space preaching to the choir. I also noticed that to qualify as a senior to obtain rides, one must be over 60. Since I fall into that age category myself, the program could be called ‘Seniors Driving Seniors’, but that sounds pretty scary. LIMO is a much, much better moniker.


Moving into 2012

www.WaldronLandscape.com    WalPlant@vom.com

            When I began writing newsletters in December 1999, the world was about to end with the onset of the Y2K worldwide computer meltdown, which was set for 1-1-2000. You can now breathe a sigh of relief. Apparently we are good for the time being, at least where computers are concerned. You will also note that after a brief decade of patient waiting, we have jumped into the digital world with both feet. Notice our email and web site listed above. The website is a work in progress, but the email is being used more and more. Windy, at Premier Business Services, says that she can bill you via email. If you would like your billing done this way, send her your email address on the part of your statement that you return with your check and she’ll set it up.

            At the end of each year I look back and get the same feelings. One is amazement that everything went as well as it did. The other is thankfulness for all of you, our wonderful clients who support us year after year. It’s hard to believe, but some of you have been regulars since the 1970’s. I’m sure I speak for the guys as well. They realize how lucky they are to have you, especially in the difficult economy of the past few years. When one of the maintenance men, Kiko, thanked me for his Christmas bonus last week, I told him that next year I hoped to double it. He shrugged, smiled and told me he was happy to have steady work. Now we’re talking more than lucky: great clients and great employees. That really makes it all worthwhile. We want to send all of you not only our gratitude, but the very best wishes for the holiday season and 2012.

            Computers aren’t the only things getting more sophisticated these days. The low voltage lighting arena is becoming much easier to install and maintain. This is mainly due to LED lights which at 1.5 watts, draw little power, require smaller wire and last far longer than higher wattage bulbs. The cost of the transformer drops as well giving the homeowner the option of using more lights. The LED bulbs are more expensive, but make up for their initial cost with longevity and electricity savings. My brother Dan has been doing more of this kind of work for us lately. Depending on the situation, lights can be operated remotely (same idea as a garage door opener) so owners can turn on the system from the car, or connected to a light switch in the house. Dan is Mr. Technical, but Jose and I not only like the functional use of lighting, but the artistic aspect as well, such as up lighting trees and creating a garden that is really pretty at night.

            I think I have finally gotten the right food for my picky cat Slimfast. It’s the expensive (naturally) cans of chipped turkey followed by a beef flavored kibble called Temptations, that I get at Safeway. Slim sleeps at the foot of the bed peacefully until 5am when he moves to a spot halfway up the stairwell. That’s about the time I get up. As soon as he sees me, he begins his operatic arias which stop only when his portion is placed in front of his overactive nose. He’s happy and I’m happy, especially when he stops singing in that high-pitched voice and starts to munch. Enough of Caruso. Thanks again for all you do for us here at landscape central.  

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