“WE BRING NATURE HOME.”
Laurence Watt, Groundskeeper
I’ve been enthusiastic about ornamental horticulture since the late sixties.
As a small boy, my favorite memories were working in my grandfather’s garden in Palos Verdes. Not your typical house garden, this landscape was as diverse as it was magical. Set into the side of a hill, it was etched with stairways and terraces, and populated with all manner of interesting bugs, amphibians and reptiles. This playground served as a core formative experience for the way I look at landscape now. Several microclimates were available - enabling what Grandpa referred to as pocket gardens - to be placed throughout the property, and he used inexpensive recycled materials, such as broken concrete pavement, old rail timbers and gravel to make paths to connect them. Regular watering was reserved for flower beds and the prized dichondra courtyard but the rest of the area was left to fend for itself with only occasional hand-watering, pruning and weeding needed. I still hear him reminding me to pull weeds out by hand, making sure to remove their roots, rather than giving them ‘haircuts’ with a hoe.
When the time came for college, landscape architecture seemed an obvious career choice. I also briefly explored a fine arts education but always felt ‘cooped up’ being indoors for so many hours. The landscape program was the right fit. A little bit of know-how combined with some artistry and moderate physical labor achieved some pretty incredible results. Unfortunately, a year and a half into the program, the “Tech Boom” occurred and like many other young men with family plans, earning potential from the tech industry proved too hard to resist, so I changed majors.
Over the next couple decades, computer work provided a good living but was never very satisfying. I had always found more joy working with my landscape and helping others with theirs. My home library evolved in a predominantly horticultural direction and most of my vacation plans focus on which garden visits can be worked into the itinerary. At some point, it seemed a good idea to turn that energy into a vocation.