Busy, Busy, Busy.
Friday, March 22, 1996
Out Of The Woodwork.
This is our sixth year of operation and all indications are that it will be the busiest yet. Usually, the stuff hits the fan at the end of March. By this, I mean that people come in by the thousands for purchases and landscape estimates. Which requires me to do some monumental travelling to their existing homes or sites of new homes to advise, plan, draw, present, modify and have my crews install plant material for them.
This travel represents almost 1,500 miles and over 120 hours of work per week, as compared to the normal 40 hour week. I usually put in 18-20 hour days, seven days a week from March 15 to July 1. Then it slows a little, as most of Pennsylvania and Maryland seem to go on vacation during July and August. Then, all hell breaks loose in September and it's almost as hectic here as it was in the spring, until Christmas or so when the ground freezes.
Many people think that the horticulture business allows us to go to Florida or the islands for the winter, and show up in the spring for the multitudes to pour money forth on new plant material. Not so. The winter, at least for me, is a somewhat less busy time of preparation for spring: ordering plant material and hardgoods, making labels, signs and tags by the thousands, taking tens-of-thousands of cuttings, dividing plants and making more numbers, sowing seed for plant propagation, grafting and much more. There's a few trade shows to go to and that provides a brief respite from the usual daily activities. This is a year-round business; we're open 12 months, unlike those part time nurseries that close for the winter. We're a true horticultural center.
A Real Problem.
One of the dilemmas I face every year is in finding good help. There are some real gaps in the workplace, caused mainly by the Welfare System and liberal democrats. They've got Unemployment Compensation at such a high rate now, many people don't want to and won't work; hell, they'd make less based upon their swhack levels than they get from government handouts. It's absolutely insane! Get the damned liberals out of government; make people who can work, WORK. Force people to get off their lazy asss and take control of their own lives, instead of letting the government mail checks to them every week. Enough of that shit.
This Year's An Exception.
I put an ad on our local Weather Channel for "landscape help" and the turnout was extraordinary! Eleven applicants have called, we've interviewed seven and hired five. Amazing. Ususally, the quality of applicants leaves much to be desired, so we take the best and run lean crews with good, trainable people. Looks like we'll have three, five person crews for this season. Never let it be said that people don't watch TV and respond accordingly.
Although the industry is seasonal in nature, these are full time positions, depending upon the applicant's abilities and experience, with good benefits:
This is a great place to work; we do some very interesting things on a wide variety of residences, from simple, single tree plantings to large estate restoration and horticultural management. And everything in between. We take junk and make something very special out of it. The diversity of plant material we use for the varied landscape situations is incredible. Our customer base is also amazing; we do work for a very, very wide range of people.
On A Bright Note.
My sister Becky just arrived from San Francisco this morning; her friend Bob picked her up at BWI Airport in Baltimore and didn't even take a gun! Amazing. She's here for three weeks to help us get our shit together. More about her next week.
Over 40 Meetings This Week.
Forty landscape meetings with clients on their sites and still counting as they come in. Whew, what a load!
Time For Some Relaxation.
Saturday evening's dinner party will be most welcomed; I am a gourmet cook and used to enjoy entertaining and cooking. But I haven't done much in the past few years, what with last year's divorce and the long hours the business requires. I was very serious about watching all the quality cooking shows on TV; I also travelled quite a bit when in NYC advertising, so I'd tape all the shows and spend many, many hours watching both cooking and gardening shows when I'd return.
Watching all the gardening shows, especially "The Victory Garden", taught me a lot of what I know today. I've got five or six years of TVG on tape. I also have a near-photographic memory, so I read widely and retained all of it. Eight years of Latin (in preparation to be an attorney or doctor or something) helped with the botannic names. The rest is a result of on-the-job training. It's funny though; since starting the garden center & nursery here, I haven't had time to watch anything; I have two VCR's (Super Beta and VHS) at home, but don't tape anything anymore. In fact, I don't even watch TV anymore; I'm too tired when I get home, I just sleep. At least my two cats, Murphy and Mama are happy to see me.
What's Your Life Like?
Tell me about yourself; I'd actually like to know what you're doing. Email me. Make it as long as you want; no problem. I like email. Makes me think there's someone else out there besides me.
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