Last Updated May 20 2014. All material copywrite protected.
Carla is now Dr. Carla. She is an associate professor at Iowa State University. She studied at the University of Saskatchewan and Duke University in North Carolina. Her areas of interest include biology, philosophy, and women's studies. Ondrea completed a double honours degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Ancient History and Classics and a performance degree in Pipe Organ at the University of Edmonton. She then earned her education degree and is presently teaching in the Calgary Public School System. Jason is a Journeyperson Electrician.. His last major contribution to the Nursery was the wiring or our new shop/office complex. Jason too has moved on. We miss his efficient and good humoured help.
Deanna, a former teacher and librarian, has made the business her own. Besides looking after most of the day to day plant care and retail sales, she has definitely become our softwood cutting expert.
Although my early university training centred on engineering and education, I have spent most of my working years in horticultural activities. During this time, I completed a B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. I was what is sometimes mistakenly called a mature student.
Somehow, THE LITTLE TREE NURSERY has transformed from an active hobby and an exciting retirement plan into a thriving little business. It is still a family affair. The family has, however, grown to include some very competent help and many loyal customers. I want the business to remain close and personal.
Our family is never without mothers. We always have about 3 moms who help out while their children are in school. It takes many helping hands to look after 70 or 80,000 plants during all kinds of weather. The moms are naturals when it comes to organization and supervision.
Our family would be very boring without the students who offer their services every summer. Most of them live within walking distance of the nursery. Their energy and enthusiasm is an inspiration to us all. I am continually amazed at how quickly they learn, how skilful they are, and how much they are able to accomplish. Martensville is indeed a great place to do business.
Although my early training was in the physical sciences, engineering, and pedagogy, most of my working years have been spent in horticultural activities. During this time, I was self employed in the areas of landscape maintenance, quality sod production, irrigation installation and commercial/institutional landscaping. I have worked on some of the finest sites in Saskatoon.
At home, we have an interesting selection of house plants. Deanna gets most of the credit for these. We have ambitions of developing trial/display gardens and orchards in our new expanded site in Martensville.
My mother, both of my grandmothers, and one of my uncles were excellent gardeners. Their house plants and their vegetable and small fruit gardens were the envy of the neighbourhood. I think their plant lore was largely passed down to them by word of mouth and example. They were not avid readers. Although they had very little formal education, they had a certain oneness with and feeling for their plants which is hard to describe. They felt a certain calm in their gardens which allowed them to sense what their plants were needing. In today's world, this calm is often destroyed by text books, pesticide and fertilizer manuals, "quick fix" advice, and noisy machines such as rotor-tillers. When is the last time you let a "weed" grow just to see what it would be like?
Gardens are a refuge. The plants are our friends. If they suffer and die, we feel a certain sadness which is healthy and wholesome. Only "nice" people come to our gardens. They can't help themselves--gardens are "nice" places. Is my garden neat and perfectly tended all the time? No. I live in a world that is real and out of my control most of the time. However, this does not prevent me from striving for and achieving calmness and unity much of the time.
It has been said that we are "God's helpers" when we work in our gardens. This has great meaning for me. Success in our gardens depends mainly on simulating the conditions that our plants would enjoy in their natural settings. Because we have been messing with the "natural setting" for so many generations we have little feeling for our plants or their natural requirements. We expect our plants to spring out of the soiled earth and thrive only to be disappointed because we are so blind to and so unappreciative of nature which continues to abound all around us.
Don't misunderstand me. I have no objection to artificial irrigation, chemical fertilizer, or even the judicious use of pesticides. It is our paradigm that must change. We are HELPERS, not MASTERS.
I was delighted to find "Nurture a Plant" in a list of remedies for emotional depression. I can relate to this. There is something very satisfying about watching a plant develop and thrive under one's care. It is awesome to watch majestic trees and hardy shrubs which stand naked during the harsh winter come alive in the spring. It is humbling to truly observe the indomitable ways of nature.
That's me. Sometimes though, Web wimp might be more appropriate. I take great pride in doing the Website myself. I want the Website to be quick to load, easy to follow, informative, authoritative, and fun. I also want it to reflect what I stand for as a person.
During the winter when our plants are fast asleep, I have time to work on this Web Site. Eventually, probably next winter, each variety will be linked to an on-line photograph.
Although the information in this website is based largely on personal experience and observation, I rely heavily on many excellent references and the comments and suggestions of friends who are quite expert in their respective fields.
I am presently reorganizing the indexes. This is why they do not all behave exactly the same. Although I am using common names where ever possible, there will always be a need for the botanical (Latin) names. For the lay person, natural living things are very difficult to sort or organize effectively. Many lifetimes of scientific endeavour have gone into this "sorting" process. The result is a classification system based on botanical (Latin) names which have little meaning for the average person. This is the reason for multiple INDEXES.
My objective is to share some of the things I have learned about landscape plants and to sell some of the plants that have done well for me. You won't find me shy about expressing a few opinions along the way.