John & Bob's Blog

According To John: Amending Soil Properly

I believe the most common misconception in the horticultural world is the belief that it is advisable to amend planting holes for trees and shrubs with wood-based organic matter. In the long term, amended soils will harm plant health and survival. Despite the fact that an ideal soil contains only 5% organic matter, many amend planting holes with 25%, 50%, or even more organic matter. Despite an increasingly large body of research showing that soil amendments are not helpful and can actually injure plants, such information is not incorporated into the practices of landscape professionals and home gardeners.

The main reasons for inhibited plant growth in amended soils are all related to water and drainage. Water will frequently accumulate in the amended planting hole because of soil textural differences. The result is the “bathtub effect”, which suffocates the roots, leaving them more...

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According to John: Unwanted Moss

Most gardeners have experienced the common problem of moss growing where we’d rather have lawn or other plantings flourish instead. There are a number of reasons for this but, contrary to popular belief, the predominant causes have very little to do with low soil pH.  However, many professionals and garden enthusiasts continue to push lime and lime-based products as the best way to eradicate unwanted moss. In reality the main causes of unwanted moss are insufficient sunlight, low soil fertility and compacted soil.

If you can solve at least two of those problems, the moss will disappear! Because mosses love to grow in moist, shaded areas and have shallow root systems, these conditions make for a favorable environment for this unwanted plant. In turf, a healthy lawn is the best way to discourage and prevent moss.   Open up the area to sunlight by pruning or plant removals to solve...

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Unlock the Secret to the Flower Garden of Your Dreams!

It’s almost time for the return of the flowers! Crocus and daffodil will be coming up in a couple of weeks. More bulbs, annuals and perennials will soon follow.  Tulips! Pansies! Camellias! Irises! Roses! Hydrangeas! All the flowers we covet and adore! Before you know it, the air will be filled with the scent of flowers and the buzz of the bees. And there is one sure-fire way to ensure that you have the biggest, most beautiful and most bountiful blossoms possible! All you have to do is create healthy soil! You can improve the health, appearance and production of your flowering plants immensely just by building the soil!

John and Bob’s GrowGreen Smart Soil Solutions will greatly increase the health of all types of plants, including roses, rhododendrons, flowering bulbs, and more! The four products work together to increase the health of your...

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Gardening for Mental Health: Women’s Prison Garden Update

In May, I posted a blog regarding the benefits of gardening for our mental well-being. Nurturing plants and being in the natural world provides many people with peace and a sense of well-being. My landscaping team and I have been constructing and assisting in the design of a garden at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California, the largest women’s prison in the world. As I mentioned in my previous blog (link), the garden is being funded by the group “Chapel of Grace”, who work hard to positively impact women who have had difficult lives, made mistakes and are now imprisoned and often hopeless. The garden is designed to be a sacred space for reflection, prayer and perhaps fundamental change for these women. The project has now been completed and is available for use by women in the Valley State Prison. On May 17th, nearly 500 inmates and...

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According to John: MONEY TALKS

You have probably heard the expression “Money Talks.” Unfortunately, my money must have a speech impediment because the only thing it has ever said to me is “Good-bye.” I have found solace in knowing that I am not the only one. Almost every project that we have been involved with -commercial, public works or residential- has expressed an interest in maximizing value and cutting costs. Particularly, since our work tends to come at the end of a construction process, folks are frequently burdened by cost over-runs. As a result, throughout our 32 years in business, we have focused on maximizing value and producing gardens of the highest quality at the lowest possible price. We take pride and consider it our specialty to be able to analyze garden proposals and suggest changes that will lower the price without sacrificing quality. At the heart of these efforts is our John & Bob’s...
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