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Sun, July 21

Column: Start 2008 off with resolutions to improve gardening habits

This year, our second-generation family business will celebrate 45 years of operation. We're honored that our garden center just became the only one in the country to receive the prestigious Most Revolutionary Garden Center award two years in a row.

This is a prized recognition in the world of garden centers because our peers determine it. To us, this reward reflects our continued hard work to bring a creditable addition to our community. We are pleased to have received it again.

Although Yavapai County has many excellent family businesses, I'm going to draw your attention to the best of the best in tree pruning services. Kenco Tree Service is a company that takes pride in really knowing what it is doing technically. At the same time, it is equally dedicated to its high standards as a service-oriented business. This company delivers the high quality of work that can come only from an arborist, and I can defend that claim because for years Kenco has been doing the pruning at my house as well as the tree trimming at the garden center.

I really am pleased that Kenco and Watters Garden Center have teamed up to recycle as many cut Christmas trees as possible. Drop off your "expired" trees at the garden center in Prescott and Kenco will chip them so that we can recycle them into compost for our growing mixes and to be used in local landscape projects. When you bring by your tree, you will receive my "Preferred Plant Guide" about the best local trees to plant. Also, you will be presented with a coupon to be used toward the planting of a new tree. Plant a new tree in 2008 and help to make our community a better place in which to live.

Many New Year's self-improvement resolutions are destined to be broken, and gardeners' resolves are no different. Whether or not we follow through with our good intentions doesn't alter the anticipation of fair-weather gardening, which is so therapeutic. The pleasure in planning a spring garden project is enough to dispel any gardener's winter idleness blues. This is the time of year I plan not only the new layout for the garden center, but my personal gardens as well. If gardeners don't make changes to their gardens, their landscapes become old and overgrown. I try to remodel a little in the landscape each year.

Below are my own garden resolutions for 2008.

Ken Lain's 2008

Garden Resolutions

I will thin trees and shrubs and not let them become overgrown.

I will help the environment by planting a tree in my yard and/or a friend's.

I will replace ugly plants with more attractive new ones.

I will have more interesting evergreens in my winter landscape.

I will plant more flowering bulbs.

I will bring more cut flowers indoors.

I will enjoy more perennial flowers in the garden, even if I have to plant them in containers.

I will grow more plants that will enhance my landscape's fall colors.

I will build a patio or deck for myself or for a friend.

I will install a water feature for myself or for a friend.

I will use granular weed preventers to stop weeds before they emerge in my lawn or garden.

I will feed my entire yard with Start-N-Grow plant food at least three times this year.

I will deal with garden insects while they are small and easy to eliminate.

I will stop complaining about water issues and do something to reduce water usage. (Think drip irrigation.)

I will "stop to smell the flowers" and encourage friends to do the same.

Many of these resolutions will be the topics of my garden columns in 2008.

We are enjoying our holiday time to the fullest. This week Lisa and I are taking our five teenagers, four of our own and an exchange student from Russia, on a get-away trip. We're headed to California. Some roller coaster fun at Magic Mountain and a touch of "culture" from the Getty Museum should make for a well-balanced family experience. Of course, any student from another country wants to visit Hollywood so we will have to take in all those sights as well. I know that we will end our year with a good time, many laughs and happy memories for the seven of us.

That's it for 2007. To my garden column friends I send my best wishes that you, yours and your gardens have a healthy and happy 2008.

Until next week, I'll see you in the garden center.

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