One of my first assignments with Landscape Management (then known as “Weeds, Trees & Turf”) in 1984 was visiting Lieds Landscape, Sussex, WI, founded in 1945 by the late Delmar Lieds. I spent that soft, early-autumn day with Delmar (he passed in the mid 1990s) and his son, Tom, who was then running the company. The company is now under the guidance of Robb Lieds, the third generation directing the family business.
What I remember most vividly about that first facility tour is the colors and textures Delmar evoked in describing the “gardens” his company designed and produced for its clients. His love for plants and their unique characteristics, which he shared as the two of us walked a stand of blue spruce in the company nursery, struck an emotional chord within me that remains to this day.
Those of us in the industry talk about landscapes. We talk property maintenance. We talk lawn care.
Why don't we talk more about giving our customers "gardens"? Who doesn't like a garden, after all?
It seems to me that to answer that from a business perspective, at least, we have to answer "yes" to two questions: 1) Do we have the special knowledge and skills required within our teams to install and to care for gardens? 2) Do we have a sufficient number of customers desiring, willing able to pay for them and their maintenance, recognizing that gardens are constantly evolving and maturing?
It's a brave landscape company, in this case Lambert Landscape, willing in late winter to show the gardens under its care — even in Texas where people are apt to be a bit more on the bold side. This time of the year the turfgrass (St. Augustinegrass in most cases) is dormant and brown, and residential gardens are a month or more away from even approaching their true attractiveness.
Several weeks ago I was fortunate (and delighted) to join a group of knowledgeable horticulturists from some of the nation’s top universities and tour gardens designed and installed by the Dallas-based company.
Lambert's Lara Moffat, MLA, director of marketing & recruitment, and several of her colleagues walked with us and answered our questions regarding the gardens their company had installed and maintains in Highland Park, an exclusive community three miles north of downtown Dallas. The gardens were impressive — the design, the attention to detail, the hardscape, the huge containers, the statuary, etc. — in spite of plant material still suffering from the unusually bitter cold and snow that dampened nearby Super Bowl activities several weeks earlier.
My main takeaway message from the afternoon walking the properties is that Lambert Landscape, founded in 1919, intimately knows its market, knows its customers' desires and needs, and the people on the Lambert team know gardens.
Enjoy some of these images we took as we walked the gardens of several of its clients. We look forward to sharing images of some of these same gardens on this blog when they're at their amazing best. — Ron Hall