Creativity Inspired

By Jim Sollecito

Double cherry-colored fragrant flowers. This plant was not available three years ago. That is what happy looks like.
Double cherry-colored fragrant flowers. This plant was not available three years ago. That is what happy looks like.

I love being creative. I seek opportunities to live life full of new ideas.

When our daughters were young I would ask them to name three things. Then I’d make up a bedtime story including all three. This really held their interest. Every night for years, new ideas generated more than a thousand different stories.

I enjoyed the challenge and those 15-20 minutes together as our little ones listened to my mind working. Perhaps it stretched their imaginations, too.

Certainly, combining elements is exactly what landscape design is, too. Those stories were never the same and neither are two landscape situations. Which is why I have never chosen to use an automated computer design system. To my way of thinking, that would limit the creative process. Our designs are created by experienced professionals with a trained eye and drawn by hand.

Yes, it takes more effort. But the rewards are greater. I often don’t provide my first idea. Instead you get my best one. There is a difference. Every situation has a story just waiting to be told.

Factor in the ever-evolving, improved palette of available plants and this spring’s story line is even more exciting. Take a look at the “Early Bird Sherbet” Dianthus (photo). Wow! Double cherry-colored fragrant flowers …now that is what happy looks like. This plant was not available three years ago, and we carry six other Dianthus selections that are just as cheerful! I gleefully spend my downtime researching the new varieties, sorting to identify the best, making these improvements available in our garden center.

Of course I don’t even bother with annuals. It only makes sense to put that effort into one of the better named varieties of improved sustainable flowering perennials. We make a point to include multi-faceted plants with multiple features. Improvements in shrubs, trees and perennials include brighter colors, sturdier stems, longer bloom time, more compact growth and lower maintenance. Dianthus will be in full flower before most folks have even begun to plant annual bedding plants. Honestly, why spend valuable time and money on flowers that start late, finish early and land on the compost heap at the end of one growing season? Friends don’t let friends plant annuals.

And planting success is easier than ever. Most trees and shrubs are now available as container-grown specimens. Even shade trees and flowering ornamentals are in convenient, manageable containers. Plus they are easier to fit into your vehicle and weigh less.

It’s not only easier for the homeowner but the trees are more likely to thrive. Field-grown trees and shrubs lose a significant portion of root as they’re dug out of the earth for transplant. It will take that plant a while to recover, sometimes years, and that’s old technology. A containerized shrub or tree keeps all of the roots as it moves from container to earth. Which is why container-grown plants not only survive but flourish when planted.

Our experience and vast inventory has allowed us to use our creativity and be more agile in managing the process. Start with the best possible plants grown and handled in optimum conditions. If you haven’t visited to explore the possibilities for your own home, maybe you owe it to yourself to do so. Let our experience enhance your experience.

Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or