Letting Go

By Jim Sollecito

Iknow a lot. And that’s because I have made so many mistakes. As I am an aggressive learner, I try to learn as much as possible. I am hungry for knowledge. If you’re not moving forward, you’re not just standing still, you are falling behind. Near-constant improvement means letting go of what we used to know.

No matter how far you have traveled in the wrong direction, you can always turn around. As I visit people at their homes they often try to explain why they have continued to live with landscape mistakes instead of just pruning at ground level and starting fresh. And this brings to my mind … fly fishing. Because a fish that I pursue, fight and land will be let go immediately, free to be a living, growing, thriving fish.

As I visit homeowners they often ask, “What is wrong with this?” Or “What can I do about that?’’ By this time the plant has often lost the ability to be tall, bark and handsome. More than several times a day I have to balance whether a particular plant just needs more time and nourishment or if it should be sacrificed so resources can be redirected toward a plant that has greater potential. My interest is in the future because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.

Listening to certain friends who are once again single, I am told the person they married was not the person they divorced. I also suspect that feeling was probably mutual.

Anyway, we are surrounded by people and things that can age like fine wine or could turn to vinegar, if not well nurtured.

My professional goal is for you to live in a natural environment with at least one element that comforts, refreshes, thrills or brings you joy.

As we celebrate our 50th year in business, I am thrilled that I can still make that magic happen. And it is something special watching the transformation between seasons in Central New York.

Winter ‘22-’23 was different. Cornell called it a “Zone 6 Winter” where most of us live in Zone 5 or even 4. So you would think it would have been easier on the plants than it was. One contributor is lack of snow cover which buffers roots. And because it actually was pretty rough, I recommend adding a few liquid organic products now to help those root systems.

So be the Confident Captain of your yard. Look at that questionable plant in your landscape. If it were for sale, would you buy it? If yes, help it thrive. If not, then change it out. Don’t be afraid to let go of things that served their purpose. If you hold too tightly to some things, you are just wasting energy that might be better used on something else. If something doesn’t add to your life, maybe it doesn’t belong there. Because, at the end of the day, it’s about moving forward with intent and knowing when to let go.

Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in New York State. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at
315-468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.