Monet Moments

Sollecito: “Sometimes an impressionistic Monet moment manifests itself.”

A farmer once told me he figured he had about 60 opportunities in his lifetime to produce a perfect crop. Each year learning from his previous practices in pursuit of that goal, building on one experience to improve the next.

That concept has traction.

Our talents and knowledge can and should continue to be put to good use.

Every day, like you, I am actively writing my life story. And I am sometimes pleasantly surprised by moments like a fish rising or a frog breaking the surface of still water.

I am attracted to water. I find it fascinating that Earth’s water is pretty much all connected. The only disconnected water is water held in a vessel. And in my line of work, I really enjoy the process of planting along the margins of ponds. Although I have the advanced specialized DEC certification to chemically treat undesired aquatic weeds, my preferred method of maintaining pond quality is environmental: first add the correct vegetation to filter and clean entering surface water, then add oxygenating or surface-cooling plants for temperature moderation, and finally introduce the suitable fish species to control, or even devour, the undesirable water weeds.

I am observing that bodies of water such as ponds reach warmer temperatures earlier in the season and hold them longer. This creates the ideal opportunity for water weeds to take over. Depending on the species of flora I aim to control, I will select and invite the appropriate fish species to the breakfast buffet. Fathead minnows control mosquito larva. I will install a windmill and add bottom-feeding channel catfish to keep the bottom muck from overtaking the oxygen needs of healthy water. Finally, sterile tetraploid carp do a fine job of consuming exotic weeds. After adding the proper ingredients, the only thing left to do is wait and see if they worked as planned.

For this nature-loving client, I utilized all three methods.

Sometimes an impressionistic Monet moment manifests itself. Colors and textures blend and blur until everything is crystal clear again. This was one of those days. Stocking the pond, fish freely entering their new home, our client photo-documenting the enchanting event. The fish surveyed their new surroundings, eyeing the inviting and tantalizing aquatic weeds as they entered. It was cathartic.

And sometimes, it seems like the world does just literally stop, even at this time of changing seasons. You identify the moment; you inhale it; you can almost taste it; and then it vanishes. Look for those Monet moments in your world, a freeze-frame opportunity like at the end of a great film. Moments that reflect your place in the world, who you want to be, and yield a lasting memory.

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