Hope Springs Eternal

By Scott Ruth, landscape manager, Masonic Village ElizabethtownMasonic Village Formal Gardens

March 20th

This is the infamous date we are all longing for – the official start of SPRING!!

In my 45 years of maintaining landscapes, gardens and grounds, the winter of 2014 is one that will not soon be forgotten. We have had more snow and colder temperatures in winters past, but not with the frequency and duration that “old man winter” threw at us these past three months.

Since January 1st, we have experienced snow or rain on 32 of the first 62 days of the year. The totals here in Elizabethtown reached 33.9” of the white “stuff” and 3.55” of the liquid variety.

The February 6th ice and snow event caused our Landscape Department the most anxiety. The physical damage was obvious on nearly every part of the campus with fallen trees, littered limbs and dangling braches around every turn. In total, we lost 43 trees and the number is still rising as damage assessments continue. Twenty-three of those trees we deem to be “prominent” pieces of our landscape here at Masonic Village.

LandscapeThe staff will work diligently this spring to try to get them replaced with as suitable as specimens as we can find. Nearly 1,000 hours have been dedicated so far this winter, strictly to clean up from that one day event on February 6th. Damages have exceeded $150,000 and will also continue to rise as corrective pruning continues through the next several months.

Tips for your own outdoor spring cleaning:

  • If you have branches or shrubs on your property that have been bent by the snow and ice DO NOT try to pull them out of the snow cover. Allow the snow to melt and the branches to rebound on their own.
  • The silver lining of all the snow cover we experienced this winter? It has acted as a blanket to protect the tender root systems of our plants, as well as, replenish the soil moisture for a rapid recovery in spring plant growth. Before replanting, wait and see if your plants recover.
  • If plants need to be replaced, any time the proper plants arrive at the local nurseries, it is safe to replant.

Speaking of our staff, I would like to take this opportunity to personally THANK all of them for their tireless dedication this entire winter for their snow removal efforts. The numerous events and numbing temperatures have pushed patience to the brinks, but not once, without exception, did any one of them walk away from the work in front of them. Truly, truly a great group of people! We are all fortunate to have them working with us and for us here at Masonic Village.

Hope springs eternal … anxiously waiting for the third week in March!!


One thought on “Hope Springs Eternal

  1. Thank you Mr. Ruth for your dedication and leadership here at The Masonic Village. There seems to be little down time in your department. Each season seems to bring it’s challenges and beauty. I am enjoying our daffodils and tulips that popped up at our new cottage. I am also looking forward to the waterfall/fountain at the Rose Garden in the near future. I overheard a resident the other day refer to the village as “Paradise”. I happen to agree. A&E Saylor

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