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06 Feb 2018
Book: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The Secret Life of Trees

John Gilbride of Premier Landscaping gives additional insight on The Secret Life of Trees

“Reading this book gave me additional insight into the world of trees. This book provides knowledge most people do not know, great read.” – John Gilbride Premier Landscaping

The World of Trees Explored

Do Tree’s have a social network? A community unto themselves? Helping each other in times of crisis when in a drought against insects or other potential predators? In the book The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben examines a world not known to the average human. Trees talk, taste, and have a sense of community with the other tree species and sometimes even trees within their own grove.
“Scientists in the Harz mountains in Germany have discovered that this really is a case of interdependence, and most individual trees of the same species growing in the same stand are connected to each other through their roots systems. It appears that nutrient exchanged and helping neighbors in the times of need is the rule and this lease to the conclusion that forests are superorganisms with interconnections much like ant colonies.”

Facebook for Trees

Below are excerpts from the book these excerpts reveal the science behind how each tree communicates with each other. Species communicating with species warning each other for security and sustaining others in time of drought. “Together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer. Every tree, therefor, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible.”

A Security System for Trees

“The acacia trees that were being eaten gave off a warning gas (specifically, ethylene) that signaled to neighboring trees of the same species that a crisis was at hand. Right away, all the forewarned trees also pumped toxins into their leaves to prepare themselves. The giraffes were wise to this game and therefore moved farther away to a part of the savannah where they could find trees that were oblivious to what was going on.”
“When it comes to come species of insects, trees can accurately identify which bad guys they are up against. The saliva of each species is different, and trees can match the saliva to the insect. Indeed, the match can be so precise that trees can release pheromones that summon specific beneficial predators. The beneficial predators help trees by eagerly devouring the insects that are bothering them. For example, elms and pines call on small parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside leaf-eating caterpillars. As the wasp larvae develop, they devour the larger caterpillars bit by bit from the inside out.”

Where to purchase The Hidden Life of Trees

If you are interested in this book you can purchase it on Amazon search for The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World Hardcover By Peter Wohlleben (Author)
31 May 2017
John Marquard

Premier Landscaping Profile: John Marquard

A Jack-of-all Trades: John Marquard

A jack-of-all trades is someone who can do a little bit of everything, then there are those that can do a little bit of everything really well. John Marquard the operations manager for Premier Landscaping is one of those rare individuals.
John Marquard


Marquard started in the landscaping business 13 years ago at Complete Lawn-care. He was with Weedman learning about fertilization techniques for lawn-care. The last 3 years he has been with Premier Landscaping of Lakewood. “Once I started working with Premier Christmas Décor it just made sense to move full time with Premier and they made me Operations Manager.” Marquard said. “I really enjoyed my time with Weed-man, they were great, but it was just a good opportunity for me and my family.” Marquard has three children and a step-daughter, Ava 11, John 9, Tony and Lily is 5 years old.

Construction & Hardscape Knowledge

‘He has been instrumental in expanding our services, and his talent with woodworking is second to none. When it comes to our construction projects fences, patios, pergolas you name it he can build it. I know if we get a bid on that type of project, I have the confidence that it is in the right hands.’ Owner, John Gilbride of Premier Landscaping Lakewood. ‘When we hired him, it was a perfect fit because he already had fertilization knowledge from working at Weed-man. He had extensive training in grub control & frost burnt lawns; he has an expansive knowledge of turf care, he really knows his stuff when it comes to maintaining lawns.’ Gilbride said.

Customer Service

‘I like working with people.’ Marquard has great flexibility in regards to customer needs, whether it be an addition to a patio or an artistic vision that the client has, he is able to take it from a dream to reality. One of Marquards’ best attributes however is that he consistently over-delivers, the job he does exceeds the expectations of the client. “The project on West 44th was completely transformed from an empty lot into something great, lot of woodwork, built a fence, an arbor. Completely redid the whole place. Probably my favorite one we’ve done so far.’
Marquard has worked for a number of landscaping companies, there is something different about Premier though, “ John Gilbride is one of the most generous owners I have ever worked for. He always makes sure there is as much time for family as there is for work, he is pretty flexible in that regard.”

Field General

‘Marquard has done a great job of solidifying our organization, giving Premier a leader out in the field, & taking the pressure off our owner to pursue other endeavors.’ Said John Wellington, Director of Marketing of Premier landscaping of Lakewood. ‘He makes my job easy, knowing that he is out there I feel confident that every job will be done with quality and precision, it makes it much easier to sell.”

I kinda like it all.

John Marquard doesn’t like just one aspect of landscaping. ‘I like the jobs were you can see the immediate result, the transformation. Patios, fencing, woodworking, water features, lawn work, I kinda like it all to be honest with you.’
01 Feb 2017

Inception Lighting by Premier Landscaping

Brighten & Enliven – Illuminate your life with color-changing technology

Inception Lighting’s innovative product is the first practical and affordable application of color changing lighting for a home, business or city.
Inception Lighting

A spotlight on numbers that shine

Our lighting system has the potential to help homes, businesses and cities realize savings thought substantially lower energy consumption and less maintenance while protecting the environment at the same time. Pays for itself in 2 years – reduced energy bills help pay for the product purchase quickly – product requires little to no maintenance savings – a ten year warranty is available. 50,000 hours life expectancy – ling life’s span helps reduce carbon footprint requires minimal electricity to permeate, reducing energy usage – Long lasting lower-voltage lights that are reliable and sustainable. 87% power usage savings – low-voltage LED lights use 12% of the energy required by standard string lights – Efficient, quality lighting lowers energy costs uses only 60 watts of electricity for 200 feet of light. It’s the perfect solution for my house. We can now create the perdest ambiance year round. Everyone who comes to the house during the day says, “I thought you put lights on your house.” My response, I did – you just can’t see them.” I highly recommended this to every homeowner that enjoys being festival regardless of the season!
Gazebo lit with inception lighting

Custom Lighting that you control

Custom Lighting that you control Anywhere anytime Our easy –to-use control technology makes it simple to access your lighting remotely and control multiple buildings from one controller. The product’s high-tech control options enable you to customize colors and timer options as well as program light sequences. Our high-tech control solutions range from localized, on-site controllers to cloud-based solutions controlled from your computer or mobile device. Our wireless controller/ hub has cellular capabilities and runs on its own reliable network, enabling the internet of Things, Wireless controllers /hubs have a built-in light sensor and can be programmed to come on automatically at specific levels of darkness.

Manage Lighting for Multiple properties

Control the lighting for one or several buildings from a single device. Cloud based Control Solutions – operates on an independent, reliable network with a wireless/controller hub. Customize lighting from any device – Access and control lighting form any mobile device or computer – Schedule a year’s worth of holiday and event colors and LED light sequences at 255 levels of brightness Real-Time control from anywhere – Advanced control technology lets you operate the lighting from any location at any time. Whatever the season, whatever the reason We offer a localized, on-site controller that enables you to customize colors and schedule the lights for up to 12 months for every occasion, including Christmas, Halloween, independence Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and football game day. Inception Lighting’s color changing technology makes it easy to select static colors or color –changing scenes. You can create the perfect ambiance year-round without detracting from your home or building’s exterior. During the day, our product looks like a decorative molding, designed to line the top edge of a home or building. At night, our product provides bright, color changing lighting that communicates a holiday or occasion that is special to you.


Our lighting enhancement will brighten and highlight your building’s architecture. Improved night visibility will make employees and customers feel safer. The system eliminates the risks of frequently accessing the roof to replace and maintain traditional lights.
Commercial Inception Lighting

Experience color changing Lighting

Adding value to your business, city & house. Our sophisticated product takes exterior lighting to a whole new level with color-changing lighting theme choices and easy – to use controlled technology... Our lighting system can improve your space to sustainable, aesthetically appealing, and safer. With a one-time permanent installation, you can illuminates every occasion, event or holiday that is special to you. Sense of Community – communicate your interests or special occasion and create a uniform, nighttime aesthetic of color changing light that instills pride. Sustainability our lighting solution consumes 87% less electricity, lowering your carbon footprint. Aesthetics the LED are embedded in a decorative molding cover that is offered in several standard colors or they can be color matched to the trim of your home or building. Seamless installation – Our one time product installation is simple and can be customized to meet your needs.


Our lighting solution reduces your environmental footprint by lowering energy consumption, increasing your city’s sustainability while visually enhancing buildings and outdoor spaces. The lighting improvements will energize you city and make residents and visitors feel safer.
Commercial Inception lighting.


Illuminate your home’s exterior for any special occasion using our permanent LED lights that blend into existing architecture, making them barely visible during the day. You no longer have to worry about climbing a ladder to hang up and remove holiday lights.
Residential Inception Lighting - Breakfast Purple
Residential Inception Lighting
Contact Premier Landscaping today so we can tailor a quality lighting solution that will transform you home, business or city. Established in 2011, Inception lighting offers a permanently installed, architectural LED lighting system that provides discreet & forward-facing Lighting. Inceptionlighting.com Facebook : /inceptionlighting
14 Dec 2016

Christmas Traditions

There may be a couple levels of separation, but nearly every strange tradition we practice around the holiday season stem from Christianity, and further than that, even have a basis in Pagan religions and pre-Christian traditions. And really, do the connections to Christianity even matter? Christmas is the one time of year where everyone (or nearly so) is friendly, generous and gets along with each other, does it matter the inspiration? As a non-Christian, I believe we can all learn something from the Christmas spirit, regardless of race, religion, or creed.


In 1828, the American minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, brought a red-and-green plant from Mexico to America. As its coloring seemed perfect for the new holiday, the plants, which were called poinsettiasafter Poinsett, began appearing in greenhouses as early as 1830. In 1870, New York stores began to sell them at Christmas. By 1900, they were a universal symbol of the holiday.

Christmas Tree

The modern Christmas tree differs greatly from its roots; today, we decorate an everlasting, artificial construct with bright lights and dazzling ornaments, while traditionally, the tree was of course, real and more importantly, decorated with edibles such as apples and nuts. The tradition, as with that of the wreath, started with the elements symbolized by evergreens in pre-Christian winter festivals: immortality and fortitude. The evergreen was also known to have represented the same values to a variety of cultures, including the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. The worship of trees was also very common in European druidism and paganism. In Christian tradition, trees were often put up in December to serve the dual purpose of warding off the devil and allowing a perch for whatever birds still remained. Evergreen trees decorated with apples and wafers were also used in Christmas Eve plays during the Middle Ages to represent the tree from which Adam and Eve at the forbidden fruit. As for decoration, the first evidence for decorated Christmas trees comes from German craftsman guilds during the Renaissance. After the Protestant Reformation, trees enjoyed a surge of popularity among Protestant households as counterparts to the Catholic nativity scene.

Santa Claus

Many people know of Saint Nicholas being the basis of Santa Claus, but the practice of stocking-stuffing can be traced back to his charitable donations in the 4th century. Nicholas believed that childhood should be savored and enjoyed – but in a time where boys and girls younger than 10 had to work to support their families, this wasn’t always possible. He therefore gave what he could in homemade food, clothes, and furniture. The bishop even gave out oranges, which would have been very rare and expensive in Lycia, where he lived. The problem became where to leave these gifts so that the children would find them. According to legends, he then saw girls’ stockings hanging above the fireplace, and ol’ Saint Nick (to paraphrase) thought “Why the hell not?”. From then on, children would hang stockings up hoping that Saint Nicholas would visit them that night. Beyond St. Nick, the practice can be traced back to Scandinavian countries that still held their Pagan beliefs. Children would leave their shoes full of carrots, straw, or other similar foods for Odin’s mythic horse, Sleipnir. When Sleipnir ate the food, Odin would leave candy or other treats in their place. Most people know that Santa’s origins lie in Saint Nicholas, that generous Saint who gave presents to needy children. However, many other figures evolved into the conglomerate we call Santa Claus. For one, the Dutch Sinterklaas, who himself has basis with Saint Nick, was the main inspiration for Santa Claus. He is nearly identical to Santa: he wears red and white, knows if you’re naughty or nice, and has elf helpers referred to as Zwarte Piet. However, the legend takes on a much darker legend when one hears that the Zwarte Piet’s duties also include punishing naughty children with “jute bags and willow canes”. He also differs from Santa in the facts that he wears a bishop’s hat and comes on steam boat from Spain, rather than the North Pole. Another large influence into Santa’s design is the British Father Christmas, a figure developed in the 17th century as the embodiment of holiday joy and mirth. Odin also exists as a potential pagan inspiration for Santa Claus; he lead a hunting party with other gods on Yule, a German holiday at roughly the same time as Christmas; he rode Sleipnir, a legendary horse with 8 legs; like Santa, he has 8 reindeer; and he would fill children’s’ boots with candy, as mentioned earlier. The modern Santa Claus, contrary to popular belief, was not created by Coca-Cola, but has been in American folklore since the late 18th century. His name comes from an Americanization of Sinterklaas, and somewhere along the way, he lost his bishop’s hat. One could write an entire list on the origins of individual components of Santa’s story – suffice to say that they all have interesting origins, and I would suggest further reading.

Christmas Carols

Christmas carols grew out of the first Christmas hymns, which developed in 4th century Rome. While these Latin hymns were sung in church for generations, the first true carols developed in France, Germany, and Italy in the 13th century. These carols, written in the vernacular language of the area they were composed, were enthusiastically sung at community events and festivals. They were not composed specifically as Christmas carols, but rather as conglomerate holiday songs that were sung at many separate festivals and celebrations. Later on, the songs would become associated primarily with Christmas and sung in numerous churches. Carols in Protestant churches were much more numerous, since the Protestant movement encouraged the arts, especially music. The modern practice of going door-to-door caroling likely has something to do with the root word for carol, “carole” or “carula” which both mean a circular dance. The practice may have developed out of the public ceremonies that created the first carols.
Christmas, as most of us know, is the Christian tradition honoring the birth of Christ – though it is not celebrated solely as such in our modern society. To us, Christmas represents a time of joy, gift-giving, and family. Christmas as we know it evolved out of the Roman tradition of Saturnalia, a festival honoring their god of agriculture, Saturn, on the winter solstice.

Roman Holiday?

Due to the already-rampant celebration taking place on the date and the revering of light and the sun, it was a natural development to celebrate the birth of Christ on the same date. Many Roman writers give references to the date of December 25th and Christianity between the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and it is believed that the holiday was widely celebrated by Christians by the turn of the 4th century. Though Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ, we don’t know the exact date, or even the year of his birth. During Saturnalia, children would often be given gifts of wax dolls – an act with a rather macabre history itself; the dolls were used to represent human sacrifices that Rome had given to Saturn in the past as payment for good harvests. Boughs of certain trees and other plant matter were also a common gifts during Saturnalia, and were used to represent bounty and good harvests. The X-Mas abbreviation, the X stands for the Greek letter Chi, the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. Jesus’ name has also been abbreviated as XP, a combination of the first and second letters of the Greek word for Christ. From XP comes the labarum, a holy symbol in Orthodox Christianity that represents Jesus. The term X-mas has been used since the 16th century, though it gained prominent usage in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the modern world, X has been taken to be used as an abbreviation for any word with Christ or the “krys” sound in it, even in words which have no etymological connection. Chrysanthemum, for example, is sometime shortened to “xant” on florist’s signs, and crystal has sometimes been abbreviated as “xtal”.
*Excerpts for this story were researched from the internet.
14 Oct 2016

Gourd Birdhouse

Gourd Birdhouse

Gourd Birdhouse
Gourds make great birdhouses, and the time spent creating one is a worthwhile investment. Cured hard-shell gourds are almost as tough as plywood. And they will last up to 30 years if properly coated with a preservative and handled with a little care.
Gourds have been used to make purple martin houses for centuries. Native Americans used to hang them to attract martins to their settlements. Today, martins depend on people to supply them with houses and gourds. If you live east to the Rocky Mountains, you may want to give the matins a hand.
These basics gourd birdhouses are popular with the birds and purple martin “landlords’. The best part, there’s not limit to the number you can produce and hang right in your yard. We’ve heard of one martin enthusiast who puts up and maitnam more than 600 housed every year!
Other birds will nest in a gourd, too. Just customized it with the proper-size entrance hole for the species your’re trying to attract and place it in the right habitat.

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Gourd Birdhouse - What you will need?

Heres what you will need –

One hard-shell gourd, also known as a bottle gourd, also known as a bottle gourd or birdhouse gourd.
Bleach (for disinfectant)
Fine steel wool
Wood preservative or copper sulfate
Oil-based white enamel paint
Plastic-coated copper wire, 24 inches long
Face mask
Recommended Tools
Power Drill
2-1/8 – inch hole saw or keyhole -saw

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Gourd Birdhouse - Step-by-Step

1. Harvest a hard-shell gourd when the vine has withered. Be careful to leave the stem attached. It’s best to cut the stem with a pruning shears so you don’t bruise it.

A good purple martin gourd has a diameter of about 8 to 13 inches. Wash it thoroughly in water, rince in a solution of 1 part disinfectant (bleach works fine) and 10 parts water, and dry it with a towel.
2. Hang the ground in a sunny spot or place it on the newspaper in a warm dry spot (such as an attic or basement) for 3 to 6 months. If the gourd is lying on a flat surface, be sure to frequently turn it.
The gourd will begin to mold as it dries - don’t throw it out! This is a natural part on the curing process. Gourds dried indoors will grow the most mold and should be wiped clean frequently with a the same concentration (1 to 10) of disinfectant you used for cleaning. However, discard any gourds that become soft or wrinkled.
3. Check if the gourd is dry by giving it a good shake- if the seeds rattle, you can begin making a birdhouse.
4. Soak the gourd for 15 minutes in hot soapy water, then scagpe it with a dull knife to remove the outer skin and mold. Scrub the gourd in the water with fine steel wool. Rinse it well and aqllow it to thoroughly dry.
5. To locate the entrance hole, hold the gourd by its stem between your index finer and thumb and let it hang. Mark a cent point along the outer most part of the curve so the hole faces straight out-
Not towards the sky or the ground. The hole should measure 2-1/8 inches and can be easily and quickly drilled with the proper –sized hole saw as pictured above. (Be sure to wear a face mask)
You can also use a keyhole saw to cut the entrance by hand. If you do, it’s best to cut the hole immediately after washing the gourd, while its still wet.


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Gourd Birdhouse - Step-by-Step Continued

6. Make seven drainage holes in the bottom of the gourd about 2 inches apart using a 5/16 – inch drill bit.
7. With the same bit, drill two sets of holes about 2 inches from the top of the gourd’s neck for hanging and ventilation. One set should be drilled perpendicular to the entrance hole and the other in the line with it. (You’ll only use one set of holes for hanging. Choose the pair that will allow the entrance hole to face the most open direction.)
8. Remove seeds and membrane through the entrance hole with a long-handled metal spoon, screwdriver or a wire coat hanger (wear a face mask). If this is difficult, soak the gourd in water for several hours. The inside does not have to be completely clean.
9. Dip the gourd in a wood preservative for 15 minutes, weighing it down with a brick. Then remove the gourd and hand it up to dry for several days. For cheaper alternatives, dissolve 1 pound of copper sulfate (available at garden centers and farm-supply stores) in 5 gallons of warm water and dip the gourd as instructed above. Wear rubber gloves while handling it.
Gourds need to be retreated and repainted every few years. So whatever preservative you use, store the solution in a covered plastic bucket for reuse, but keep it away from children and pets.
10. Sand the gourd smooth and paint with an oil-based primer. Allow it to dry.

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Gourd Birdhouse - The Finish

11. Paint the gourd house with white exterior enamel paint with a nylon brush. (Do not use water-based latex paint because it will peel.) Apply two two coats Be careful not to clog drainage holes.
12. When dry, you can hang your gourd (you’ll need 4 to 6 gourds to attract martins) from a 24-inch plastic –coated copper wire. Thread the wire through two of the holes directly across from each other and hang it from a support line or on a specially made gourd rack. The gourd will swing, making it less attractive to nest competitors, such as starlings.
Hang the gourd 10-15 feet high, with the entrance hole facing an open area.
13. In late August or early September, after the martins depart for their winter homes in the tropics, take the gourd house down for cleaning. Break up nests with the hangle of a wooden spoon and shake out the contents. Then store until early spring (the martins return as early as February in the deep South) in a spot inaccessible to rodents.
Your gourd house will be ready to use again, but you might want to prepare a few more over winter, because the martins will probably bring along a few more friends!

This story is from the book Backyard Projects by Birds & Blooms Books.

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