Wheel & Barrow Landscape as it stands today is actually the second coming of this ambition. In 1999 I opened Wheel & Barrow Landscape, 1.0 in my hometown of Plymouth Wisconsin. I operated this business from 1999 until the fall of 2002. Although the business was gaining traction and successful, something inside me said you’ve got a few other fish to fry. So I rolled the dice and trusted that inner voice.
Wheel & Barrow Landscape 1.0 was an incredible experience for me. It set the table for me professionally and of course as a gardener and landscape designer. It taught me to be organized, on time, and what it means to give people my word and put my name on something. It taught me how to be a professional.
I was very fortunate to have some good people around me to help me along the way. Of course my Mom was always in my corner; in fact it was her that came up with the name Wheel & Barrow Landscape. This was a good idea, because I was considering naming the business Pharm Boy Landscape. And that probably would have been remembered like a bad haircut in a senior picture.
I also had an excellent mentor, Steve Nowicki the owner of Moraine Gardens in Plymouth Wisconsin. Steve taught me about a lot of things. He shared his plant knowledge, how to build things, and most important how to figure things out. If it wasn’t for him, Wheel & Barrow Landscape 1.0 would have never gotten off the ground. To be honest, Wheel & Barrow Landscape 2.0 would not have either. Steve’s willingness to mentor me instilled the confidence I needed to start a business at the age of 24. The lessons learned operating Wheel & Barrow Landscape 1.0 gave me the confidence to do all the things I would do between closing that business and beginning this one.
Wheel & Barrow Landscape 1.0 also gave me the opportunity to work with some great clients. I received a number of letters of recommendation during that time. Since dissolving Wheel & Barrow Landscape 1.0 in 2002 I have lived in Montana, Wyoming, Maryland, Beijing China and now Oregon. But there is one letter of recommendation that has traveled with me. It was from a woman named Mary Richter also of Plymouth Wisconsin. I had done a planting installation in some raised beds she and her husband had meticulously designed and installed. She was a joy to work with so I asked if she would be so kind to write me a letter of recommendation. On June 20, 2002 I received the following in the mail.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I could say it 1000 times and feel it wouldn’t be too many.
How lucky am I to be the benefactor of your gardening genius and desire to get “every little thing just exactly the way I wanted it?”
Your determination to finish my perennial garden in time for our double graduation party last year was way beyond the point people usually go. The extreme heat of last June did not stop either you or your tireless crew from turning my backyard into a picture from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Even when the plants we thought would work were not available, you came up with something that was even better.
Every day when I walk through my garden I think of you and how determined you were for me to have my dream become a reality no matter what came along.
Your suggestions were always with my interests at heart and with the deepest sincerity and concern for the end result.
I have referred you to many of my friends already and would not hesitate to continue to do so. Your work is of the highest quality. Your obvious love for creating the unique us truly evident.
I kept this letter because it was sincere and authentic. It also served as a reminder that I am lucky to have an ability to create in the garden. And I was lucky to have someone notice and take the time to express that they noticed my talent. I called Mary before writing this to get her permission to use it on the web. Eleven years later she did not hesitate.
So now I come full circle, I have fried a number of the proverbial fish I needed to. Of course there were a few that got away, and there are a number of fish that are yet to be caught. But one thing is for certain, I am very excited to embark on Wheel & Barrow Landscape 2.0. It is my passion and to follow it is the right thing to do.