Why We Save the Bees

As landscapers, it’s not uncommon to freak out when we come across a beehive while clearing brush, or receive a call about swarming bees from an anxious customer. The media loved the Africanized bee scare of the ’70s and Hollywood capitalized on it in The Swarm a 1978 horror film about the killer bee invasion of Texas. Fear of bees even has a name—Apiphobia. So why, with so much fear of bees, does Jenkins Landscape try so hard to save them?

Honeycomb found during tree removal

The bee population is in decline. Since around 2006, bee decline in the U.S. hovers around 30% every winter season. Since 1945, domesticated honeybees have declined over 55%. Habitat loss, pesticides, and other agricultural practices are responsible. Bees work hard to pollinate plants and flowers, so the decline has had a negative effect on food sources. In fact, one out of every three bites of the food we eat depends on bees and other pollinators.

Humans must choose to protect bees. When a Jenkins crew runs across a hive, or if called out to remove a hive, we call a beekeeper.

Comb removed from fallen tree

The lifecycle of each bee is short, yet purposeful. Bees work together as a colony to build a hive in which the cycle of birth, life and death are at the core of their existence. There are three types of bees: the male is a drone; females are worker bees, and only one bee is the Queen. The Queen Bee larva is fed Royal Jelly, a creamy goop with a high sugar content. Once an adult, she mates with one male drone, gathering millions of sperm. It’s no wonder that after mating, the male promptly dies. 

A young worker bee’s first job is housekeeper, constantly cleaning the cells, nursing the larva, producing honey, storing pollen, and building and repairing the cells and building honey comb. Twenty days later they move up to the exhausting job of forager, finding and bringing back to the hive water for drinking, pollen and nectar as food and to make honey, and resin from tree buds to seal the hive. After about 500 miles of flight, they are worn out and die.

While foraging, the bees do a “waggle dance” to let other worker bees know where the best nectar is located. It could be your garden!

Comb transferred to bee relocation box

The “swarming” that alarms so many of us happens when the bee colony outgrows its home. The queen and 30-60% of the hive leave to seek a new home. Before heading out, they fatten up for the journey to a point that they can’t sting to protect themselves. At this point, they are quite vulnerable to predators, and the least likely to sting. The best approach is to leave them alone, but it’s also the best time for a beekeeper to “catch” them.

The hive that was abandoned is now the scene of some very peculiar goings on. A new Queen emerges and goes from queen cell to queen cell, stinging her sisters to death. It’s the way of the bees, giving both the old and new hives the best opportunity to survive. 

Bees adopt quickly to new hive for transfer

We want to save the bees because your plants and flowers depend on the bees for pollination. Without bees, wasps and other pollinators, your landscape trees, bushes, plants and flowers will be unable to transfer male and female plant parts. Can you do it yourself? Yep. Spoiler alert: you will need a paintbrush.

BEE NOTES

Some people, especially children, can be allergic to bee venom and a single sting could trigger a serious immune system reaction. We take this seriously and never recommend anything that could cause harm to a human.

Want to help feed the bees? Plant Sugar Palms, Firebush, Spanish Needle, PowderPuff, Loquat, and African Blue Basil. And talk with us before using any pesticides on your landscape.

Need a hive relocated or removed? Please call us. We have great recommendations for beekeepers and may be able to make relocation arrangements for you.

Working with Landscape Architects: the Difference

As homeowners become more discerning about their outdoor living preferences in south Florida, they expect authentic custom design, exceptional beauty and value, and the promise that the job will be done right. 

However, the biggest reason that we lose jobs is price. Since we are known for pricing jobs fairly and accurately, are FNGLA- and ISA-certified, and have over 65 years of knowledge and experience, why is this?  

You know the drill. Landscape architects compete for jobs with a flat-fee design proposal they hope will meet and exceed client expectations. Their bid has an acceptable profit margin that includes the cost of landscape contractors to execute the plan.

Contractors never intend to underdeliver, but to keep profit margins acceptable, low-bidding contractors are forced to cut corners, failing to match what they specified. For example, a landscape design calling for 30-foot trees can now afford only 16-foot trees — or trees of the right size but of lower quality. Plants delivered to the site are smaller in size or dull instead of colorful.

In all cases, underbidding means under-delivering. While the Landscape Architect remains focused on exceeding client expectations, a low-bidding Landscape Contractor must focus on cutting costs to meet your expectations.

 Jupiter Island Club, Photo credit Loulie Walker Events, NY (Pinterest)

From our earliest years, Jenkins adopted the design philosophy of renown New York landscape architects and designers of the Jupiter Island Club, Innocenti & Webel. We committed to “quality design rooted in a clear understanding the constraints and opportunities of an existing site. Existing vegetation, soils, hydrology, habitat, heritage, and regulations must all be taken into account. Further, these must all be integrated with the client’s design preferences, sensibilities, and budget.” 

If we are wrong in our choices, we don’t blame our poor decision on the architect, but instead work to fix design errors at our expense. Because we maintain what you design, we offer design suggestions in advance to “create thoughtful landscapes of lasting beauty while enjoying the process and the people with whom we work.”

Learn more about us, our history, and work at jenkinslandscape.com

Team Hyjenx

Team Hyjenx in the Bahama Islands

Hurricane Dorian was the most powerful tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas, and certainly the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history. Those of us on Florida’s Atlantic Coast prepared for the worst, yet were spared. This is the story of Team Hyjenx and the roles that Jenkins Landscape and friends played to bring hope and relief to small cays of the Bahama Islands.

On Sunday, September 8, at 11:00 p.m. the National Hurricane Center issued the final advisory on Hurricane Dorian. But what it left behind is a terrifying story of perseverance, survival and hope.

After Dorian squatted over the Bahamas for days, getting aid to survivors was a logistical nightmare. Roads, airports, communications grids, and electrical services were all down. In spite of these challenges, the outpouring of support from the citizens all along the coast of South Florida was truly inspiring. Jenkins Landscape, under the direction of Landscape and Irrigation Manager Steven Jenkins and friends formed Team Hyjenx. Together, they made multiple crossings on Jenkins’ boat Hyjenx to deliver over almost 10,000 pounds of supplies to Grand Cay, Turtle Cay, Abaco and other smaller islands unable to get immediate airlift support.

Grand Cay, 14 September 2019

Video credit: Hyjenx Team member Daniel Massey.

We cannot thank enough the employees, friends, and residents of our area that so generously donated supplies, and the bravery of the Team Hyjenx crew that faced uncertainty on the water crossing and at the docks.

Abaco Cay, 27 September 2019

Video credit: Hyjenx Team member Daniel Massey.

Over sixty boats from South Florida made the crossing, none for the accolades. Similar to Team Hyjenx, they were simply determined to support those who took the hit from the storm that may well have been ours. 

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.

Charles Dickens

Danger! Hiring Unlicensed Landscapers in Florida

Did you know that in Florida, hiring an unlicensed landscape contractor can be illegal? According to State law, if an unlicensed landscape contractor uses pesticides on your property or has been hired to do hardscape or softscape work, the state may issue a cease and desist notice to stop. Worse yet, you may find yourself 100% responsible for any damages or worker injuries since uninsured contractors rarely, if ever, carry their own insurance.

If you have a dispute about the quality of the work, the methods and materials used, the plants, mulch, rock and other material used for your garden and lawn, you have no recourse except to hire a lawyer. 

What kind of landscape work requires a Florida license?

  • General garden and yard maintenance does not require a license—unless you want to use pesticides. A commercial applicator license is required to apply pesticides as a business service to residential and other properties.
  • Landscape Designers who mow, trim, plant and maintain yards require only a business license from the State of Florida, but they can’t use pesticides without at least a certification from FDACS.
  • Landscape Architects who actually contour the land for proper drainage, build or install walls and fences, install and maintain irrigation systems, or build structures require a license. 

What many homeowners don’t know is that, according to Florida Statute 455.228, if you knowingly hire an unlicensed contractor to perform any landscape job that requires a license you become the general contractor! Unlicensed contractors tend to operate without general liability and/or workers’ compensation insurance. This could mean that if they, or their employees, are injured while doing work on your property, you are responsible and could even be sued by the unlicensed contractor — or by anyone working for him. It’s worthwhile to note that contractor unwilling or unable to pay for licensing fees tend to use below-par equipment and deliver shoddy service.

You received this newsletter because you value the Jenkins commitment to education and proper licensing procedures. If you know someone who may benefit from this information, please feel free to share.

Why We Have the Best Landscape Employees

When a Jenkins vehicle pulls up to a work site, it’s not the Jenkins truck with the familiar green and black logo that we want our customers to remember — it’s the Jenkins worker!  Whether holding a clipboard or a rake, we want them to remember a worker that was courteous and that actively listened to any special instructions; that was respectful of a homeowner’s privacy; was professional, experienced and knowledgeable, and that clearly had pride in his or her work.

To be all these things and to perform our jobs consistently takes commitment. It means having leadership and organizational skills at supervisory levels, and active listening skills, honesty, ambition, and a strong work ethic at every level.

We take great pride in being a Treasure Coast family-owned, advancement-oriented employer that puts the personal and professional growth of our workforce as Job #1. It’s our most important investment and it’s offered to all Jenkins employees. In fact, as a member organization of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA), our employees hold over fifty combined certifications and licenses.

Jenkins people

At the end of the day, it isn’t our trucks, website, or Facebook posts, or our magazine articles, or even our Martin County community volunteerism to which we attribute our steady growth and outstanding customer retention. It’s our employees who show up to work early, actually like and support one another, participate in company events, keep their trucks and tools clean, and smile a lot. 

We believe that we have the best landscape employees because we understand that they spend more time with us than with their families, so we strive to make make work pleasant. And because we want them to stay with us, we pay for their education in the landscape industry. It’s a formula that’s worked well here in South Florida for many decades, and one that is likely to go unchanged for the future.

Landscape Contractor That Flies Trees

What do the most successful Florida Landscape Architects and Luxury Home Builders have in common? Eventually, they need a good Landscape Contractor.

We know that as good architects and builders you live and breath design functionality and sustainability. You place great value on aesthetics, but not at the expense of the environment. The innovation and beauty you design on paper deserves to be fully realized. And when seeking a landscape contractor to bring your design to fruition, you prefer one that is licensed…and then you deserve more.

Jenkins Landscape is a licensed contractor in Florida with over 60 years of continuous service, guided by three generations of the Jenkins family, two of whom continue to be fully engaged in all aspects of the business.

We contract with Landscape Architects and Luxury Home Builders looking for a reputable and reliable contractor with the experience, manpower, and equipment to do the job. We grade and prepare soil, relocate mature trees and plant new ones, install lawns and shrubs, and construct the winding paths, stone walls, and gurgling brooks that transform a piece of ground into an aesthetically pleasing green space.

Jenkins employees combined hold more than 50 certifications and licenses from FNGLA, ISA, and GI-BMP. We are landscape designers, installers, pest and irrigation experts, tree planters and mature tree movers. We hold our employees to high standards of safety in all areas of garden management services.

As employers, we value a good work ethic, and we have a culture of safety and education. 

Because so much work goes into creating the vision, at the very minimum, the landscape contractor that you choose to build that vision should be licensed…that they are one of the best-equipped mature tree movers and re-planters is a bonus! To see us in action, click the link and scroll down to watch a tree fly!

Summer Weeds Gone Wild

After weeks of early rain, the summer of 2019 turned south Florida as green as it gets. For those with newly planted lawns, seedlings took off like a NASCAR at Daytona. Flowers bloomed and made new seeds, as did every other living plant…especially weeds. And because of the Roundup Debate worldwide, those aggressive weeds are winning the day.

The debate began in 1974 when Monsanto packaged the molecule “glyphosate” as the active ingredient in a new product called Roundup. It quickly became an overnight sensation in the herbicide world because it attacks and kills a weed’s roots. Twenty years later, Farm Chemicals Magazine said that it “helped change the face of agriculture.” And why not? No product other than glyphosate kills the root; alternatives only kill the leaves and flowers, but not the root. No root, no weed. 

When Monsanto’s patent expired in 2000, other companies throughout the world began to produce their own version of Roundup. Because chemicals must be safe, glyphosate was routinely tested and evaluated. Some studies said glyphosate presented a “low risk” to human health, and others said it’s cariogenic. Whether glyphosate causes cancer is still being disputed — in the labs and in the courts.

So how do we fight weeds without using glyphosate? Here are few tricks any homeowner can use: 

  • block light with deeper mulch around landscape plants.
  • prevent weed seed production and spread by keeping landscape beds clean. 
  • weed early and often, before weeds grow strong root systems and before they go to seed.
  • use herbicide alternatives to wilt the leaves of weeds and slow seed production.
  • manually remove the weeds before they go to seed.
  • use post-emergence herbicides to kill to the top of weed on contact.
  • let Jenkins Landscape’s crews do it for you.

Jenkins Landscape is doing everything in our power to reduce our use of Glyphosate to zero and are actively testing alternative products. We will stay on top of the Roundup health issues and share significant updates with our readers as they are published. In the meantime, for all our valued customers, weed control will be top-of-mind this summer as we continue to design, plant and maintain beautiful landscapes.

The Power of Plants

— Good reasons why any time is the right time to green up your South Florida yard —

Here’s a challenge! Step outside, take a deep breath, then thank the millions of plants that filter out dust and pollutants from the air you breathe.

Shade trees and windbreaks reduce energy consumption, helping you pay less for electricity and reducing your carbon footprint. Landscaping adds 7 to 15% value to real estate and speeds property sales. Plants provide habitat for wildlife that support our ecosystem, including songbirds, butterflies and bees.

Green lawns are up to 30 degrees cooler than pavement and produce a moderating effect for our environment. Roots and tree canopies stabilize soil and control erosion. Strategically placed trees and shrubs add privacy and reduce traffic noise.

Purple Orchid in Bloom

The filtering effect of vegetation also helps produce cleaner water in rivers and streams, reduces runoff and the need for water retention areas.

On the human side, gardening as a hobby produces health-related benefits through exercise. Beautiful landscapes encourage feeling of calm, relaxation, and well-being. Studies how that plants stimulate healing as well as intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. Step outside again, take a look around. What can you do to encourage more green in your environment?