The Amish have a wonderful custom. On a beautiful summer morning, twenty or so families gather together and they build a barn. While the men swing hammers and hoist beams, the women and children prepare a bountiful meal. It’s all done against a picture-perfect, bucolic background of farm fields filled with ripening wheat and puffy white clouds.
Yesterday morning I participated in a similar event. Well, there were a few differences. For one, the temperature was 13 degrees and there was a stiff wind that cut through you like a knife. The ground was frozen solid with large patches of ice and the bountiful meal consisted of donut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts. And, the structure was a greenhouse rather than a barn. Other than that, it was exactly the same.
Perhaps I should explain.
Paul Miskovsky is a landscaper of large repute who lives and works out on the Cape (Massachusetts alone has two ‘capes’ and America has hundreds, but around here, when you say, ‘the Cape’, you mean Cape Cod, but that’s a different topic.). Paul is also a friend and, if he asks you to help ‘pull plastic’ for a project, you don’t ask what the weather will be like. You just inquire what time you should be there. The project got put off twice because of the miserable weather that has plagued the region but, on Saturday morning, everything was in readiness.
You may be wondering at this point why a landscaper needs a greenhouse. The reason is: flower shows. Paul has historically exhibited at flower shows in the region and, to do so requires a lot of trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials, all in perfect bloom. Moreover, for every square foot of the aforementioned plant material, you had best have two more in reserve. That’s because the birch trees may or may not be fully leafed out and perhaps one rose bush in three will have the look you want. So, if you have a thousand-square-foot exhibit at the Boston Flower & Garden Show, you had best plan on three thousand square feet of plant material.
It’s probably the only time I’ll ever be asked to build a greenhouse. But it’s a good thing to have on my curriculum vitae – just in case an Amish crew needs an extra pair of hands with a barn.