Malnourished Opulence

Malnourished Opulence

Malcolm de Chazal was an agronomist turned poet and visionary. His words ring a deafening truth today.

As I drive across south Florida visiting clients at clubs, estates, golf courses all in affluent areas, my eye of observation deep in the landscape sees a panorama of mediocrity, an underlying sense of weakness and disease.


The contradiction of these well planned communities and compounds is the contrast between the impeccably maintained, gorgeous infrastructure and the declining, seemingly exhausted landscape.

One ocean front example is in Pompano Beach.  Along the “Hillsboro mile,” location and facilities are exquisite – detail and grandeur wrapped in quality construction.  However, the landscape is apparently the stepchild in this home, and she appears anorexic as well.  Lack of attention often is worse than negative attention, which is the case here.  Chlorosis and Brown Patch abounds.  Tropical color is fleeting.  When I do see an occasional flower here, there is no smile.  Unfortunately, similar distressing scenes repeat across our state – low fertility, malnourishment in the landscape, corresponding poor performing plants, and disease.


I understand the allure of cheap food and cheap fertilizer. Who hasn’t taken the fast food drive-thru?  It’s fast.  It’s cheap.  It fixes the problem…at least for now.  It’s the same for the landscape contractor.  I get it.  It’s all purpose one size fits all fertilizer.  It’s economical.  It’s simple.

But, like the drive-thru, a steady diet of empty, cheap food may satisfy short term but ultimately leads to increased incidence of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, bone loss, stroke, etc. etc.  Likewise, in the landscape we see weak, poor performing, low quality, nutrient deficient, diseased plants.


The problem occurs over the longer term and visibly manifests itself in weak, sick ugly plants.  Fertility effects on plant disease have been documented for well over 100 years.  It’s common sense, right?  If you’re healthy, you’re strong and less likely to fall ill.  In plants, diseases like pythium, rhizoctonia, and botrytis decrease with increased potassium.  Copper suppresses bacteria and fungi.  Calcium reduces various root rot diseases, etc., etc.

In our diet it’s dietary fiber, B vitamins, anti-oxidants, unprocessed foods, medium chain fatty acids, etc.  In plant diets similarly, it is providing all the necessary nutrients at the adequate rates in an available form at the right time.  This results in visually healthy, strong, minimally stressed disease-free plants.  All-purpose controlled release fertilizers cannot do this.


Real estate periodicals often have” capital improvement” articles and one of the two highest ROI’s always cited is landscape.  So why exactly have we decided to not keep our landscape healthy and beautiful?  Does it not make sense or cents?  Would we not look better as an industry… as a professional?  Are we doing anyone or anything any favors by lowering the bar and being penny foolish?  Is there any joy in junk landscape for anyone?

Here at BGI, quality is what excites us.  Visual beauty is our goal.  Product performance is how we get there.  Mediocrity is not a desired outcome.  So next time, drive by the drive-thru.  Go get the nutrient rich foods, not the empty ones.  Likewise, use BGI Premium Plant Foods to turn your landscapes into world class models.

Wouldn’t it be a great act and a wise notion to allow that flower, like Malcolm de Chazal said; to smile and laugh again, and we could all rejoice in all its’ splendor!

Take care,