Landscapers’ loving care keeps the community beautiful.
The old saying that “April showers bring May flowers” doesn’t tell the full story of why The Villages’ landscapes are blooming in such wonderful array and color this month. Mother Nature is only partly responsible.
The trees, shrubs, and flowers that decorate The Villages’ traffic circles, beautify our walkways and streets, and decorate other public areas are mainly the work of the District Property Management Landscape Department managed by Mike Harris and supported by more than 30 DPM staff and team members. In addition, Mike uses hundreds of contract personnel to handle the planting, pruning, weeding, and trimming work.
Deciding on the proper year-round landscaping plan requires lots of hands-on knowledge of the maintenance needs of a wide range of plant varieties. That maintenance includes when they should be planted, how best to feed and look after them, and when certain plants should be removed and replaced by other varieties.
Even in Florida’s flower-friendly climate, keeping landscapes bright and healthy is a big task for Mike’s crews that goes on without let-up all year long. For one thing, there are many plants that won’t stay strong and glorious in all seasons; some require more tender, loving care than others.
Mike explains that the beds are changed out a minimum of four times a year. “There are hundreds of species of flowers, trees, and shrubs displayed throughout The Villages,” he says. “Our goal is always to use material that is proven to be successful in this area.”
Mike has worked in The Villages since 1999, first with a landscape installation contractor until October 2015, when he accepted his current position with District Property Management. He manages all aspects of new construction and landscape maintenance operations for the developer as well as maintenance operations for District Property Management and Commercial Property Management.
“We install approximately 1.6 million plants each year,” he adds. An unofficial estimate of the size of The Villages’ landscaping budget, to include labor costs, puts it at many millions of dollars, and Mike’s responsibility also includes caring for the community’s 12 championship golf courses.
The beauty of The Villages’ landscaping is one of the prime attractions that brings new homeowners here in droves. Current sales data show that more than 20 people move into The Villages every day.
As a horticultural paradise, The Villages also is an inspiration to everyone living here, making them want their homesites to be part of the splendid landscapes that delight the eyes and enrich the soul everywhere you look in “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.”