When Branden Donley was in college, he set out with his push mower to earn some cash tidying lawns around the neighborhood. His friend Sam Johnson began pitching in, and though the two were just 18 and 19 years old, their success soon made them realize they could turn their small operation into a full-time business.
That was more than 20 years ago. Branden still runs the business, but today, he shares his love of creating beautiful yards with a staff of more than 40 people. The crew is dedicated to manicuring lawns with services that range from mowing grass and pulling weeds to complete landscaping overhauls. Rather than find a compatible bear to hibernate with during winter months, the crew turns its focus from greenery to snow removal, using its fleet of snowplow trucks to clear commercial parking lots, roads, and paths.
Certified by Tree Care Industry Association and winner of the association’s 2011 award for Outstanding Consumer Communication, Branch Tree Service, Inc. earns arboreal attention for its professional tree-care services and relationships with tree owners. Since 1983, the tree team has taken on a wide array of projects to ensure the health and vitality of residential and commercial landscape. The outfit’s landscape-beautification service keeps greenery aesthetically pleasing, and the pruning and tree-surgery service wards off overgrowth and makes daily strides toward helping trees walk again. In addition to keeping landscapes lush and leafy, the outfit can restore a down-on-its-luck yard to former attractiveness through its property-restoration services, which include pest management, growth stabilizers, and trunk injections.
The experienced bloomsmiths at Delux Floral Boutique bundle fresh and charming posies into vivid, artful bouquets. One dozen long-stemmed red roses, adorned with ribbon, swaddle themselves in paper or a box to ensure safe delivery of cargo as precious as a dozen Fabergé smurfs. Two dozen long-stemmed roses peek out of a complimentary vase in the Cupid's Arrow arrangement and make a perfect Sweetest Day gift, along with a flourish of seasonal blossoms, such as hydrangeas, celosia, or mums. Delivery is extra, starting at $10, depending on area.
Gary Morgan’s pest-control techniques have been refined through his encounters with insects in the most unexpected of places. Called in to help a business solve its carpenter-ant problem, Morgan checked all the usual spots but found nary a bug in the building’s wood or along the exterior. He then tracked the tiny creatures back to an unopened computer box. Inside, he found a nest in the keyboard, and saw that the ants were feeding on the rubber mechanisms that gave the keys their spring action.
Morgan thrives on solving pest problems like these, the jobs that make him “everybody’s hero.” Growing up an outdoorsy kid who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and teaching trees how to read, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up. Then his brother got him an interview at an exterminator, and he “knew this is what I was supposed to do.” After gaining experience by working for companies such as Orkin, the independently minded Morgan eventually struck out on his own in 2003, buying Aapex Pest Control a year later. Today, he continues vanquishing structure-infesting intruders from cockroaches to rodents and proudly proclaims he’s smote every bed bug that’s ever challenged him to a pillow fight. In addition to servicing clients’ homes, he also posts tips to help homeowners prevent pest intrusions.
Artistic Outdoor Services deploys trained gardening ground troops to residential homes in a mass effort to clean up front- and backyards for fall. Each five-hour service evicts loitering leaves, sticks, and debris from lawns with astute attention to detail. Once grassy acreages are fully trimmed and primped, homeowners can discuss future projects with the maintenance professionals, such as landscape-design installation, sprinkler services, flower design, mulch installation, or tree and shrub care. Fall cleanup-service appointments are available Monday–Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.