By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
These days in Athens-Limestone County the terms “dealing with growth” or “growing well” have each just about become a” buzz term.” For the past five years, Garth Lovvorn of Valley Mowing Company has been doing just that—dealing with the growth of grass, weeds, bushes, roots, and all manner of natural things to the point that some days he has to tell his crew, “We’re going into the jungle today!”
I first had the joy of writing about Valley Mowing back in 2015, when Garth was still a one-man show. The business has been blessed, and now, during the off-season, Garth’s team consists of two full-time guys in addition to himself; and between May and October, he has a total of 8. His business generally is 70% residential and 30% commercial. He has always worked in a 30-mile radius of Athens, and back when he first started, Garth said, “It used to take me 30 minutes, and there would be just one stop. Now I have many stops on the way. Business has filled out.”
How did all this get started? Garth’s “roots” are literally some of the oldest in our area. As a native Athenian, Garth has had a lifelong love affair with Alabama the Beautiful. This includes the lawns, shrubs, flowers, and landscapes of our area that make our town so stunning, especially in the spring. His family has been here for well over a 125 years, and Athens has always been home. During the time that he had full-time careers with Habitat for Humanity, in banking, and as an insurance agent, Garth has always maintained a side business in lawn care. In 2014, he decided to go full time.
Garth has no problem getting into the muck and guck to make a property shine, and that is what gave birth to his “goin’ into the jungle” statement with his guys. He also has always had quite a love for property maintenance, and when he was an insurance agent, he became fully acquainted with the requirements of insurance companies for residential properties, especially rentals. He became aware of how important it is to have someone who genuinely cares about other peoples’ properties after the legendary tornadoes of April 2011. “I’ll take care of limbs, damage, shrubbery that has gotten out of control, trees that have grown into soffits, haul away messes, and treat each house as though it is my own,” he added. “I take an active interest in the condition of peoples’ property,” he said. We discussed prices, and his are both reasonable as well as competitive. “I do my best to work with people,” he said.
For a while during our talk, I picked Garth’s brain about various challenges we encounter where we live, due to the fact that there are more than 60 trees on the property. I learned that part of the reason that several of my flowering shrubs either don’t flower at all, or not in what could be considered in a hearty manner, is that the root system of the deciduous trees that have been there for generations takes the lion’s share of the nutrients out of the ground—it’s not just an issue of too much shade. I was grateful to have my level of frustration diminished through learning from Garth.
Soon Garth will receive his SLP, or Setting of Landscape Plants certification. He has a good eye for increasing curb appeal, and in the state of Alabama, the certification is necessary for those individuals who will be actually installing plant materials for a fee. The certification ensures that the property owner is hiring someone who, according to the state website, “possesses adequate knowledge and ability to perform cultural, pruning, and other practices necessary to establish and maintain landscape plants.” In addition, the state website declares that SLP certified planters must know “the maintenance requirements for plant materials” as well as the “math components associated with landscape plant setting and maintenance tasks.” Having the SLP will increase Garth’s ability to meet the needs of his customers.
Garth will be at the Home and Garden Show on the 22nd and 23rd of this month, and hopes you’ll stop by his booth. He’ll be ready to answer questions, and do what he loves best, which is to help property owners “deal with growth.”
If you are looking for lawn and property maintenance that is provided by a company whose roots in the area literally “run deep,” then give Garth Lovvorn of Valley Mowing Company a call to schedule your appointment today.
Ali Elizabeth Turner