bona terra

A blog for the Washington, DC based landscaping business Bona Terra LLC


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We are hiring a Bookkeeper/Office manager

$12.50 – $15.00 per hour

Plus possible partial cell phone bill reimbursement

Two and a half office work days per week (up to 20 hours). Scheduling is flexible and we will work with what you have available. We have ½ hour paid lunch for a six hour work day minimum.

Bona Terra is a small family run urban landscape design, maintenance, and installation business that specializes in artistic installations, bay-friendly rain gardens, conservation planting, and careful maintenance. We prioritize organic, sustainable practices and protecting the local watershed. We are a creative group of artists, musicians, and writers, and support each other in those endeavors.

You will mostly be doing bookkeeping work, running payroll every other week, invoicing clients, maintaining electronic and paper files, troubleshooting computer glitches and scanner/printer issues. Your days will also consist of checking mail, both physical and electronic, doing tasks as assigned by the partners of the company, and helping our designers and foreman with paperwork, etc., working independently in the office.

Ideally the candidate is detail-oriented, is a good and clear communicator both with clients and inter-office communication, is good with filing, tracking information and record keeping, and has creative solutions for organizing and optimizing both physical and electronic storage space.

We are a small tight-knit company and we work from a home office, you must be comfortable with a casual office environment, including a dog and two cats. Confidentiality is also very important.

Your work hours are also flexible, as long as agreed upon ahead of time. We respect your time away from work, but it’s a big plus if you are able to casually monitor email when you aren’t present in the office, in case there is something urgent, and can answer any odd questions we might receive.

Familiar with Mac computers, Word, Excel, Gmail, Google Drive & Calendar, etc. Previous experience with Quickbooks, Dropbox, Photoshop is a plus! Must have a smartphone.

If you are interested in field-work in addition to office work to fill out the position to be full-time, that’s an option that can be discussed.

You earn sick leave, 1 hour per every 87 hours you work, up to 3 days per year. Work may slow down in the winter, during January and February, that’s the best time to travel, work on art or music, hang with family etc.

Interested applicants should e-mail their resume and 2 references to bonaterradc@gmail.com

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CBLP Certification

Our Co-Owner Jeremy Tidd received a scholarship earlier this year to enroll in the new Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Program. Jeremy is now CBLP certified, further enhancing our already established dedication to sustainable and bay-friendly practices.

Bona Terra was also a recipient of the DOEE’s Community Stormwater Solutions Grant and installed a 500 square foot bioswale this summer, next to the paved playground at Sousa Middle School to better control the heavy stormwater run-off on the campus. Jeremy also salvaged scrap metal from Kingman Island in the Anacostia River and constructed a sculpture out of the metal depicting an Eastern painted turtle, a local species on the D.C. Wildlife Conservation list.

installation view

Jeremy putting the final touches on a sculpture and bioswale installation at Sousa Middle School in D.C.

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We are hiring a Landscape Designer

Job description:

Rain Garden/Residential Native Landscape Designer

 Full-time employment including overtime.

* flexible schedule, sometimes working 12 hour days and/or weekends in the high season and light work in the winter. Work from home possibly 1 – 2 days per week.

15.00 – 18.00 per hour + mileage reimbursements, phone reimbursements

No benefits included; you will be insured and eligible for workers compensation, and receive overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week, we have ½ hour paid lunch for a six hour work day minimum.

You would be making an impact on the stormwater challenges facing the District of Columbia, planting native plants, encouraging pollinators, learning about our environment and helping clean up the Chesapeake Bay and local watersheds. You would also serve as steward to those clients unfamiliar with the benefits of rain gardens and bayscapes, and helping to expand the company and provide jobs for friends and co-workers. You would be working with a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, and a certified installer of Interlocking Concrete Pavement (permeable pavers).

Bona Terra is a small family run urban landscape design, maintenance, and installation business that specializes in artistic installations, bay-friendly rain gardens, conservation planting, and careful maintenance. We prioritize organic, sustainable practices and protecting the local watershed. We are a creative group of artists, musicians, and writers, so anyone with an artistic or creative background will be given special consideration.

We contract with The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to install Rain Gardens and Bayscapes under the Riversmart Homes Program. These stormwater projects are designed and installed according to the DOEE requirements on residential properties that qualify for grants and rebate programs.

You will be communicating with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the DOEE on a regular basis to request client names, submit photographs, talk about projects, and finish invoicing etc. Your job will be to process client names and information, schedule and attend meetings with 5 – 7 homeowners on average per week for one-hour sessions each, take ‘before’ photographs and measurements, draw up designs and make plant lists for rain gardens or bayscapes and submit them to homeowners and the Alliance for approval. You will be responsible for communicating scheduling issues and shifts with clients and communicating client preferences and issues with the Riversmart Installations Manager; and, ultimately, submitting invoices and ‘after’ photographs once projects are complete.

You will be responsible for providing work for two crews of two people each, 4 – 5 days a week, for 10 months, with a light schedule in the winter. The crews will be managed in the field by the Riversmart Installations Manager, who will also be your partner on scheduling, buying, and supplies. You must be available for emergencies by phone or email any day that your crew is in the field.

We use Mac computers, Quickbooks, Excel, Word, Gmail, Google Drive & Calendar, Photoshop, Dropbox for most of our work. We are open to considering other programs. Most designs are currently done on paper and scanned. You will be issued a work laptop and expected to care for it, maintain updates, etc.

Applicants will be evaluated based on qualifications, and the person with the most qualifications will be offered the job.

Ideally you will have:

A clean driving record and experience driving for five years or more, having your own vehicle or bicycle is a plus but not required.

A smart phone with sufficient data plan, so that you can use it for navigation, taking before and after photos, and checking email regularly when at meetings or in the field.

You will need to:

Track and maintain files and paperwork.

Track and be responsible for personal hours, mileage etc.

Measure a site, create a scale drawing, cross-section drawing and design.

Be able to calculate stormwater run-off and capacity, or learn easily to calculate stormwater run-off and capacity by using formulas.

Be able to identify soil types and accurately assess amendments.

Have a working assessment of water run-off and predictability.

Be able to perform a perc test, or talk a client through the process of performing one.

Know and use scientific plant names and understand rules for binomial nomenclature.

Be familiar with native plants and be interested in learning and memorizing the scientific names of plants, growing conditions, maintenance, division, re-seeding and common name of all the native plants on Bona Terra’s native plant list.

Be able to park legally and in challenging circumstances for example parallel parking on busy streets and in tight alleyways

Be able to handle additional residential design and work, with the help of the installation foreman and upper management.

Know how to install and maintain rain gardens and bayscapes, including downspout hook up, spillway, measuring berms, soil amendments, etc.

Must be able to present and maintain a professional appearance and communicate with clients, and vendors in a courteous, clear and timely manner.

We are a small tight-knit company and we work from a home office, you must be comfortable with a casual office environment, including a dog and two cats.

Please send your resume to bonaterradc@gmail.com

 


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One year later

We’ve received more photo updates on the growth of our bayscape installations for the RiverSmart Homes Grant program. Our young plantings have filled-in their garden spaces quite robustly. Check out these lovely summer blooms at two D.C. residences:

1year later Kramer

Yellow coneflower, goldenrod, moonbeam and turtleheads! One year ago (above), and current blooms (below).

quinn, joshua_bayscape one year later

Moonbeam, blazing star, Joe pye weed, goldenrod and baptisia! One year ago (above), and recent bloom (below).


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Native species: Cutleaf Staghorn sumac

Bona Terra promotes the use of native plants, shrubs and trees, which preserve the local ecosystem, support local wildlife, and contribute to reforestation. We’ll occasionally highlight some of our favorite native species here on the blog. In this post our office manager writes about Staghorn sumac, specifically the cutleaf cultivar:

One of the most striking shrubs I’ve ever seen is Rhus typhina, or Staghorn sumac, a native woody plant. While Staghorn sumac, in its larger tree-like form, is the biggest sumac in North America, the smaller cutleaf cultivars (‘Laciniata’ or ‘Tiger eyes’) grow less upright and have a delicate and airy appearance. But don’t let its looks deceive you. This is a tough and hardy species with robust foliage during its long growing season. It’s not a shrub we plant very often because of how quickly it spreads, and it requires a lot of pruning attention to maintain its unique form and to keep it from overtaking a garden. If you’re willing to give this sumac your time and loving care I think it’s well worth it. The shrub has a practical function on slopes reducing soil erosion by stabilizing the soil quickly with its hastily spreading roots and seeds. Its beauty and architectural form alone bring an alluring and vivid addition to gardens. Their aggressive growth is also useful when trying to push out unwanted plants in your garden.

Last year I was able to track the ever changing growth of the Cutleaf Staghorn sumac.

staghorn sumac April

Staghorn sumac’s horn-like branches first caught my eye in winter time, and then its velvety buds emerged in early April

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Spreading its leaves a couple weeks later

staghorn sumac detail June

Later in June when the fruit becomes visible

Fruit of the Staghorn, and a preview of the fiery orange and red foliage expected in the fall.

Fruit of the Staghorn, and a preview of the fiery orange and red foliage expected in the fall.

staghorn sumac full June

A robust Staghorn sumac ‘Tiger eyes’ in midsummer.

Orange, red and bronze foliage in October.

Orange, red and bronze foliage in October.

Staghorn sumac covered in icicles during the winter season.

Staghorn sumac covered in icicles during the winter season.


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Summer blooms

rain garden progress

New rain garden installation in September 2015 (above) and the same rain garden in June 2016.

We’re always delighted to see progress updates on rain gardens and bayscapes we’ve installed for DC’s RiverSmart Homes grant program. In less than 10 months, small plugs of Penstemon, Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans have filled in this stormwater-capturing corner garden. Our previous post is about the resilience of young plantings.