By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — After 15 years of essentially living and working out of his truck at an exasperating pace across Central Texas, Erasmo Chaves with a restrained sigh of relief, is dropping roots.
“I always wanted to have my own place,” he said. “I’m so glad to be here in Bertram.”
A 10-acre lot at 3429 Hwy 29 in Bertram is now home for his business, D & L Landscaping, a complete gardening and landscaping center.
“We think everyone will be very pleased. Expect to find a good selection of plants and materials along with quality landscaping services at reasonable prices,” he said.
Chaves, who has his Grower’s License and Floral License, bought the property three years ago and has been readying it ever since. After clearing the land, he began moving in a variety of landscaping materials. Now, with spring only weeks away, things are looking up at the site across the street from Hwy 29 Veterinary Hospital.
With a love for the outdoors, Chaves beamed with excitement as he strolled across the rich black soil on his property pointing out the progress.
The greenhouse, sitting next to a grove of mature live oaks, is complete and already stocked with many of the region’s most popular native and adapted plants and shrubs as well some popular accent plants like foxtail ferns and palms.
“With the cyclical droughts in Texas, installing water wise landscaping will beautify your yard while reducing your water bill,” he said.
He pointed out some of his favorites like mountain laurels and was stirred by some of the fruit trees that were budding out.
“I really like being around plants,” Chaves said. “I just like seeing them grow and really enjoy the outdoors.”
At the entrance to the greenhouse and by the heavy wooden doors, trays of Green Santolina rested. Santolina is growing in popularity for their use in knot gardens where different colors of plants are aligned in a rope or ribbon-like fashion. Next to the santolina were the heavenly fragrant and much sought after Mexican Mint Marigolds, an herb which thrives in hot, humid climates and makes a wonderful seasoning for fish, chicken or even salads.
More plants will be arriving soon including an assortment of bedding and perennial plants as prime planting season approaches. There is also an excellent selection of succulents, agaves, and cacti including red yuccas and century plants. A large selection of shade trees, ornamentals like bottlebrush and Japanese Maples, and fruit trees including apple, plum, and orange are also available.
Chaves stated that another greenhouse is in the works and will likely be erected by next year to accommodate additional plants.
Near the center of the gardening complex, there is a good choice of pottery including clay pots and the fascinating Talavera pottery. Talavera pieces range in design from longhorn skulls, to butterflies, to birdbaths and various animals figures as well as other decorative items.
The Talavera pottery has a history dating back eight centuries. It got its roots in the Arab-Andalusia culture in Spain. Around 700 B.C., Arab potters settled in an area in Spain now known as Talavera de la Reina where they developed their techniques to produce the colorful earthenware known as Majolica. Reportedly, Spanish missionaries invited the potters in the 16th Century to what is now known as Puebla, Mexico, in the new world. It is there that local artisans were trained to create pieces to decorate Spanish missions.
Occupying a large portion of the D & L Landscaping property are a vast gathering of landscaping materials from fanciful fountains to virtually any type of rock and stone one could imagine including flagstone and sandstone. A variety of bricks and tiles are also in stock.
Next to the greenhouse, customers will find a large supply of mulches, soils and organic materials. Delivery and installation are available for these gardening items.
One of the most intriguing features of the gardening complex is a vineyard that is being cultivated covering four acres. Chaves says the vineyard is being developed in agreement with The Vineyards at Florence.
Besides having an excellent variety of plants and materials, D & L Landscaping provides an array of services. Chaves has his Irrigator License and installs irrigation systems and does repairs as well as complete lawn maintenance programs. Furthermore, he can assist with outdoor lighting and tree trimming, pruning, and removal. Finally, as the business name indicates, complete landscaping design and installation services are available.
With so much done on the property and so much yet to be done, one can only wonder where Chaves gets all of his energy and endurance. A look at his background tells all.
Chaves is a former semi-professional soccer player in Mexico. As a native of beautiful and historically significant San Miguel de Allende, he regularly toured the “futbol crazed” country where he carved out quite a reputation with his quickness and change of pace.
He has remained active in the sport by competing in a league in Round Rock and showed he hasn’t lost his touch by recently winning a tournament title.
Fortunately, his days as a semi-professional soccer player prepared him for the strenuous life that was ahead. That stamina, strength, instinctive reaction, adaptability and confidence that served him so well on the soccer field, have brought him success in the business world as an entrepreneur.
By the way, “D” and “L” in the company’s name stands for Chaves’ two oldest daughters, Daisy and Lisa.
D & L Landscaping is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For additional information visit the website www.dllandscaping.com.