Posted by: Highland landscaping | February 18, 2019

February 2019


February  2019                                      EDITION 120

817-488-2718  Phone |



  December 22, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump signing “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (H.R.1) into law.  The scope of H.R.1 touched virtually every employee and employer in the United States (See our February, 2018 edition).  Naysayers doubted that business and employment opportunities could be rebuilt.  As we watched the quarterly reports for small business in 2018, the results exceeded positive predictions.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with MetLife, releases the “Small Business Index” each quarter.  The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), a non-profit member-driven organization, also reports statistics from its more than 325,000 members.

In this edition, we offer the latest data for the fourth quarter of 2018, and the outlook for this year.  Small businesses represent more than half the U.S. economy and GDP.   In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017, small business owner’s optimism of the U.S. economy was at a dismal 38% (average nationwide).  Reeling from the struggles of a high tax burden, restrictive regulations, a depressed economy, and the Affordable Care Act Penalty Tax, small business owners were unleashed and energized by H.R.1 to develop their businesses.  Optimism of the U.S. economy by small business owners nationwide has jumped, in one year, to 58% in Q4 of 2018.  Texas business owners responded positively at 60%.

With the passage of H.R.1 and the ongoing lifting of burdensome regulations, small business owners were able to hire needed employees, increase compensation, invest in their businesses, increase inventory, and experience a growth in profits.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, more businesses (29%) report that they planned to increase their investment.  This is up from 22% in the third quarter.  38% of businesses in the South expect to increase investments in 2019.  Eight in ten small business owners state they are comfortable with their cash flow.  Each quarter notes a marked increase in the small business owner perception of their local economy, anticipated increase in staffing, and increase in revenue. The South continues to report the most positive perceptions.

In the half of the national economy that is driven by small business, 2018 was a 45-year record high for job openings, hiring plans, compensation increases, profit growth, and inventory investment.  Thirty-two percent (NFIB) of small business owners find their credit needs met, and fifty percent report they are not interested in a loan.  Only three percent stated financing was a problem.  A small percentage still struggle under regulations and red tape, mainly at the local or state level, while federal agencies continue to review and abolish prohibitive measures earlier imposed at the federal level.

The single difficulty small business owners report is finding and hiring new employees. In 2018, sixty-seven percent report they have been unable to find employees for positions they wish to fill.  Eighty-one percent of manufacturing businesses were unable to find local candidates with experience or skills.  The construction industry, and others that rely on labor, are also having difficulty hiring much needed manpower.  Business owners and others (family, friends, current employees) are often having to work extraordinarily long hours to fill the gap.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council is currently working with the U.S. House of Representatives on seven bills House members are considering that would support small businesses nationwide by opening new paths for growth.

NFIB works with state and local governments to represent small business owners.  It is currently involved with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, along with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to pass property tax reform that will ease the financial burden on small business owners and homeowners in the State of Texas.

“Successful people do


 unsuccessful people

are not willing to do.”

                -Jim Rohn (1930-2009)



Plant trivia

PLANT TRIVIA    The fruit from the Flowering Quince is toxic.  True or False? (look for the answer at the end of our blog)


Featured project



Highland Landscaping completed  a beautiful residential renovation project in Southlake this month. A stunning arc of seasonal color outlines the front of the home, making the front walkway an eye catcher. Dark purples and greens from the Loropetalum and Liriope are strategically placed to have a balanced contrast of color in the front. The backyard consists of  full and lush  Mountain Cedars, Sabal Minors, and Magnolias to  create privacy and year round color.


Brooke Sugden Photography : 817-948-6428



 Seasonal color this month…

Camellia Japonica, Crocus, Daffodils,Dianthus, Hyacinths,Italian Jasmine, Paperwhites,Snapdragons, Winter Honeysuckle,Flowering Quince



February Landscape Tasks:

  • ¨ Plan landscape and hardscape projects
  • ¨ Prune mistletoe while trees are dormant
  • ¨ Plant deciduous shrubs and ornamentals
  • ¨ Fertilize landscape beds and gardens
  • ¨ Spread compost in beds and gardens
  • ¨ Plant early Spring vegetables
  • ¨ Schedule yard clean-up
  • ¨ Mulch landscape beds to 3”
  • ¨ Water landscape beds before a freeze

Trivia Answer

False.  Though somewhat bitter in taste, the fruit is often used in preserves and jellies.


Picture6Variegated Spanish Dagger (Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’) is an evergreen cactus/succulent type plant.   Native to the Southeast United States from North Carolina to Florida, “gloriosa” has adapted to many climates within the United States and other countries around the world.  On the Southeastern seaboard, moisture and humidity are considerably higher than our North Texas climate offers.  Here, “gloriosa” is drought tolerant once established and will settle in to most well-drained soils.  The Royal Horticultural Society has awarded “gloriosa” the Award of Garden Merit for its value as a garden staple in UK gardens;    Quite a different climate than Texas or Arizona.   This provides us with some insight into its inclusion in the North American Native Selection.  Another example would be that in North Texas “gloriosa” thrives in full sun, while it is considered a shade plant in Arizona.   It is being studied for this extraordinary degree of adaptability.  In North Texas,  “gloriosa” is cold hardy to   –4  ͦF, and can handle occasional snow.  Heat is not a problem, but some supplemental water may be required during the first year.

Rigid variegated leaves of blue-green possess a goldish cream border when young.  As the plant matures, the border relaxes to a beautiful cream.  In cold weather, leaf margins take on a pink tone for added interest.  The tips of the gloriosa are not as sharp and piercing as many other cactus.   During summer months, gloriosa provides its own Picture7drama.  A stalk emerges from the center of the plant.   A cluster of “nodding” bell-shaped, creamy white flowers blooms.  The stalk may reach a height of 4-6’.  The cluster of blooms averages 1-2 feet in diameter.  These lovely, fragrant flowers attract butterflies.

Awarded WaterWise and FireWise ratings lends to gloriosa’s desirability in a landscape design.  In addition to year-round interest, its versatility and low maintenance are matched by few.  It brings color and texture to virtually any landscape design, from lush cottage gardens to Meditteranean gardens to low-water rock gardens.   It brings interest to flowering perennial beds, and can be a stunning focal point as a border plant or as part of a privacy screen.  In containers, gloriosa can be planted with other complimentary or contrasting plants;  or, calling on its architectural contribution, is dramatic on its own.    As its name suggests, gloriosa creates “glorious splendor”.




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