From the Soil with Sollecito

  • Hosted by Jim Sollecito

Upstate New York offers an extraordinarily diverse panorama of spectacular landscapes. And, creating a personal landscape around the home can bring a deep sense of accomplishment while providing a constant source of inspiration throughout the year.  Whether a patio garden, terrace, flower bed, or simple hedgerow, there are best practices that, when followed, will go a long way to assuring long-term success of any home landscape in upstate New York while protecting the environment.

In this growing series of podcasts, Jim Sollecito of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery on Howlett Hill Road on Onondaga Hill provides a series of helpful talks to help navigate the seasonal shifts that impact plants, shrubs, trees, flower beds, and garden plots.  Jim focuses on the use of natural products and cultivation methods specifically adapted to this region's climate, soil composition, geology, and native ecology.  Sollecito Landscaping Nursery is the first Be Green garden center licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

About Jim Sollecito:

Jim Sollecito graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from Cornell University in 1976 and has traveled to 39 countries studying plants and landscape design.  He recently visited Cuba to work with organic farmers, introducing them to new seed varieties and exchanging ideas for natural fertilizing techniques.  He has the distinction of being the first Lifetime Senior Certified Landscape Professional in New York State.  Founder of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery 45 years ago, Jim's company has won First Place in the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Landscape Awards Competition 24 times for residential projects.  Jim owns and operates a six acre garden center and a 170 acre nursery.  Megan Sollecito, Jim's wife and partner in business, is a Senior Certified Landscape Professional in her own right.  The Sollecitos have been loyal supporters of WRVO for many years.

If you have questions about any topic related to landscape management, or if you would like to suggest a topic to explore in a future podcast, please contact Jim.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim talks about collaboration in landscaping.

Let Me Help You Paint Your Picture

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim offers a few tips for "painting the picture" in your yard.

In Living Color

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim talks about choosing colors for your outside when planting.

How to Avoid Cosmetically Challenged Plantings

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim reveals some secrets of good planting.

Apple Tree Wisdom

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim talks about a "fruitful" discovery while on a walk with his dog.

A Bright and Beautiful Plan B

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, Jim talks about gardening and alzheimer's.

Sensory Gardens

Apr 18, 2018

In this episode, Jim talks about how sensory gardens can create a healing environment. 

In this episode, Jim talks about the plants best to plant just before winter.

Get a Whiff of This!

Sep 20, 2017

In this episode, Jim talks about a new method in keeping deer off of trees during the autumn and winter months.

How Can I Help My Existing Landscape Organically?

Mar 31, 2017


This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, Jim talks about organic ways to treat your lawn and surrounding landscape.


This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, Jim talks about the pros and cons of using organic products vs. easy-to-use chemicals.

Lessons Learned from Organic Farming in Cuba

Mar 31, 2017


This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, he talks about specific organic practices we can incorporate into our own gardening activities here in the U.S.

How Plants Heal

Aug 17, 2016

In this episode, Jim talks about how plants heal and repair among the stresses of their environment, and shares what you can do to assist.

Why Didn't My Landscape Plants Flower?

Aug 17, 2016

Despite our best efforts, sometimes trees and shrubs fail to flower. In this episode, Jim talks about some of the possibilities as to why, and what you can do (and plant) to make the most of your landscape.


What To Plant For Tough Sites I Don't Have To Mow

Aug 17, 2016

Turf is the cheapest thing to install, and the most expensive to maintain. Jim talks about how he tries to minimize this element in his landscape designs, and what you can do to improve tough areas in your landscape.  

What Can I Do If My Burning Bushes Flame Out?

Aug 17, 2016

In this episode, Jim talks about one of the most overused and over-rated plants: the Compact Burning Bush and some reasons why many are not "burning" as hot as some may like.   

Invasion - Landscapes in Crisis

Apr 12, 2013

Invasion: Landscapes in Crisis describes the effects of deer-browsing, buck rubbing and other environmental threats to plants and trees in and around Cornell Plantations Botanical Gardens and Arboretum at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Weather or Not

Oct 17, 2012

Did you know a Quaking Aspen, one of the lovliest trees in the fall landcape, can predict the weather? Keen observers note weather changes underway just by listening to trees.  Jim has a better method: he keeps changing channels on the TV until he sees a forecast he likes.  Here are some natural things to look for that may help you predict the weather in your neighborhood.

Dig, Drop and Done

Oct 17, 2012

Jim has a rule when he bites into a really hot pepper sprout in one of Megan's five-alarm hot shot panini sandwiches while lunching out on the job;  'stop, drop, and roll.'  After recovery he then stumbles back to the flower bed to resume planting those spring bulbs.  The rule there is 'dig, drop, and done.'  It's really simple, and guaranteed to bring many springtimes of pleasure.

Love 'em and Leave 'em

Oct 17, 2012

Fall is the time of year you can be a heartbreaker without remorse.  Love 'em, then leave 'em.  Be a landscape Casanova or Cleopatra with a lawn rake and a lawn mower.  Shower those favorite leafy shrubs and trees with your attention and affection from spring through summer and then, when autumn leaves start to fall, mulch them into your lawn.  No tears will be shed and your lawn will love you for it.

Get the PHD

Oct 17, 2012

And you thought getting a PHD would take years of hanging around the library when all you needed to do was go outside to dig a hole.  For that you DO need a PHD - a Post Hole Digger.  Making that hole productive for a new planting does require a bit of art and a science, but there are no early morning classes or exams to sleep through. So get your PHD and start planting!  Your landscape will be ready to enjoy by spring break.

Needles, Leaves and Lights

Oct 17, 2012

"Lights, Conifers, Action!"  That's what they shouted in Hollywood just before they shot the last scene in 'White Christmas' (well, something like that, surely).  Now you can be the director of your very own holiday special by bringing your home landscape to a dazzle with holiday lighting that repels deer.  Better yet, make it a double feature starting with fall colors that razzle as well as dazzle.

Cutting Edge

Oct 17, 2012

Jim talks about his trip to Washington, D.C. to see the White House Rose Garden and Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden.  Listen to his tale about how he donated his pocket knife to the Secret Service.  Looks like no more mumbly peg for Jim until Santa brings him a new one.

Angel's Share

Oct 17, 2012

When fruits, vegetables and other vegetation disappear from the landscape, old timers declare that's 'the angel's share.'  Other people blame deer - and they may just be onto something.  Fruits and vegetables will regenerate, but when trees and shrubs are damaged - by mice and other woodland creatures as well as deer - the damage can be permanent.  Jim has some ideas about how you can help protect your landscape from these pesky nibblers.

Deer Munchies

Oct 17, 2012

Fall is 'bulk up' time for deer.  You think they wreak havoc in spring and summer?  Fall is the peak of chow down time.  But you can do something to pull the plug on the gravy train in your back yard.  Jim has some ideas about how you can turn the herd around and keep them away from your plantings.

Landscapes Alive

Sep 1, 2012

Jim says the best use for landscape fabric may be shower curtains or really unique high fashion ball gowns.  He won't sell it in his shop, and he says you should not use it in your landscape.  Learn why.

Woodsman Pare That Tree

Sep 1, 2012

Why is it that a bird can fly through a tree canopy repeatedly without so much as a ding to a wing but a golf ball will find a limb every time?  No answer here, but Jim has some great tips for pruning your trees to enhance their appearance.  Careful pruning will add elegance to your landscape for years to come.

You Are how you Plant

Sep 1, 2012

Question: which of the following is the most sensible statement?
A) best time to do your landscape chores is on a hot, sunny day at noon.
B) best time to water your plants is on a hot, sunny day at noon.
C) best way to keep your landscape verdant and thriving is to ignore it.
D) best way to keep plants thriving is to place them where the sun and other natural conditions will work to their advantage as they become established.
(correct answer is D, unless you are a mad dog or an Englishman and inclined to take song lyrics by Noël Coward  literally)

Bling Bling Plants

Sep 1, 2012

Bling is all about flash, sparkle, and  impact.  Bling has a place in the garden, too.  Here's Jim's list of 'look-at-ME!-plants.'  Add some visual noise-makers to your landscape.

Dog Days

Sep 1, 2012

The 'Dog Days' of summer.  Not much more to do in the garden, but the weeding goes on.  If your sidewalk or patio cracks are in a weedy pickle, put the gherkin to workin' on the problem.  You will relish the results.