About Johntheplantman

John loves shaping plants.
Pruning bonsais for a client makes me happy.

John Schulz was teaching vocational education when he discovered plants in the early 1970s. He soon became entranced with all aspects of plant care, especially growing and shaping them into interesting specimens. Even though he is no longer a teacher in the public school system, he still considers himself an educator.

John became a landscape artist, designing, planting, and maintaining residential and public gardens. He does not cut grass. His fifty years of experience have revealed to him the meditative qualities of gardening.

John is married to Dekie Hicks and they share a love of pruning and shaping plants. They have collaborated on a new book, “The Basics of Pruning,” which teaches the concepts and techniques used in pruning ornamental plants.

The Basics of Pruning by John Schulz and Dekie Hicks

The johntheplantman blog has garnered almost 400,000 views since its inception. There are well over 200 articles about gardening and other interesting subjects.

11 thoughts on “About Johntheplantman

  1. John i love what you are doing for my mama!!!! for years and years we have been backing down the steeps to get the door open to get in the door… while all hell breaks loose with multiple barking dogs!!! what a great idea… building a big landing to start and stop from. i would have never thought of such. this is a great project. my mama will have such fun filling it with flowers. hope you can get back in a year or so for “after pictures” doodle

    1. Doodle, your mother is an absolute joy!! She deserves the best I can do. I’m sure the garden will be wonderful when she gets through planting it. I can’t wait to see. Thanks for the comment

  2. Hi John,

    I liked your web site alot. Your picture especially!!!!! Don’t forget to send me one of your books. Please sign it for me.


  3. John,

    It was great seeing you today. I’ve never seen you so happy.

    Thanks for giving me your web site. I really enjoyed the beautiful gardens and all the great information.

    I wish my Daddy could be around to see your beautiful work, he would really be proud of you.

    Keep up the good that you’re doing and keep that twinkle in your eye and the big smile on your face.

    See you on the Mtn,

  4. John,
    Just been inquiring about you. Read your website and your health reports look good from what I can tell. Every time I go to the warehouse I think about what a wonderful job you and the scouts did. It looks great and is an encouragement to all of us.

  5. Yesterday I had never heard of “John the Plantman.”

    I started reading Requiem for a Redneck almost immediately after purchasing, a little more than an hour before attending the workshop session given by you, Ray Atkins, and Man Martin yesterday. I was pretty hooked by the second chapter and spent most of the “writing biographies” session reading your book instead of listening to the guy talking. I had read both of Mr. Martin’s books (yes, I am that dumbass that asked the question about philosophical stuff used in Paradise Dogs and also goes weak in the knees at the mention of Pat Conroy) but was not familiar with your work or Mr. Atkins. I found that kind of strange, firstly because I am a NUT about southern fiction and think of myself as pretty well-read in the field, and secondly because I have the feeling I may live really close to both of you. Anyway, the “Humor in Fiction” portion of yesterday’s events was the most enjoyable time I have in a Writers’ Workshop—perhaps ever…

    I am a retired teacher who does pretty much nothing but read and write. I completed an MFA program as my “middle-aged-crazy-gift-to-myself” a couple of years ago and have a couple of completed manuscripts while working on a third, but I’m the first to admit I’m still a much better reader than writer. It was evident in the first pages of your book that your work is beautiful, but I have to strongly disagree with one of your beliefs: In my opinion, you are not a humor writer.

    You are a timeless teller of tales that explores the joy, beauty and pain of the human condition yet still finds humor in it.

    I started out thinking this little book would be a smug, smart little treatise combining “You Might Be A Redneck If…” with Lewis Grizzard and some sort of common-man sitcom idea. I was wrong on so many levels I am truly ashamed, but saying so doesn’t mean I didn’t start out liking the book, only that I would come to like it much more as the book progressed.

    On a pad on my nightstand, I made a few notes as I read:

    • Is Jeremy pronounced like “Germy?” Several of the ones I’ve taught in Gordon County are of that variety.
    • Since when is there a motel in Plainville?
    • Louanne & The Lottery story may have the best ending EVER!
    • Does your son Paul really have a girlfriend named Edna? Nothing against the name, but every Edna I’ve ever known had blue hair and was at least seventy-five…

    But these are cute, smart-ass comments I would make in some fantasy conversation with my new imaginary friend, hoping to impress enough to get me on the reading fast track. Nearer to the book’s halfway mark, my feelings changed in a totally unexpected fashion.

    • Around page 100, I am starting to cry. It sucks knowing the Harce is going to die. I was getting really partial to him. I am already starting to mourn for him and for all those who love him.
    • Thank you for choosing here to insert “a hammer and two walnuts.” I needed it!
    • The “Biscus” story: I’m boohooing now, for the story itself and memories it triggered as well. There are certain kinds of stories that always hit hardest and they don’t have to be incredibly say; any story that I would have shared with my now-gone dad is always bittersweet. He would’ve loved this one.
    • “The hogs had been split open and stainless steel rods had been driven through the legs from one end to the other, flattening the entire presentation so that it looked like they were hung on a double cross.” Yuck. So graphic I am speechless, I guess…
    • The whole wedding story reminded me of a lecture Silas House (friend, college mentor, and one of my favorite authors) gave on the best ways to ensure a realistic sense of place. Silas says that the way a group of friends and family celebrates birth/death events and holidays, when described right, can define that culture. The wedding story did exactly that, and the side-by-side differences and similarities of two totally different cultures gave me an inexplicable rush of hope and beauty that I haven’t felt in a long time. Thank you.
    • The cooking-oil-burning “cruck” was a nice diversion at a bad time, too. Thanks, again.
    • Page 147. I’m starting to hate you. No shiny book that looks like a graphic novel for King of the Hill is supposed to break my heart. I’m watching Harce die in slow motion and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. This hurts.
    • The saddest sentence: “All them people done told me I didn’t treat her right and to leave her alone. Then the birds took me home.”

    The one word that rings out for me in describing this book is “dignity.” Through your words, you give dignity to a whole culture of people that America may think as joke material or not think of at all. When “Bud” blurbs on the cover that “if you ain’t a redneck, then read this here book and you will want to be one,” you’ve achieved a laugh. After reading the book, Bud’s words mean more than that; no, I don’t want to become the cliché I imagine when seeing the book cover, but I do want to claim kinship with any culture who still stops to think, feel, and care. There is something worth preserving here, something beyond the beer cans and fake tans and all the other trappings of what we want to identify as “Redneck America.” There is heart, soul, and feeling that are rare, highly valuable, and worth every minute of searching through pawn shops, yard sales, and flea markets to find.
    You have found treasure here. I feel like I’ve found Easter’s “prize egg” just getting to be a witness…

    My favorite authors are (besides Pat Conroy) Larry Brown, Clyde Edgerton, Ron Rash, Silas House, and now you.

    I can’t wait to read the next book!

    Elaine Drennon Little

    1. Elaine, I am speechless and honored. The speechless is quite rare for me.
      By the way, my son’s wife is named Edna and she is big time good looking.
      Paul also is quoted as saying, “My dad never allows a few facts to get in the way of a good story.”
      So, if there ain’t no motel in Plainville, who cares? It’s the story that counts.
      Thanks, again

  6. I stumbled upon your site while looking for a guest speaker for our first grade kids in grapevine Texas. They are discussing soil erosion. Your not visiting Texas anytime soon are you???
    Loved your info for fixing the stepping stones

  7. Dear John,

    I began my apprenticeship beneath your tutelage over 30 years ago! It has been an off again on again affair….as I have navigated life during this span..but you have always been there for me! The opportunity to spend time with you as my mentor shaped the mold that I would eventually pour myself into when the time was right! Your play on words and placid disposition effected me profoundly! I was and remain a sponge in your presence. I attribute my success directly to the things that you have defined and imparted to me over the years….”Things” that I need not necessarily share with the public…but will most assuredly be shared with my son!! I find myself considered to be an artist in the community that I serve….go figure….aint’ my fault!

    Very truly yours I remain….David Lamb

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