You'll find them, hard at work, 11 kilometres south of Moose Jaw along Highway #2 - Cornell Design & Landscaping is open for your Christmas shopping pleasure this holiday season but only for a limited time. 

When you go to cornelltrees.com, you'll find this: 

"Welcome to Cornell Design & Landscaping.  We take pride in providing Moose Jaw, Buffalo Pound Lake resorts, the RM of Moose Jaw and surrounding areas landscaping services.  Our employees excel at customer service excellence.  We continue to grow and provide you with products of the highest quality and unmatched customer service." 

"We encourage you to look around our site and see what we have to offer.  If you don't see what you are looking for, call us at 306-693-TREE (8733) and we will be happy to discuss your needs." 

And they're even happier to see you in person. leslie cornell pp 2Leslie Cornell, owner and operator of Cornell Design & Landscaping

Leslie Cornell heads up the family operation.  Of course, the busiest times at Cornell are spring and summer but Leslie wants you to know they are open for your shopping pleasure for a few more days leading up to Christmas. 

"We are!  We have a beautiful array of Christmas items so you can find gifts and trinkets and a lot of greens.  I think at this time of year when you say 'greens', it's like, 'what does that mean?'."

"So, greens, to me, means cut off branches of evergreen boughs so you've got cedar and fir and there's some hemlock and then what I do, is I create for you - I can put it into a container and add some pretty-coloured berries and sticks and we call that a patio pot.  You can put it out the front or the back, outside, and it lasts all season because I do a little magic - I treat them with a polymer called Wilt-Pruf.  It keeps the greens from turning brown.  So, you can bring them in the house and they will stay green for months," Leslie told us. 

"In fact, I had a lady buy one and tell us that was going to be her Christmas tree this year," Leslie laughed. 

Cornell Design & Landscaping is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 until 4:00 and on Saturdays from 9:00 until 3:00 but only through Saturday, December 18th. 

That said, Leslie says she's always there for her loyal customers.  All you have to do is give her a call at 306-693-TREE (8733). 

Leslie appreciates the way of life we live in and around Moose Jaw and raised her family right here.  She came to Moose Jaw as a teenager and attended Vanier Collegiate in the 80s. 

"I moved to Moose Jaw with my parents, went to Vanier and I ended up being a hairdresser to start with - that was my first career.  I then stayed at home and raised some kids and then I got into horticulture.  I actually wished I had done that first but I didn't know how amazing it is.  When I started in the horticulture industry, I knew nothing about plants and now, here I am, a horticulturalist." 

It wasn't easy though.  Leslie told us it took time and effort to get the education she was seeking. 

"Landscape horticulture is a Red Seal trade.  So, what I have is a Journeyman Red Seal Landscape Horticulturalist Trade.  And, two of my guys, I've put them through school, and they have their certificates as well.  It's an amazing trade.  There's a lot to learn and I continue to learn every day but it's really nice to be able to work in an industry where you can help people all the time." 

Leslie says growing the business has been challenging but rewarding. 

"We started back in March of 2008.  When I started, it was supposed to be a landscape company.  I hired my first employee who's still with me, Kurtis Langton, and we both learned how to operate a skid-steer and figured out how to do quotes and away we went.” 

“So, by April 1st, 2009, we opened the garden centre.  I always knew I wanted a nursery because that was my passion and so the garden centre grew extremely fast.  I can't even believe it myself when I look and see that we have a full-blown garden centre...we grow our perennials, we grow a lot of the trees that we sell and a good chunk of the annuals that we sell as well so, we really enjoy the growing part of it." 

Cornell Design & Landscaping is on a full quarter-section of land straight south of Moose Jaw along Highway #2 and the operation is spread out on about three acres of that land. 

Having that kind of space to work on has allowed Leslie, her family and staff to continue to grow over the years - literally and figuratively.  Cornell Design & Landscaping has all the materials you may need to make changes to your outdoor space. 

"We have a full landscape construction crew.  We've always done design-build work so that means that we can take it from zero to a complete finish and we can do renovation work as well.  The only thing that was missing from our landscape business was maintenance and so that's going to be starting in the spring.  We'll be doing mowing, dethatching, aerating, yard and bed clean-up, planting - whatever you need done in maintenance, we will have that division in the spring.  I've already got a manager hired for that," Leslie said. 

"We weren't supposed to grow anymore but we are still blooming," Leslie laughed. 

cornell design ppYou'll find Cornell Design & Landscaping 11 kilometres south of Moose Jaw along Highway #2.Leslie wants everyone in Moose Jaw and area to know they have all the materials you need for landscaping on-site along with a wonderful selection of plants that are ready for your home. 

"Yes, another one of the things that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people were staying home and Tropicals took off like crazy.  So, we have a large selection of Tropicals - we actually added an extra greenhouse and another 30 by 30 foot print to accommodate them.  It's a big part of the business now." 

And while many locally owned businesses and shops struggled and continue to struggle during the pandemic, Leslie is grateful her business didn't suffer.  In fact, she says business has been and still is thriving. 

"It's a little easier to say it now.  In 2020 we didn't really want to brag about how good it's been.  It's a good problem to have.  I felt so bad for everybody who was struggling and I know some still are but the gardening industry is strong.  It has really been resilient through all of the stress - I think because it makes you feel so good.  I think that's the big thing.  The way plants can heal your mind is amazing...just being around plants makes you feel good," Leslie said with a smile. 

And, while Cornell Design & Landscaping will close the store for the Holiday Season at the end of the day on Saturday, December 18th, Leslie says she and some of the staff will be operating a snow removal service this winter. 

"We haven't seen a lot of snow yet this winter but when it comes, make sure you have me on speed dial because we have a crew that will come and take care of the snow for you.  You can call per-incident (693 TREE) or you can set up a contract for the year, whatever works for you.  When you do it as a contract, you're going to get a better price because it's a package.  We know that we're going to see you every week so we can definitely do better pricing - there are lots of options," Leslie said. 

And when you do business at Cornell Design & Landscaping, you know you're supporting a local, family-operated business. 

"My husband, I've let him go back to his other job now, he works as a journeyman electrician in the wintertime but in the summer, he works with me.  He does probably about 90% of the estimating...he's a real asset to our team.  And then, my youngest daughter, Ronnie, she runs the store.  She does an amazing job.  She's admired by a lot of our customers." 

And while there's always some staff turnover, Leslie says when it comes to loyal employees, she's "very blessed". 

"I have people who come back every year and they enjoy their jobs...I'm very fortunate to have people who care about their jobs, they care about our customers and they're just great to have around." 

Cornell Design & Landscaping - open for your Christmas shopping through Saturday, December 18th.   

You can shop online at cornelltrees.com, call 693-TREE, or, even better, mask-up and shop in person - 11 kilometres south of Moose Jaw on the east-side of Highway #2. 

DiscoverMooseJaw.com is Moose Jaw's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

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