I Love You Dad and I Am So Proud Of You!

Concannon's groundskeeper has created a magical garden of characters. - San Jose Mercury News

My dad is in the news paper and the san jose mercury news!!! this is what was written about him...

LIVERMORE -- Quickly moving around the thin branches of the Concannon Vineyard's shrubbery, Ernesto Hernandez only needs a few seconds to sculpt his latest creation. A swift, surgeon-like snip here and there with his pruning shears, a few inches of the thin green tape used to tie bundles in the vineyard, and Hernandez has turned a normal bush into something new. "This will probably be a chicken," Hernandez said proudly as he stepped away and watched the branches of his newest artwork settle in place. "Just give it a few more months, let it grow a bit and then I will start to trim it. It takes about two or three years to get something really nice." The olive tree's chicken-shaped branches are relatively leafless, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of what the 58-year-old Livermore native is imagining down the road -- but his previous work speaks for itself. Near the entrance of the vineyard stands a towering dinosaur. Made on Hernandez's favorite canvas -- an olive tree -- it looms over the vineyard's entrance gate and peers down at cars as they turn down Concannon's dirt road. The dinosaur is between 16 and 18 years old, Hernandez said. And all over the vineyard grounds there are dozens of his designs in all shapes and sizes -- hearts, wine jugs and people, all with a whimsical Dr. Seuss-type style. Kevin Baskin, the Livermore winery's facility manager and engineer, said Hernandez was given the "green light" to be creative with the vineyard shrubbery a long time ago.

"It's just one of the things he really likes to do," Baskin said. "Most of the time, people come and ask what the things are. They really like to take pictures of the designs."

Hernandez started as a regular gardener when he began working on the winery grounds 28 years ago--- mostly pruning and operating machinery. Now the topiary enthusiast is the lead groundskeeper for the 128-year-old vineyard.

When pondering whether or not Hernandez will one day lose his desire to continue to design new projects on the vineyard grounds, Baskin said he could not imagine that happening.

"I think he's here until he retires," Baskin said with a laugh. "This is something he just really enjoys."

Hernandez never took topiary classes. He never studied the methods of a topiary predecessor on the Concannon grounds. He never even opened a book to study the practice. Instead, he has spent the better part of two decades using what he knew as a gardener and transferring it to a discipline which required much more patience.

"I can see things in the plants now even before I start trimming them," he said. "I just taught myself over the years how to get it right."

Some of the upcoming designs the self-taught topiary specialist plans to execute over the next few months include a husband and wife standing together near Concannon's wine tasting room and a dinosaur pal for the one by the gate.

"I started making some of these designs at my house about 11 years ago, when I first bought it," Hernandez said. "Now my friends who see them at my house or see my work here, they ask me to do some for them. I always do and I always do it for free. It's just something I really enjoy."

Check out this slide show of my dads work {HERE!}

~I called my dad and told him how proud I was of him and that am seeing him on the computer as we speak. He was saying, "si mija, ya se que no mas so el gardner pero le echo ganas a qual quier trabajo que tenga. Se siente bonito que te reconoscan el trabajo que les a echo." translation- "yes, my daughter. I know I am just a gardner, but whatever work I do I put my all into it. It feels nice to get recognized on the work I have and am doing for this company."  When he was saying this to me, three verses popped into my head... 1st one... Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." 2nd...  Proverbs 11:18 "The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward." 3rd... Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

I  love you dad!!!!


  1. That is so amazing! You're dad is so wonderful with his work :)

  2. SO awesome! Your dad is so very talented. I'm so happy for him. I LOVE YOUR DAD :)


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