Saturday, June 11, 2011

Garden Consultations

Clematis 'The President'
Have you ever wanted to invite a gardening professional to your home to help you solve your landscape problems? Well, now you can. I am available to do gardening consultations in the Seattle area. I've been doing these "horticultural house calls," formally and informally, for 20 years and enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.

A garden consultation usually takes 1 to 1-1/2 hours and, depending on your needs, topics might include:

  • Garden restoration
  • Pruning- when and how
  • Plant identification
  • Lawn care
  • Compost & soil amendments
  • Fertilizing- when, how and with what
  • How to deal with pest and disease problems
  • Basic space planning and design questions
  • How to select the right plants for your gardening situation
In the years I've worked in the landscape industry, I've seen how many people spend too much money on trial and error. They buy tools they don't need, chemicals that aren't necessary and plants that aren't suited to their gardens. Let me help you avoid all of that. 
Cost: $60/hour, within the greater Seattle area

Plus a $15/hour charge for travel time for consultations outside West Seattle
Please Email me to schedule an appointment.
Thank you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Designing Gardens with Foliage Color

If you want color in your garden all year around, I suggest that you think in terms of foliage colors first and then use flower colors as accents.

Why not plan around flower color? Because the flowers of perennials and woody plants don't last very long. You wait all year to see those beloved peonies or rhododendrons or daylilies open up. When they bloom, the flowers last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks and then that's it for the year.

You can add color to the garden for a longer period using annuals, but replacing them every year and keeping them looking good can be an expensive and high maintenance project. 
To get ideas, look at gardens in your neighborhood. Here you see a lot of color and not a flower in sight! 

Visit public gardens, too. This photo was taken in the Coenosium Rock Garden at South Seattle Community College. The garden features an outstanding collection of conifers and look at all that color! There's the blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), the kelly green of the dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea g. albertiana 'Conica'), yellow green of deodar cedar (Cedrus deodora), and pines (Pinus sp.) in various shades of green.

Foliage color may be deciduous like the purple smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria), or evergreen like the heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica 'Moon Bay') shown above. 

Look also for variegation in foliage, like this iris.
Many plants have colored edges on their leaves, like Daphne 'Carol Mackie' or Hebe 'Red Edge.'

And don't forget grasses. Here you see Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) on the right and bronze leather leaf sedge (Carex buchananii) at the left. If you want more blue in your landscape, look for blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) or blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue').

Need more ideas? "Consider the Leaf: Foliage in Garden Design," by Judy Glattstein goes much more in depth. She writes in a comfortable, conversational style, making it enjoyable to learn from her about how to bring lots of color with less effort into your garden.