Thursday, September 30, 2010

My day at the office.

Addition to existing bed.

I got to remove more grass from the planet today! I love that. This was an addition to an existing bed.

That's better.

It really is so nice to take a few plants from a nursery and put them together in a garden and at the end of the day think, you should have always been there!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lewis Landscape Renovation

Before picture 1.

I was recently asked to redesign the landscape for the front of this great house. Like many older homes, many of the original plants around the home had outgrown their space. Old Holly bushes and green monkey grass gone wild, had outlived their usefulness and needed to go! It appeared that the previous owner had added additional plant material in an effort to improve the overall appearance but the end result was a landscape that just further hid the beauty of the house. Not many landscapes last forever and sometimes it just takes a rip out and redo to get the correct scale back.

Before picture 2.

Often with older landscapes there is quite a bit of plant material that can be re purposed in the new design. This garden came with ample quantities of nandina, boxwood, Knockout Roses, and a few really nice Burning Bush Euonymus. They just all happened to be in the wrong places!

Before Picture 3.

These two big holly bushes in the back had lost their shape years ago. They had to go. Let me tell you, they did not go easily! One holly on the far left corner of the house (not shown in this pic.) had grown tall enough to be trimmed up into tree form and left in place.

After Picture 1.

After basically everything except for the Dogwood and Holly on the far corner were removed, quite a bit of it went right back into their new spots. Two new Oakland Holly were place on both sides of the entrance. The boxwood went back in but this time at the back of the beds close to the house. Then the new plant material went in. Japanese Maples, Coral Fashion Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Gold Mound Spirea, Dwarf Hamlin Grass, Blue Rug Juniper, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, and the much tamer Variegated Liriope will add year round color and interest to the garden. The existing roses and nandina then went back in throughout the landscape.

After Picture 2.

The new landscape accentuates the house without hiding it. As the seasons pass, many of the plants will bloom adding seasonal interest. The addition of annuals, pansies for fall through spring, will really punch up the color. Many of these plants will also have fantastic fall foliage.

After Picture 3.

This new landscape, even without annuals, has much greater plant diversity and looks clean and neat while still looking natural. This home just got a face lift! ;o)

2 month follow up on the brother's garden

27th Place update.

It's been about 2 months since we installed the landscape at my brother's house. Things are really filling in and it appears that Little Bit is getting a little less camera shy!

Colocasia 'Black Magic'

Plant combinations.

One of my favorite edible landscape annuals, the fish pepper. This is an heirloom pepper in the cayenne family. It is easily grown from seed each year and I think the plant is as attractive as the flowers in the garden. Because it is mostly white, it mixes well with just about anything and you get peppers to cook with as well. It does not seem to be bothered by any pests.

Plant combinations.
The blue plant in the center is Juniper 'Grey Owl'. Many people have strong opinions about Junipers. This one really adds a nice evergreen texture to the mix and truly does have silvery blue color that adds interest to plant combinations. The plant at the bottom of the picture with the small purple flowers is Mexican Heather. This is a great annual that is never without flowers. In mild winters is may return the following year but not something that you can count on. Still, just a few sprinkled throughout the garden add a calming cool color to the landscape.

We finally dug those rocks out of the back yard to make a path to the water! Use what you have.
Plant combinations.
If you look close you can see that we are going to get one Hydrangea bloom before winter sets in! This Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' should be fantastic next year. The elephant ear has been very happy.

New Plants.
We installed this landscape during the blistering heat of this last summer. My brother was great at keeping the water on everything and we only lost one plant. An arborvitae just burnt up so I moved a few plants around and added this new plant that I have not grown before. It is Gardenia 'Jubilation' from the Southern Living plant collection. It is a re blooming double gardenia that is said to be hardy to 0 degrees! We shall see. It is covered with buds at the moment so at the very least we will have a great crop of blooms this fall. I picked up one for my yard also and will update on how this plant performs.
Thanks everyone for following and remember, fall is a perfect time to get that new landscape in! Give Discover Eden a call if your ready for a new garden. 402-4955

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oklahoma Magazine, August 2010
Check out the August issue of Oklahoma Magazine. Garden Masters Article

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Landscaping my brother's yard

27th place front yard before.

My brother finally took the plunge a couple of months ago and bought his first house! What we had in the front yard was a large hedge of Burning Bush Euonymus that hid most of the front of the house and some small beds with left over mums from last year. There was also a long strip of sod between the drive and side walk that served no real purpose except for the future prospect of quite a bit of edging and just more space to mow. Often with old landscapes there are old, over grown shrubs.The first thought may be just to rip them all out. In some cases they can be trimmed up into tree form and reused in a new way in the landscape. I dug up the new beds, leaving one euonymus to anchor the side of the house, and moved another euonymus with the best shape into the bed along the drive. These two, along with having amazing red fall color, also saved us the cost of two trees. They may look a little sparse at the moment but with time a little training they should make nice accents and be an unusual feature in the garden.

Re using existing shrubs in the garden in new ways.

The tree on the left side of this picture is one of the existing Euonymus that made up the large hedge in front of the house. While it was part of the hedge it was topped off to make a uniform hedge. Now that it has it's own space the canopy should fill out and with a little effort to trim off low growing suckers that may appear at first, this should make a nice small tree for this garden.

Garden from a different angle.

From this angle you can see the new flowing, more natural shape of the front bed. Anchoring the left side is another of the trimmed up euonymus left in it's original position. A Crepe Myrtle was added to form a trio of trees. The 'bones' of the landscape are made up of conical Arborvitae and Dwarf Alberta Spruce for structure. The garden also contains 'Midnight Flare' Azaleas (large almost black red flowers in the spring), Russian Laurel, Grey Owl Juniper, Gold Mound Spirea, Knock Out rose, Dwf Hamlin fountain grass and Stella D'oro Daylilys.

View of bed along drive.

The new garden along the drive brings the landscape right down to the street and gives the yard a more cohesive feel. A thought about plant placement in new landscapes. The majority of shrubs used in new landscapes will be 3 to 5 gallon plants as shown in these beds. The impulse for most people seems to be to get complete coverage right from the start. I think it is important, if you want ultimately a more natural looking landscape, to really pay attention to ultimate sizes of the plants you are planting. At the least, most plants will mature at around 3' by 3'! They have to have some space to grow when planted. Plants placed too close together will be forced to grow straight up with little or no natural shape and will need much more trimming often resulting in "box shaped" shrubs. I know of nothing in nature that grows in the shape of a moving box! ;o) To fill in space until plants mature I added annual Vinca (periwinkle) to these gardens. As plants mature, the need for annuals will be reduced to just adding a pop of color in a few spots. When choosing shrubs for a landscape, consider getting the most bang out of the shrubs as you can. Different leaf texture, colors of foliage (grey, blue, red, yellow), and evergreen or deciduous. The azaleas used in this garden along with many other also turn a nice burgandy in winter, the euonymus a brilliant red, and the Crepe Myrtle, burgandy red and orange, in the fall. By having lots of variety in your shrub border, you've gone a long way in creating a visually interesting garden with or without the addition of flowers.

Garden view from the street.

Even newly planted and in it's infant stage, I think this landscape now opens up the view of the house and complements rather than hides the home.

Little Bit!

My brothers Yorkie, Little Bit was there helping all along. She is very camera shy!

Little Bit 2

I swear you would think I was pointing a gun at her. ha ha

Red Rocket Crepe Myrtle

This landscape is only a couple of weeks old. I will continue to post pics of it's progress. Thanks for reading! ;o)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

A few great summer annuals!

Hibiscus Manihot (Annual yellow hibiscus)
One of my favorite annuals and one not often seen in many gardens. This is a big plant. The one in the picture is growing over my privacy fence. The blooms are butter yellow and look like okra blooms (to which they are related) except they are 4 -6" across and stay open all day. This is an easy annual to grow. It is root hardy farther south but here returns each year from seed.

Profusion Zinnias
Most everyone, myself included, loves a Zinnia! Those big old fashioned blooms on tall plants are really great at the start of the season but then as summer goes on here comes the powdery mildew and gangly plants toppling over. Profusion zinnias solve all that. Little or no disease, constant flowering on compact plants with no dead heading and strong color! Colors include orange, shown here at the base of the fence, yellow to peach, white, and dark pink or rose.

Many colors and forms of this plant from upright bushes to low sprawling ground covers. Occasionally these will winter over here becoming perennial.

Tradescanthia Variegata (Pink) Common name Moses-in-a-boat
This is a plant your grandmother probably knew. It is beautiful in pots or in the ground and then can be brought inside as a house plant for the winter. In spring, just pull apart individual plants and re-plant outside where they will quickly fill in. Not a plant for tropical areas as they can be very invasive. Some say they are also irritating to pets skin so use with caution where your pets may be able to get into them.

Iresine Herbstii (Beefsteak plant)
Great annual for season long color. Needs some protection from late afternoon sun to prevent leaf scorch. This plant, like coleus, roots easily in water. Can be grown as a house plant in a sunny window in winter and then rooted cuttings can be planted back into the garden when the weather warms up.

Cleome (Spider Flower)
A summer annual that has been around in cottage gardens for a long time. This is one of those pass along flowers that is passed from friend to friend or neighbor to neighbor. Grows easily and quickly from seed. Can be rather tall so back of the border or leaning over the garden fence works well. Colors vary from white to purple or rose and combinations will show up from year to year. One warning, spider flower will re-seed with a vengeance but unwanted seedlings pull out easily and you can also dead head the seed pods through the summer if you have lots of time on your hands. ;o)

Basil 'Purple Ruffles'
Great color in the flower garden or pot and makes a great pesto to boot!

Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'
Great filler plant for pots or in the garden. Looks very much like babies breath in my opinion. One of the plant it and forget it annuals. Constant bloom with little or no care. Great back drop for more dramatic flowers and foliage. There are many members of the euphorbia family one of which is the Christmas poinsettia. The white milky sap that comes from a broken stem is a type of latex so if you have an allergy to latex or are sensitive to contact with poinsettias use caution when handling. Most people have no reaction but thought I'd put that out there.