Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Garden Designers Roundtable – Maintenance June 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — personalgardencoach @ 6:00 am
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Does this garden look low maintenance to you?

As The Personal Garden Coach, one of the TOP things that clients ask for most frequently is a “Low Maintenance” garden. My job is to ask a lot of questions, delve into the sometimes hidden meanings of key phrases and find out what this means to each individual gardener. It can have a HUGE number of variations.

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The idea of maintaining our landscape has different meaning to different people, depending on what your experiences and soft spots might be.  Here are a few of the hidden meanings behind this phrase “I want a LOW Maintenance landscape or garden.”:

1) My parents made me weed and mow the lawn as a kid, I don’t want to be in a position tobe “forced” into hard labor on my valuable weekend ever again.

2) We just removed a giant juniper and an over grown rhododendron that I’ve been hacking back now every year for the last 10 years and I don’t want to deal with THAT again.

3) Does it bloom? If so, I don’t want to deal with it.

4) I have a dog/deer that eats my landscape, I don’t want to deal with that.

5) I want my mow and blow guys to deal with it.

6) ***My personal favorite – Why can’t I put that 20 foot shrub/tree in the garden? I can just machete it to three feet right?

Once we have determined what exactly your specific “issues” are with maintenance, then we can get down to the nitty-gritty of the topic. HOW MUCH maintenance time are you willing to put into your landscape?

20 minutes per day after work with a glass of wine or a beer in hand?

Quickie weekend mowing, edging and catch a weed here and there?

One day per month, filling the yard waste bin and planting?

Full blown weekend warrior with projects like installing a terrace of pavers and
building an arbor after visiting the nursery in the morning?

It’s likely that you’re somewhere in the middle of all of those typical scenarios. My point is that we’re often not terribly conscious of what we really can or even want to commit to doing when it comes to caring for our landscape. Its really important that you’re realistic with yourself and what you will be up for when it comes to the weekly labor of love that it takes to care for a beautiful landscape.

On the flip side however, there are many people out there who also automatically assume that a particular landscape automatically MUST be a high maintenance and laborious place to be if it looks THAT great. I am here to tell you that it’s not so at all!

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A very low maintenance vignette

It’s all really about how you view your commitment of money, time and labor, right? I am forever telling my clients that I think it’s really un-cool for a plant to be taking up real estate space in my landscape, space that I’m paying a mortgage and taxes on, and this plant (whatever it might be) has the NERVE to send up suckers everywhere, bloom for MAYBE a month out of twelve, not have ANY interesting fall color and zero winter interest. Ugh…..

If I’m going to be spending MY money, time and labor on a plant or a planting plan for that matter, I want it to have as much bang for my buck as I can get. That’s at the heart of the idea of “right plant- right place” in my opinion. But, let’s also be certain not to forget that a low maintenance landscape is also set up for success before you have any maintenance problems anyway, right?

Proper plant spacing, efficient and effective watering techniques and above all, excellent soils and mulches that support your plant investment and deter weeds. This is the insurance policy that you take out when you are “Pro-active and not re-active” when it comes to maintaining your garden and landscape.

Cutting the lawnNow, there is such a thing as an “Over-maintained” landscape too. We’ve all seen that right? Hedges clipped to within and inch of their life. Trees pruned into strange and alien shapes. The space between the plants is SO aggressively raked that you can see the roots of the trees on the surface of the soil. This is a topic that I could spend days on by itself.

Maintenance of your garden or landscape is a commitment to consider for sure when you’re planning or remodeling. Be sure to take the care advice on plants from your local independent garden center sales person, county extension agent/master gardener or horticulturist. It will keep your expectations realistic and your goals achievable. Also, remember that what might SEEM low maintenance to one person might be an astronomically high investment in time and energy to another. That’s why good guidance is SO crucial!

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

 

Garden Designers Roundtable – Celebrating Trees May 28, 2013

The definition of Dendrolatry: Tree worship, refers to the tendency of many societies throughout history to worship or otherwise mythologize trees.

If that is true, then yes, I am hopelessly guilty. I admit it, I have had a close relationship with trees from a very young age. Trees have had a significant place in my life spiritually as well. But, then again, so has most of man for as long as we’ve been around. Here is a great link to learn more.

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Whether it is because of their inherent elegance, grace and majestic beauty…

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Or their winter interest….

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Or Autumn color against a blue sky…

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Or magnificent flower…..

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Foliage that can’t be denied…..

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A conifer of striking color and dimension…..

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Or simply a sacred place to rest and contemplate the world…

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Trees are magical, mystical and ever present beauties that we dare not take for granted. They are the life blood of this amazing planet that give us the oxygen to fill our lungs, paint our hearts with color and shade and heat our homes.

Planting a tree is the ultimate act of positivity about the future.

Tattoo 2013

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike: EnergyScapes Inc. : Minneapolis. MN.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Design Style Book May 15, 2013

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Book Review and Tool Give-Away Party: Indoor Plant Décor May 6, 2013

Book Review: Indoor Plant Décor

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by Kylee Baumle & Jenny Peterson

160 pages
St. Lynn’s Press, 2013
List Price: $16.95

This jewel of a book is not only a bountiful little purse-sized plant shopping companion to take with you to the greenhouse, it’s a style and inspiration powerhouse for your home’s houseplants. If you feel challenged by choosing plants for your home and bewildered by the array of choices, then Kylee and Jenny have your answers, by giving you the elements to succeed with 21st century charisma.
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Starting with a guide to eight décor styles to springboard from, readers will begin to understand what they can do to create the comfortable and warm feeling that the houseplants bring to your home. From Peaceful Zen to Vintage, each styleboard has gorgeous images and décor style ideas provide you with tips, tricks,  how-to’s and care instructions to bring your design ideas to life. Plus, they have taken great care to give options for low maintenance plants as well as options for those of you who are not afraid of a plant Diva or two.

Indoor Plant Décor really takes the idea of customizing your houseplant displays to another level of inspiration. With emphasis on textures, colors and home décor in addition to plant selection, this book takes a holistic approach to interior landscaping. Artwork, fabrics, lighting, flooring and more go into each carefully considered combination.

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In the care and feeding of plants section titled Practical Matters, Kylee and Jenny begin with the admission that they too have also killed houseplants, like the rest of us. They offer enthusiastic encouragement up, its OK, keep trying, no guilt here. How refreshing!

The Houseplants at a Glance sections are genius, laid out according to the ease of maintenance with such group titles as Easy Breezy, Moderately Manageable, and Design Diva’s the reader will find options for every location in the house.

Whether your design style is simple, traditional or wacky, you are going be so inspired with the ideas in Indoor Plant Décor you will want to get in your car and immediately head to your local greenhouse for some new plants to dress up your home!

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St. Lynn’s Press graciously supplied me with a copy of Indoor Plant Décor for my review but you can order your very own copy NOW on Amazon.com right here!

Kylee Baumle enjoys photographing gardens as much as she does tending to them. Her photos have been published in trade catalogs, garden magazines and books. She writes for several gardening publications, has a weekly local newspaper column on gardening and has appeared on America’s Web Radio show, America’s Homegrown Veggies, the web TV show, Garden World Report, and has been a guest host on the popular #gardenchat on Twitter. Kylee currently shares living space in rural Ohio with her husband, two cats, and over 200 plants in their house and conservatory.
Read Kylee’s great blog, Our Little Acre here!

Jenny Peterson lives in Austin, Texas. She is a landscape designer and freelance writer specializing in small spaces. Her deign work has bee featured in Garden Up! (Cool Springs Press, 2011) on vertical gardening, in Small-Space Container Gardens (Timber Press, 2012), and in Horticulture and Cottages & Bungalows magazines.  She is a horticulturist and a member of the Garden Designers Roundtable. She writes on her blog, J.Peterson Garden Design (www.jpetersongardendesign) and is a regional writer for Houzz.com.
Read Jenny’s fabulous blog here!

Excited about designing with houseplants? Want to win a GREAT tool for helping to care for your new plants? YES you do! Leave a comment on this post and you are automatically entered to win this lovely watering can for your houseplants courtesy of Master Gardner!
(Give-Away is open to US residents only)

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Master Gardner is giving away this adorable Stainless Steel Watering Can.

Also -

Several other bloggers are participating in this virtual book tour, each offering a different prize. Visit each blog and leave a comment on the giveaway post for a chance to win that prize. The more blogs you visit, the more opportunities for you to win some goodies!

Steve Asbell – The Rainforest Garden
Debra Lee Baldwin – Gardening Gone Wild
Carolyn Binder – Cowlick Cottage Farm
Shawna Coronado – Shawna Coronado
Charlotte Germane – Dirt Du Jour
Pam Penick – Digging
Stacy Risenmay – Not Just a Housewife
Erin Schanen – The Impatient Gardener
Rebecca Sweet – Gossip in the Garden

Robin Horton – Urban Gardens

 

A FAST Fine Foliage Give-Away! March 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — personalgardencoach @ 9:38 pm

FINE FOLIAGE GIVEAWAY

What do I win?

One signed copy of Fine Foliage

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Where?

On our blog www.fine-foliage.com (note the hyphen)

When?

Right now!! Drawing will take place at midnight Saturday March 16th PST and the book mailed out first thing Monday.

What do I do to enter?

Head over to www.fine-foliage.com and follow the link to sign up for our blog. It’s that easy! Everyone that is registered will be entered into a random drawing. The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours and the winners name will also be posted on the blog itself.

Christina and Karen Portrait

 

Gardener Give-Away! – Down to Earth Designed Apron March 11, 2013

Raw Matrials Utility Apron

Janna Lufkin from Raw Materials Design sent me this apron to try out and I immediately fell in love the minute I opened the box. This is no wimpy thing. It’s truly a tool in your arsenal for the gardener who is not easy on things. This is one TOUGH piece of fabric and sewing. This apron was even featured on the TODAY Show!

I’m NOT easy on tools or clothes when it comes to gardening. I have been through many many aprons. So, when I endorse a product like this, its because it truly does what I need, it stands the test of ME! Here is a link with an informative Q & A about Janna’s products and why she is SO passionate about them.

Here is a great pic of my friend Jessi Bloom wearing hers at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show! How cute is Jessi????? :-)

Jessi Bloom KIS Organics
Now you have two ways to get your very own Raw Materials designs apron too, you can simply go to this link and order one for yourself right now. OR you can WIN one of your very own!

Here are the contest rules:

1) Go to The Personal Garden Coach on Facebook and “Like” the page.

2) Post a photo of yourself showing everyone why YOU deserve to win the Raw Materials Apron here in the comments section or on the FB page.
Good Luck! May the dirt be with you!

 

Nancy Claire Guth “Electro Cute” at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show February 20, 2013

February 2013 Nancy Claire Guth NWFGS Display

Some designers are truly gifted at bringing creative ideas to life. Other designers are good at running a business and creating a loyal following of clients. Its uncommon in my experience to find both in one person. But, now I have found both in my new friend and colleague Nancy Claire Guth of Artistic Garden Concepts.

This year Nancy has created a Small Space garden featured on the sky-bridge at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  Her inspiration for this design began by upcycling a whole bunch of electric themed parts and other found objects, which is Nancy’s signature design secret. Clients will frequently ask for one of a kind, funky treasures to be featured in her design and she is more than happy to accommodate those requests. I am in awe of anyone who can take an old radiator heater and think to create a bench seat!! :-)

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In years past she has been a creator of a number of the large scale award winning gardens like this amazing Rain Garden at the 2011 NWFGS. Here is a cute video of Nancy Claire Guth being interviewed by Marianne Binetti at the show describing her amazing garden concept.

Join us at the show this year and see all of the amazing ideas that Nancy has included in her design for this year up close and personal. There are details on top of details that are SO crafty and creative. It will make you want to go find some treasure of your own to upcycle! Follow Nancy Claire Guth’s Artistic Garden Concepts page on Facebook too!

For more ideas, photos and general ogling of ALL of the details at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, follow me on Facebook at The Personal Garden Coach. I will be covering the WHOLE show!

 

 
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