With a slight break in the streak of hot, humid weather we’ve had this summer, I’m finding myself spending more time outdoors, especially in the evenings when the sun crosses over the house and onto the street side. The last few nights I have found myself playing the “What if….” game. What if I added night lighting to my landscape?
My flower gardens were at their peak. They had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms were as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies flocked to my zinnias. It was the fleeting time of year gardeners celebrate.
Dan Nelson and his talented staff at Embassy Landscape Group have been designing and installing award-winning landscapes for over 50 years. While I stand in awe of their abilities to see the potential for beauty in an unfinished space, I have also seen the extensive benefits a savvy client adds to the process. To make sure that you get the most from your design consultation, here are some elements to consider before you meet.
Now that Spring is firmly within reach, it is my signal to take my wintertime garden dreams and turn them into realistic plans that I can actually achieve. Through the years however, I have learned that I usually need help in designing and installing my major landscaping projects. Too many times I have either found that what I envisioned in my mind did not really translate well in my yard and I needed someone to help me fix it, or I was totally overwhelmed and out of my depth when I started planting and needed someone to install it. This year, since I am dealing with both renovating parts of an existing front landscape and creating an entirely new backyard environment, I decided to work with a professional.
This roller coaster of a winter has been a nightmare for gardeners here in mid-Missouri. One day, the thermometer reads 16 below zero and you are spreading ice melt so that the mail carrier can make it up the driveway to the mail slot. Then, a mere four days later, it is a balmy 58 degrees and you’re in the yard seriously thinking about getting a jump on your spring gardening chores. Before you begin pulling weeds, spading the garden, doing some trimming or raking up those piles of dead leaves, I have a piece of advice for you. DON’T. Just don’t. The urge to get in some early gardening chores can backfire on you. At its worst, jumping the landscaping gun can cause real harm to your landscape, or at the very least, you could wind up having to repeat what you’ve already done. Neither is a particularly pleasant outcome.
This year, I’ve decided to get some expert advice on Seasonal Color plantings. Jo Ann Prieto, Embassy’s Horticulturist and Seasonal Color Manager, took time to walk me through some of the basics of planning and planting sensational seasonal color beds. I especially wanted to spend time talking with Jo Ann because in the 6 ½ years she has been with Embassy Landscape Group, she has transformed their seasonal color department from a “yes, we can add a few annuals” operation to one of the most creative and well respected in the Kansas City area. Whether she’s designing for one of Kansas City’s premier commercial properties or for a private residence, Jo Ann strives for excellence.
One of the problems with winter garden maintenance is that many best practices are often dependent on location, weather conditions and plant species. While this makes it difficult to provide hard and fast rules for everyone, there are a few wintertime maintenance dos and don’ts that hold true regardless of where you live. To help the newer gardeners this winter, we’ve put together a short list of some important winter do's and don'ts.
Creating winter planters can seem like a daunting task to those of us who are not design gifted by nature. Luckily, there are some basic principles that can help the most non-creative of us put together a spectacular outdoor display that ushers in the holidays and with just a few minor adjustments now and then can bring cheer to the long winter months.