Establish A Community —    Part 2: Design Principles –  The Site

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, landscape management, Landscape mistakes, Landscaping, Native Plants, Planting Communities, Uncategorized, Wild Plant Communities

For the past week my study of plant communities for shade gardens has led me into rereading Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s book Planting In A Post-Wild World. It’s an interesting read, a satisfying mix of philosophy and how-to advice for the novice as well as the professional who is looking for a way to …

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“Bee-Friending” Insect Populations

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Insects, landscape management, Native Grasses, Native Groundcover, Native Plants, Native Shrubs, Native Trees, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

  Insect populations around the world are rapidly declining. Within the next 20 years, 40% of the earth’s insect species may be extinct and within 100 years insects could disappear completely.   Insects are the foundation of the planet’s ecosystems. When just one type of insect disappears, dozens of other species, including humans, are directly …

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“Frenemies “ — Bugs, Your Garden and You

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, ecosystems, landscape management, Parasitic Insects, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Uncategorized

When I started my gardening career, and I hate to admit how many decades ago that was, dealing with bugs in the garden was easy. See a bug?  Kill it — preferably with a strong, extremely toxic chemical.            Today my relationship with bugs in the garden is much more complicated. …

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Why Just Landscape When You Can Rainscape?

Posted by & filed under Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, Landscaping, Native Plants, Rain Garden Plants, Rain Gardens, Rainscaping, Uncategorized, Water Management

It has been pouring here, off and on, for the last week. We seem to have a river running down the middle of the street and matching tributaries by each curb. I’m sure that the sewer system is struggling to keep up with the onslaught. Having seen the applicator trucks throughout the neighborhood the last …

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Digging into Dirt: Part 4, Nurturing the Soil

Posted by & filed under Fertilizer, Grounds Maintenance, Improving Soil, landscape management, Microbes, Microorganisms, Soil, Soil Health, Uncategorized

In 1937, after witnessing the havoc and economic desperation that the Dust Bowl had wreaked on our nation, Franklin D Roosevelt sent a letter to all of the governors of the United States, asking them to oversee the adoption of legislation that would create soil conservation districts. In his letter, Roosevelt wrote, “The nation that …

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Turning Dreams to Reality through the Design Process: Concept to Completion

Posted by & filed under design process, landscape management, Landscaping, Uncategorized

In my last blog, I mentioned that one of my favorite winter activities is thinking about the upcoming spring. More specifically it is dreaming about all the amazing things I will do to completely change the look of my yard. I have visions of creating a landscaping masterpiece that contains every element I have ever …

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Sustainable Landscapes — A Sense of Place and A Sense of Peace

Posted by & filed under Commercial Landscaping, Gardens, Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

Growing up in the middle of a large Midwestern city, my connection with nature was little more than a few minutes in our highly manicured yard, an occasional visit to a city park or a stroll through our botanical garden for the Christmas display. My family simply did not see the need to spend much time …

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The Case for Sustainable Landscaping

Posted by & filed under Commercial Landscaping, Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, Landscaping, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

At a recent presentation to a group of homes association property managers, my colleagues were asked why they were suggesting that changes be made in the landscapes resulting in sustainable landscaping for their properties. The potential clients questioned their logic, seeing the suggested changes as a path to planned obsolescence for Embassy; it seemed like …

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Planting in a Changing World – Part 2: Climate Change

Posted by & filed under climate, climate change, ecosystems, Gardens, landscape management, Phenology, Uncategorized, Water Management

Gardening has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother had beds of iris and grew roses in her St. Louis back yard, my father had a thriving vegetable patch in the former ash pit of our home and my grandmother always had annuals blooming next to her kitchen …

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Goals for Gardeners

Posted by & filed under Commercial Landscaping, Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, Landscaping, Site analysis, Site management, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

The first week of January always brings out an almost obsessive need to clean and organize my surroundings in preparation for the new year ahead. I usually attack the closets first and then move into the basement and garage storage in a frenzied attempt to achieve organizational nirvana. It drives my poor husband crazy because …

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