English Cottage Gardens  — The Original Rambunctious Garden

Posted by & filed under English cottage garden, Garden Design, Gardens, Heirloom plants, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   Although it was never called by name, in retrospect I realize that my grandmother’s wild and free style of gardening that I talked about last week  — her rambunctious garden — was her personal version of what we would call an English cottage garden.      Cottage gardens can be traced …

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Life-long Gardening — Adaptations That Work

Posted by & filed under Adaptive Gardening, Health & Wellness, Nature and Stress Reduction, Uncategorized, Wellness Gardens

By Sandra Nelson   While wandering around the Chicago Botanic Garden last summer, I stumbled upon (no pun intended) an area dedicated to Accessible Gardening  — gardening for people with special needs or physical limitations.  Feeling my aches and pains more and more every day, the prospect of discovering ways to make strenuous gardening tasks …

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 Establish A Community – Part 4: Ecological Function, Aesthetic Form

Posted by & filed under Design, design process, Designed Plant Communities, ecosystems, Landscaping, Plant Communities, Planting Communities, Uncategorized

  Our modern perceptions of what a beautiful landscape looks like are not really our own ideas. They were in large part shaped by English landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their highly romanticized works interpreted for the public what landscape designers were providing for the wealthy upper class. Their paintings, like the …

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Establish A Community —    Part 3: Design Principles –  The Layered Look

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, Landscaping, Layers, Native groundcovers, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Plant Communities, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Vertical layers

  The technique of planting in layers is neither new or revolutionary. For years, designers have considered the front, middle and back as layers in residential bed design, making sure that the three layers work together harmoniously. Rainer and West, co-authors of the book Planting in a Post Wild World, add an additional dimension to …

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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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Establish A Community —  In Your Shade Garden   Part 1: What Is A Plant Community?

Posted by & filed under Garden Design, Gardens, Landscaping, Plant Communities, Uncategorized

I love lush beds of  hostas! I love the variety of colors and shapes and sizes and bloom stalks. I love how hardy they are and how little maintenance they need. Unfortunately, our neighborhood deer love them as much as I do. After losing plant after plant to their voracious appetites, I knew I had …

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Design Ideas To Keep Deer Away

Posted by & filed under deer, Deer resistant gardens, Design, Garden Design, Gardens, Landscaping, Uncategorized

I live in a divided neighborhood.    One-half thinks our resident deer are adorable while the other half (the gardeners of the group) fantasizes about turning them into venison. Being engaged in daily competition with the herd this entire summer for my hostas, daylilies and phlox, I have to admit I lean more to the …

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