Designing Beds That Delight

Posted by & filed under Design, design process, Designed Plant Communities, Garden Design, Gardens, Layers, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   I don’t know how you are handling stress these days, but I find myself drawn more and more to my yard. When I feel anxiety building, I stroll through the yard, stopping every few seconds to discover the changes from the day before and to soak in the calming power of …

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Spring Clean-Up, The Environmentally Friendly Way

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Causes of Insect Decline, Insects, Predatory Insects, Spring clean-up, Uncategorized

 By Sandra Nelson   We had a quick taste of spring this past weekend.    It was warm and sunny and people in our neighborhood were out in full force taking advantage of the beautiful days to begin their spring yard clean-up. Leaves were raked and bagged, perennials chopped back to the ground, trees were …

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Right Plant, Right Place

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, ecoregions, ecosystems, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

  We went from a yard that had rich, loamy soil and the perfect amount of gentle morning sun to living on top of a defunct rock quarry that sits in deep shade for most of the day until it roasts  in the worst hours of the midwest afternoon sun. Finding plants that survive in …

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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 Your Perfect Pathway

Posted by & filed under Design, Garden Design, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Pathways, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

My granddaughter and I were playing in the backyard the other day. One minute she was chasing me and laughing and the next she was frozen in one spot with huge tears streaming down her cheeks. I figured her brother had something to do with it (not unusual),  but it turned out that I was …

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Patience Is the Key To A Successful Butterfly Garden

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Butterfly Gardens, Design, design process, Designing for Butterflies, Insects, Landscaping, Native Plants, Nectar Plants, Uncategorized

One of my favorite things to do this summer is to quietly sit on my deck, watching dozens of butterflies floating through the yard enjoying the nectar buffet I’ve planted. This is the first year that I’ve had a steady stream of visitors and it feels like the time, effort and money I’ve put into …

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