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Friday
Jan302015

Designing an Old Fashioned Garden

A week after Super Storm Sandy, my husband and I purchased a 120 year old Victorian house on a secluded ½ acre of property in Northport.  Restoring the house was my husband’s priority.  My focus was to create an old world setting that lent itself to the historical architecture of the late 19th century without the formality, elegance and maintenance associated with the ‘Victorian Garden’.

A view from the porch into an old-world garden, featuring a fragrant lilac.

Before getting into the process of designing the garden, we needed to consider the plants appropriate for an old fashioned garden.  We considered several ornamental trees including dogwoods, Japanese styrax, magnolia and cherries.  Lilac, hydrangea, boxwood, viburnum, holly and roses were on the short list of shrubs.  Old fashioned perennials would include bleeding hearts, phlox, peony, bearded iris, lady’s mantle, balloon flower, perennial geraniums, daylily, baptista and lily of the valley just to name a few.  When considering an annual list, you would have a hard time coming up with flowers that are not considered old fashioned.  It is safe to say most any annual would work so long as you plant in large masses of one color.  Take creative license when including newer varieties of old fashioned plants, especially shrubs like hydrangea and roses.  Newer varieties of hydrangea come in a multitude of colors and most rebloom throughout the summer and early fall, especially when deadheaded regularly.  Knock out roses and carpet roses come in incredible colors also re blooming from mid spring to late fall.  Personally I love the double flowering and the blush pink varieties of knock out roses and the coral and amber carpet roses.  There is a carpet rose called ‘Scarlet’, and if you’re a fan of red flowers, this one is a must have.  The combination is breathtaking when planted next to Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’. 

Border of purple hydrangea

The first stage of this project was to evaluate the existing plants and decide what to remove, transplant or leave alone.  We kept several old hydrangea along a fence that bloom the most incredible shade of deep purple.  They took my breath away!  An old lilac, a weeping cherry, Japanese maple and all the healthy mature trees also remained.  Other plants that did not fit into the ‘old fashioned’ theme like euonymus, pachysandra and Alberta spruce, were removed and donated to friends and neighbors.

The next stage involved redesigning the brick driveway. Then we added a serpentine irregular bluestone walk to open the view of the wraparound porch and an irregular bluestone terrace to give the appearance of agelessness.  Once the masonry was complete, the garden beds were defined, amended with compost and rototilled.  Now the fun began…planting!!!   

Screening an ugly stockade fence along one side of the property was the first priority.  A mixed border of Nellie Stevens Hollies, English laurels, Ilex crenata and varieties of Viburnum were chosen, all having an old fashioned aspect and lots of texture, with the bonus of berries for winter interest.  The foreground plantings included Hydrangea varieties ‘Endless Summer’, ‘Teller’s Blue’ and ‘Annabelle’,  a tree form Hydrangea ‘Pee Gee’, Abelia ‘Rose Creek’, Platycodon grandiflora, lots of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and coral carpet roses with an old bird house as a focal point in the garden.

A planting composition of Pee Gee Hydrangea, Platycodon and coral carpet rose.

The foundation planting included Ilex ‘Dragon Lady’ and several varieties of boxwood as hedges, groupings and single specimens for evergreen structure.  For color, groupings of Hydrangea ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Endless Summer’ were planted with a mass of Hydrangea ‘Mini Penny’ surrounding an old dwarf lilac adding a wonderful fragrance along the porch for several weeks in the early spring! 

Spring in Northport is just weeks away and I can hardly wait!

Written by Maria Morrison-Ferrero

 

If you would like to get in touch with Maria please contact her via email: maria@goldbergandrodler.net

Friday
Jan232015

Project of the Month: Seaside Sustainability

LINLA Gold Award Winner 2014: Seaside Sustainability

 

We are proud to showcase our Gold Award winning project Seaside Sustainability, recognized by an esteemed panel of Long Island judges, for its unique environmentally sensitive solution in combination with a dynamic seaside aesthetic.
 A waterfront property can be captivating, entertaining, and breathtaking while showcasing the wonders of nature and her natural amenities.  However, there are risks associated with living on the water’s edge.  


Here is where you can watch the tides go by in a secluded seating area that is encapsulated by an aesthetically pleasing and functional design.

As many people know, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought with it a wave of destruction and chaos.  Tidal surges and winds were the major environmental forces that have now reshaped the landscape of this Hewlett Harbor property and many communities throughout the south shore of Long Island.

The waterfront perspective has been completely re-imagined into a passive use garden. A Hollywood juniper survived the storm and stands strong in the background.

A landscape we designed many years ago was one of the many in Sandy’s devastating path.   Tidal surge and prolonged salt water inundation during the storm compromised much of the plantings and all of the lawn.  Large trees were uprooted by strong winds and flooding was a major issue on this site. A once pristine waterfront retreat had become a horticultural nightmare and remained susceptible to future damage.  Disheartened by the damage to their property, the homeowners were contemplating selling their home to cut their losses.  Our professional design team worked with the homeowner to provide a sustainable solution by creating a more resilient landscape which they were going to use as a selling point when the house eventually went on the market.  The homeowner’s main concern was flooding in the lower level of their home and keeping the property lawn-free.  Our design initiative was to create a more sustainable landscape by implementing natural stormwater management practices, while being sensitive to the homeowner’s naturalistic and organic needs.  

The backyard has now become a series of interconnected spaces with an emphasis on planting.A revitalized waterfront landscape with an organic vegetable garden and gravel walkways.

 

 

A revived natural landscape shines through with a lush plantscape and ornamental birdhouse.The evolution of the planting design on the property was a result of input from our client and consideration of the coastal environment.  We planted trees, shrubs and perennials that are salt and wind tolerant that will endure many of nature’s challenges while offering a variety of colors and textures throughout the year.  Salt tolerant evergreens such as Eastern Red Cedar and Hollywood Juniper were planted for privacy screening on both sides of the property without compromising the spectacular water views.  Shrubs such as Shore Juniper and Winterberry were planted along with Dwarf Fountain Grass and Little Bluestem along the water’s edge to frame and enhance the water views from the house, patios, and bulkhead sitting areas.  We repurposed an existing formal rose garden that was trashed by the storm into a bountiful organic vegetable garden within a circular paver design to retain interest during all seasons. 

These landscape renovations were recently put to the ultimate test during a record rainfall when the high tide breached the bulkhead and started flooding our client’s landscape.  As the hours moved on and the tide moved in, all floodwater that moved into the site was diverted away from the house and infiltrated the ground as planned.  The success of a sustainable landscape can only be measured during extreme weather conditions, and this design proved its effectiveness and resiliency.  

The final overview of a resilient landscape design that combines both form and function to create a lush and entertaining waterfront lifestyle.

Written by Nick Onesto

Pictures by Susan Sotera

 

Monday
Jan192015

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: Color

Cool white and purple mixed with hot yellow and red beautifully contrast each other for summer. I often use the perennial Dusty Miller in my annuals arrangements. It lasts a long time and gives the other plants a beautiful foliage accent.This is the first in a series of articles on landscape design principles and elements of composition. There are many different principles of good landscape design. Color, texture, scale, light and shadow all contribute to making an outdoor space enjoyable. Landscapes are customizable and unique site conditions can offer both inspiration and a challenge. One of the most frequent requests I hear when establishing a program for a client is, “I want color!” My clients derive great joy from sitting in their backyards surrounded by shrubs and perennials bursting with color or to look out your kitchen window and glimpse annual flowers threading through the landscape. There is a veritable rainbow of summer flowering annuals to choose from every year, but they’re not the only option for color in your landscape.

Black-Eyed Susan 'Goldsturm' on fire in a mass.There are different color tones you can use to set the feel for a garden’s color palette. Soft pastel tones or hot vibrant colors, cool colors like blue and purple, even white and green count in the garden and can change the feel of the space. On the softer side, great for cottage and perennial gardens, pale pastel pink Astilbe ‘Erika’ brightens up a shady area. The creamy, buttery tones of Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ and Daylily ‘Happy Returns’ show off pastel yellows for summer sun.

If you want a landscape on fire in full sun, interwoven groupings of saturated oranges, reds and yellows play off each other perfectly. A mass of pure yellow Black-Eyed Susan ‘Goldsturm’ backed by the deep red Coneflower ‘Tomato Soup’ with golden yellow Daylily ‘Stella D’Oro’ along the front border of the bed highlights the hot tones of summer.

Classic blue Hydrangea bordering a wooded area define the edge of the space.On the opposite end of the spectrum, cool off with a purple or blue flowering shrub like whimsical purple flowering Buddleia or classic blue Hydrangea, putting cooler, deeper colors into the landscape.  Purple and blue need a bright hue to highlight their best. Yellow and orange compliment blue and purple very well but white is often forgotten as a color. Add some bright white New Guinea Impatiens for a cool twist along the border or plant a white Pee Gee hydrangea to punctuate a mass of periphery planting.

Green is an often overlooked color in the landscape. A deft eye is necessary to highlight greens rather than letting them fade into the background. Edges of a wooded area can be softened with rhododendrons and azaleas and then transition into more organized groupings of perennials and ground covers as the bed meets a maintained lawn. Hydrangeas can offer a lush border while keeping a naturalistic feel to the edge of a wooded area. 

Although it is used mainly as a shade plant, Hakonechloa will take some sun. Paired with Red Knockout Roses, the lime green foliage and red roses really complement each other.Color is more challenging in a shaded area. Flowers tend to do their best work with more light but there are some standout shade plants that have a lot to offer. There are a lot of shade flowering perennials and shrubs and color isn’t just about flowers; foliage comes in many colors! Japanese Painted Fern, Hakonechloa, and coral bells (which have their own rainbow of cultivars to choose from) will brighten up any shady space. Again, don’t overlook the power of white in the landscape. White flowers or foliage in a shady area brightens up the darkest spots. Variegated Liriope, many different cultivars of variegated Hosta and white flowering perennials like Bleeding Heart, Hellebore, and Gallium (Sweet Woodruff) are all options for shady spots.

Color is an important consideration in the overall context of your garden and needs to be thoughtfully integrated with the other elements of good composition introduced earlier. In my next article I’m going to highlight textures in the landscape so don’t miss it! 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Pictures by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Friday
Jan162015

Southern Pine Beetle – Is This the Next Evergreen Epidemic? 

In 1985, Hurricane Gloria blew through Long Island and after all of the devastation and destruction, it left behind a longer lasting legacy on one of our favorite evergreens. Up until then Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) was a Long Island favorite for screening. A little pest known as woolly adelgid has been ravaging our population of hemlocks ever since.

Now a new pest with an unknown potential for damage and devastation to our pines and spruces in addition to our already stressed hemlocks has been discovered on Long Island. The Southern Pine Beetle. This destructive little bug has worked its way north. Three separate manifestations have been noted in Suffolk County, a first for New York State. Our pine barrens and even the evergreens on our property may be at grave risk.

Southern Pine Beetle tracks on the cambium layer after bark has fallen off.Here on Long Island, the preferred host for this destructive pest is pitch pine, however all types of pine, spruce and even our currently ravaged hemlocks may be susceptible. If you have any of these evergreens on your property, be vigilant. Have your property inspected by an arborist or horticulturalist that is aware of the telltale signs that this beetle may be present. Scattershot pattern holes or popcorn shaped clumps of resin on the exterior bark of the evergreens, or an S-shaped web of tunnels under loosened bark (see picture) are a few signs to be aware of in affected trees. Affected pine trees usually show discolored needles. By the time the needles are turning color or large chunks of bark start to fall off, it may be too late to save those trees. You may be able to salvage other trees on your property with quick action.

Our certified arborists, professional landscape designers and certified nursery professionals will conduct a complimentary inspection of your evergreens to help ensure the integrity of the landscape. If you have any questions, just call our office at (631) 271-6460 or email us and we'll be happy to help you.

 

Written by Sal Masullo

Friday
Dec122014

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Gardener in Your Family

Holiday cheer is in the air. Merry Christmas from Goldberg and RodlerAs our days become shorter and a little colder, you know what is coming next, so no moaning or groaning while you are in the middle of holiday shopping.  Now is the time to start strategizing as we lay a fire in our fireplaces and turn up the heat in our homes.  The holidays are about family and friends, and of course presents, lots of presents!  To keep in the gardening holiday fun, check out the gift ideas that our staff at Goldberg & Rodler has come up with for that gardening family member or friend.

Seed Starting

Winter is a great time for going through seed catalogs and planning your flower or vegetable garden.  A gathering basket (wire bottom) or a wicker basket has a duel purpose, one, it makes an excellent container for filling with seed starting goodies, and then it becomes a harvest basket, filling  it with all those vegetables and flowers that will be growing.  Some of the seed starting goodies you can fill it with can be seed starting tray, bag of seed starter soil, gloves, seeds, plant markers, mister water bottle and a book on gardening or a vegetable cookbook. 

Perennial Gardener

If you are gathering a gift for a perennial (that’s the plant that comes back every year) gardener, fill a small red wagon, specifically useful for pulling fertilizer, tools or plants around the garden, full of planting tools.  Metal plant markers with a grease marker so they can label their perennials, pruners, sheep shears, a small digging shovel, gloves, a garden kneeler, butterfly house, a lightweight hose, gardening clogs or boots, and a great perennial gardening book, are some of the things every gardener could use.

Happy Chanukah from Goldberg and Rodler

Organic Gardener

For that organic gardener, what better container to fill up with presents but a rain barrel or composter!  Organic gardening books, certified organic seeds, a bee skep, mushroom growing kit, birdhouse and/or a bat house are some of the presents to fill that container.  There is also the indoor composter that sits on your kitchen counter, so in winter you can still add to the organic garden.  The folding seat that is a tool bag is also very useful too.

Some of the lightweight gifts can also be a gift certificate from Goldberg & Rodler for us to come to your home and walk with you around your garden(s), consulting about what should and could be done.

Written by Mary Catherine Schaefer Gutmann

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