Subscribe to our Blogs

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

Friday
Oct172014

Winter Garden Preparation 


An application of anti-transpirant being made.

"Old Man Winter" is right around the corner and its time to prepare your planting beds for the harsh environment that is about to come.  As soon as we have a good hard frost it will be time to put your garden to bed for the winter.

How do we do that?  The first step in preparing your garden is cleanup and removal.  Cut back dry perennial stems down to the ground and remove any debris like leaves and branches.  Also, remove any summer annuals that are soon to be past their peak and fading fast.

Next, you want to put down a good natural insulating layer in the beds.  Shredded bark mulch is perfect for this.  This mulch layer will protect plants and soil over the winter months. Another good resource for your planting beds is to use the leaves that fall from your trees.  Grind the leaves up and distribute around the garden beds.

If you planted bulbs in your garden, it might be good idea to protect them too.  Using sod staples, pin down evergreen boughs over the bulb planting area to protect the soil from shifting and heaving due to frigid winter weather. The boughs also provide greenery in a mostly barren bed during the winter months and keep the squirrels at bay.

Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, it is a great time to prune your deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.  During this dormant time, it is easy to identify the natural form of the tree or shrub and prune accordingly. Pruning during the winter season helps the tree or shrub conserve its energy for the roots where it is well needed for survival.

Winter mulch is applied around the root system of a tree or shrub to help keep the ground from heaving in the frigid weather and also to provide nutrients in the spring.Many people think since there is snow on the ground that their plants are getting water. This is not true. With the ground frozen and lack of percolation and absorption, your plants struggle to survive during the winter. To protect your evergreen trees and shrubs from transpiration (losing moisture through the leaves), use an anti-desiccant (anti-transpirant) spray on the evergreen foliage.  This helps retain much needed water in the plant during the cold dry winter.

Finally, as the snow starts to fall, keep an eye out on evergreen trees and shrubs, the weight of the snow can snap the branches off.  After a large snow fall, knock the snow off the branches starting with the lower ones first.  If you start with the upper branches first, you add more weight to the lower ones and this may cause them to break off.

There are many other methods to protecting your valuable landscape plantings during the winter months. Let Goldberg and Rodler's team of professionals devise a plan that works best for your property to keep your landscape healthy. Call us now and plan ahead.

Written by Rich Lambert

Friday
Oct172014

Fall & Winter Services

As we put our yards and garden to sleep for the colder months, we should consider measures to protect our landscapes just as we do in the growing season. Plants slowly become dormant when temperatures drop. They still need vitals such as light, water, nutrients and pruning. Goldberg and Rodler can tailor a program for these specific needs.

Pansies give us an extended season of color in fall.

Early fall we still want to maintain our plants and gardens. Goldberg and Rodler can plant annuals for a last burst of color using Chrysanthemums, Cabbage, Kale and Pansies. Pansies do well in the cool months right through Thanksgiving. In late fall, cut down the perennials and remove all annuals. This is done after the first frost.  It is also the time to plant a variety spring bulbs. You’ll be glad this was done once the first sign of spring appears.

Fall is a good the time to core aerate the lawn and seed. This will get your spring lawn off to a good start. Keep your lawn clear of leaves since the lawn is still growing and needs the light for root development and color. Remember that a dry fall can be detrimental for broadleaf plants such as Rhododendron and Skip Laurel. Late season watering may be needed because the roots are still alive.

Winter preparation is a crucial part of your property which is sometimes put on the back burner. Cold harsh winds, frozen ground and snow have all damaged our properties in the past. We recommend an anti-desiccant applied to all broadleaf evergreens in November with a second application in January. This works as a waxy blanket film to decrease the evaporation of water from the leaves and the drying effect of winter winds. Winter mulch applied in December is composted manure with peat moss and should be applied around the base of the plants. This helps keep the plants from heaving in the winter and slowly releases organic nutrients for the plants to absorb when the ground thaws. Winter pruning is an ideal time to get your trees in shape. This not only helps with light and air circulation during the growing season but helps prevent wind blown branches and snow load damage. We have seen both in recent years. Be more proactive in the pruning care of your trees.

Please contact Goldberg and Rodler to discuss our fall and winter services.

 

Written by Rick Schneider

 

Page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 ... 19 Next 5 Entries »