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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

 

Friday
Oct172014

Project of the Month

Goldberg and Rodler broke ground this summer on a full scale residential landscape revitalization in Port Washington.  The conceptual design phase started over a year ago and is now being realized in physical form.  Given the size of the project and its many components, various permits were required by the town to allow the early 20th century house to be brought up to current codes and regulations. 

Forms are put in place before concrete is pouredRichard Schneider, a Landscape Architect at RS Designs, partnered with Goldberg and Rodler and a structural engineer to design a multi tiered wall system to retain an existing steep slope.   The footings of the walls were engineered to maximize structural integrity and prevent collapsing.  This was a pivotal component of the project and required collaboration on all fronts between designers, engineers, excavators, surveyors, and masons.  Two hazardous red oak trees were removed from the front yard and revealed the house in its entire glory sitting atop the hill like an old historic manor.

The major excavation of the front yard began with removing an existing cesspool, and installing a new sewer line from the house to connect to the municipal sewer system out at the street.  After the line was installed and inspected, excavation began for the two major walls.  We dug over 10 feet down to reach the base of our proposed footing.  Like almost all projects, some things can just never be anticipated.  While we were digging we encountered a massive boulder sitting directly in the center of our proposed wall.  The boulder is so large that moving it could jeopardize the structural integrity of an existing masonry porch in front of the house.    We solved this by forming the new wall foundation around the rock and drilling rebar directly into it.  After the walls were finished, they were faced with brick to match the traditional style of the house A brick veneer was added using reclaimed material to match the historic look of the house.

Outdoor kitchen with bluestone countertop, BBQ, warming drawer, ice maker, refrigerator, and storageNext, we coordinated the design and installation of a luxurious outdoor kitchen and bar fully equipped for entertaining.  The existing patio was extended to accommodate a custom fire pit.  This outdoor living space is a priority for the client, and we wanted to provide a comfortable environment while maintaining a rustic aesthetic.  Look for updates on this project in the upcoming months to see the final components evolve into the finished design.

 

Written by Nick Onesto

Friday
Oct172014

Winter Décor

Evergreen boughs and sculptural branches tied with a velvety maroon bow.It doesn't matter how you celebrate the winter holidays, it's hard to ignore the festive feel all around us during November and December. Going back to Pagan times, it was a tradition to bring evergreen boughs inside to make a tribute to nature's bounty. We spend so much time running around trying to get our shopping done that we spend little time appreciating the beauty all around us, both inside and outside of our homes. Then, after the excitement of the holidays, when January comes we’re left with a very drab, gray feeling. Let me help you fix that with some tips on winter decorating.

Decorative pots can brighten up a dreary, frozen January. Many people think planters should be filled with flowers and lush plants, but negative space can be powerful as well. Use bare branches from plants like Contorted Filbert or Corkscrew Willow to create a unique centerpiece for a decorative pot at your front entrance. For the center “thriller,” the colors from a Red Twig Dogwood or Yellow Twig Dogwood can pop out from a gray landscape in the middle of winter and you don’t need to worry about watering them when they’ve lost their leaves.

Andromeda start producing their flowers in fall/winter for the following spring and the closed buds make a showy display with a red ribbon and evergreen wreath.

 

 

 

Evergreens in pots are a classic winter accent. Holly, False Holly, Spruce, Pine and Fir make great centerpieces or accents in planters. Two simple conifers with twinkling white lights on either side of a front door presents a warm welcome. Evergreen boughs can also act as your “filler” in the thriller, filler and spiller equation. For a spiller, use a velvet or shiny ribbon around the rim of the planter. No place to tie it? Put a piece of wire around the ribbon, attach it to a stake and stick the stake in the pot. Or, if you’re limited on space in the pot, use a whole wreath as your filler set on the rim and plant inside the center.

Twinkling lights, evergreen boughs, berries, ribbons, wreaths and candles adorn residences. Holiday lighting or decorations can give your home a warm, unique look during the cold winter months. As a professional landscape designer, I look to spruce up the exterior AND interior of my clients’ home anywhere I can. Talk to me about your home and what you’d like to see in the winter, inside and out. 

Twinkling lights greet guests as they enter.

Written by Ashley Palko

Monday
Oct062014

Plant Today for Your Spring Display

Daffodils and grape hyacinth brighten up a still sleepy spring landscape. The yew hedge behind offers evergreen color year round, but in the spring the bulbs shine as they bloom.

Have you ever walked past a magnificent garden in the early springtime and thought, “Wow, those flowers are beautiful! What are they?” Chances are they’re spring flowering bulbs, which brighten the landscape when many other shrubs, trees and perennials are still dormant. Bulbs range from the common tulips, daffodils, and crocus to the specialty alliums, trout lily, and snowdrops. All contribute something magical to the landscape.

Part of our role as landscape design professionals is to remind our clients in the fall to think about the future and plant bulbs now for a show stopping display in the spring. It is important to plant before the ground freezes so the bulbs can grow some roots and absorb some moisture. Our sweet spot on Long Island for planting bulbs is in November. Bulbs need to go through a phase of cool temperatures like winter before they can bloom. 

Layering different types of bulbs, staggering bloom time and heights, will give you a more diverse display.

Planting depth varies for each type of bulb. Tulips and Daffodils need to be planted deeper than crocus. When designing, think about the bloom time of each type of bulb and the height. Mixing several types of daffodils that bloom in early, middle and late spring will give you a long display of flowers. When working with different heights, plant the lower growing bulbs in front if they flower at the same time. We like to plant pansies among flowering bulbs in the spring so when the bulbs are done flowering we still have some color while waiting to plant summer flowers.  Also, follow the guide nature gives us. Nothing grows in a straight line naturally. Make sure to plant bulbs in groupings whether it is a small or large area you’re covering for the best display. Massing is important with bulbs. 50 flowers scattered throughout a bed can get lost but 50 flowers gathered together make you stop, look, and admire.

Fertilization is important for any plant. As people, we make sure to ingest nutrients we need to stay healthy. The same idea applies to our plants. They use the nutrients found in the soil but those nutrients need to be replenished. We work either organic compost or bone meal into the soil around new plantings.

Grape hyacinth (muscari) and daffodil cluster naturally around a small boulder. Daffodils and muscari naturalize in the landscape, meaning they naturally divide and spread to fill in.One more thing we like to tell our clients is that bulbs are a great bang for your buck. Some varieties of bulbs naturalize and spread themselves out over time. It is hard to wait for spring when annuals and perennials can give you instant landscape gratification, but we promise it is worth it. Spring flowering bulbs also make great cut flowers, allowing you to bring a bit of spring into the house with you. Drop us a line and talk to us about flowers and ways to add beauty to your garden.

Call us at (631) 271-6460 or email us if you have any questions.

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

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