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Entries in flowers (8)

Friday
May062016

An Award Winning, Peaceful, Passive Garden

The soothing sound of water trickling over the rocks creates a calming backdropIntroducing our 2016 NALP Grand Award Winner, 2015 LINLA Gold Award Winner for Passive Use and 2016 NYSNLA Environmental Beautification Award Winner. We designed a soothing space in East Northport with a waterfall and pond to create a relaxing environment with a harmonic balance using natural rock formations and the sound of flowing water. The interplay of light and shadow add to the relaxing garden scene. Plant textures and vibrant color surround the irregular bluestone seating area.

A cast iron urn elevates colorful annuals plantings in the landscape, offering a unique focal pointThe homeowners are very adamant about their privacy and don’t want to see any visual signs of neighbors while they are in the backyard. The new border planting throughout the site was woven into existing vegetation. Large hemlocks surrounding the property are routinely treated for woolly adelgid and were pruned to allow for light and air to reach the understory. Our client did not want a typical row of screen planting, so our solution was to utilize a woodland aesthetic with thick, layered planting and a charismatic border.

Carefully crafted views through the landscape highlight different focal points at every turnThe homeowners love to entertain and have large parties for up to 100 people, making a large lawn area a necessity. Our clients also adore their children. They have had dedicated annual planting themes based on their kid’s favorite colors, showcased at their graduation parties. Each year, a new annual theme is designed for the site. The homeowners are very involved with their landscape and annual color displays for spring, summer and fall. They are consistently involved with providing inspiration and suggestions for planting. We have added large cast iron urns and cast stone planters that provide an elevated explosion of color throughout the landscape and have increased the impact of the changing seasons.

This multi seasonal display is enjoyed by both friends and family throughout the year and is a tranquil getaway from the bustling commotion of day to day life.

Friday
Oct162015

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: 50 Shades of Landscape

This is the third in a series of articles on Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition (click here for the first entry on Color and here for the second entry on Texture). Today we want to talk about light and shadow in the landscape. Light and shadow could be simplified into sun and shade but light and shadow are about so much more than that. Light and shadow are about depth and dimension.

Dappled shade on Irregular Bluestone patio surrounded by a vibrant perennial border.There are different types of shade. When talking about plants in particular, there is light, partial, full and deep shade. There can be a total blocking of light, like from a solid roof or dense shade tree, or dappled or intermittent shade, like from a lace canopied shade tree or pergola. Shade is great for sitting and dining areas where you’d like prolonged shade and cooler temperatures. Mature shade trees are worth their weight in gold. Think twice when locating a new pool. You can easily cut down a tree, but it can take decades for a newly planted tree to offer enough shade for a large area.  Most people want their pool and pool patio to be in a sunny area. The sun offers natural warming of the water, but even with warm water, swimming in the shade can be chilly. A pool patio with some umbrellas for sun protection is perfect for keeping the area nice and warm while cooling off in the pool.

There are different types of plants for sun or shade and they run the gamut from full sun all day long to full shade and anywhere in between. Pay attention to flower colors for different lighting scenarios. In deep shade, white, apricot, pale yellow, pastels of pink and lavender, and other light colors really pop and brighten up a shadowy area. In bright sun, vibrant and saturated colors stand out more than their paler counterparts. Deep reds, corals, purples, yellows, oranges and blues stand up to the sun’s dramatic rays.

Pergola casting striped shade over a sophisticated seating area, emphasizing the architectural detail of the overhead structure.Outdoor lighting not only extends the use of a space from day to night, it can be used to highlight architectural features such as this Westchester granite fireplace.Just as shadows can be functional in the day, they are also useful at night. Use shadows for dramatic effect when it is dark out. Pergolas that cast filtered shade during the day can also act as a dramatic filter for light at night. Lighting angled up or down through a pergola sets the scene for an intimate gathering. Using lights in the garden can highlight more than the architectural elements like pergolas and stone walls. Utilize spotlights to display specimen trees. Moonlighting in a mature shade tree is more than functional; it creates a fun nighttime atmosphere. Moonlighting involves placing downward facing light fixtures 30 feet up inside of a tree’s canopy. With the right lighting scheme, not only can a property be used day or night, it can also enhance the beauty of both man and Mother Nature’s architecture.

Aesthetically, light and shadow play a huge part in the drama of our gardens. Functionally, you need a varying palette of height, spread and depth from your plantings to create a harmonized space. Hierarchy is king in our next piece on scale in the garden!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Thursday
Apr232015

Choosing Annual Flower Colors

A riot of color lasting all summer long in these planters.FINALLY, spring is here and so begins the annual pursuit to embellish our gardens with color… lots and lots of color!  Before your first trip to the nursery this year, as there will surely be many, consider choosing a color scheme. It may be your favorite 2 colors or 5 or 6, but let’s first consider how the colors play off of each other and try to avoid those harsh color combinations we’ve all experienced in the past.  It can also be fun to choose just one color.  White gardens are lovely and if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the evening, the effect is breathtaking! Be aware, however, working with any one color is an exercise in restraint, a word rarely found in a gardener’s vocabulary, but the effect is dramatic if you have the courage to try it. 

The first colors you may want to consider are blues and purples. They are great unifiers and intermingle well with just about any other colors you choose.  When left on their own they tend to disappear into the landscape, but add a white flower and you’ve got a winning combination!!  Sun loving blue, purple or white annuals for beds can include varieties of Petunias, Angelonia, Salvia, Heliotrope and Scaevola, just to name a few. For shade, you may want to consider Torenia, Ageratum or New Guinea Impatiens. 

Purple, yellow and pink compliment each other beautifully in this summer planter.Now it’s time to add other colors to your palette. Complementary colors, such as purple and orange make up one of the best combinations.  They work well in the foreground of an evergreen border or where a lot of blue and white hydrangeas reside, but if you have pink or red roses blooming nearby, you may want to avoid orange and consider adding shades of pink or red instead.  Orange along with its many shades of peach, apricot and coral, can include varieties of lantana, creeping and upright zinnias, marigolds and salmon geraniums for the sun.  For the shade, consider upright fuchsia varieties, New Guinea impatiens or Nonstop begonias. There are countless choices for red and pink. My favorites would include the pink variety of Angelonia, Petunias, Salvia ‘Lady in Red’ and Madagascar Vinca for the sun.  Dragon wing Begonias, Nonstop Begonia, New Guinea impatiens and Fuchsia would all do well in the shade.  Yellow and purple are another terrific complementary color combination.  Yellow annuals can include marigolds, mimulus, lantana and melampodium.  For shade try Nonstop begonias and yellow shades of coleus.   Adding a splash of taller annuals in garden beds around low shrubs or short blooming perennials, adds another texture and continuous color to the space.  Pink, purple or white shades of Cleome or Salvia varieties such as ‘Indigo Spires’ or ‘Black and Blue’ are great choices, as are Nicotiana, tall Zinnias such as ‘State Fair’ and Cosmos as tall flowering annuals in a sunny bed.  Working with shades of one color is another winning combination.

There are infinite choices of flower combinations.   A few possible suggestions for sunny borders include:

  •        Purple ANGELONIA and yellow, orange or multi colored LANTANA
  •        Tall yellow MARIGOLDS and blue SCAEVOLA
  •        SALVIA ‘BLUE VICTORIA’ and NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS or MADAGASCAR VINCA
  •        Purple PETUNIA and SALVIA ‘LADY IN RED’
  •        MELAMPODIUM and purple HELIOTROPE
  •        White ANGELONIA or SALVIA ‘WHITE VICTORIA’ and Purple PETUNIA or SCAEVOLA

For shade borders:

  •        Tall AGERATUM and NONSTOP BEGONIA  
  •        Blue TORENIA and COLEUS
  •        Pink or Red DRAGON WING BEGONIA and White NONSTOP BEGONIA
  •        Lavender NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS and Upright FUCHSIA
  •        White NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS and Blue TORENIA or Blue AGERATUM

Enhance a functional area with color to make those daily trips to the mailbox a delight.Choosing annuals for pots can also be a lot of fun.  Whether you’re looking for a dramatic statement at the front door, or on a pool terrace, or you want to create the appearance of a small garden by grouping pots together, there are a few things you may want to consider. When planting a grouping, feel free to set odd or even groups of pots together. They don’t have to match or be the same size, in fact, it is usually more effective when they are different sizes.  The universal design mantra is to plant a thriller, fillers and spillers.   If working with groupings, thrillers would be planted in the larger pot.  Although the choices are many, hibiscus, mandevilla, jasmine, solanum or any other topiary annuals, grasses, dracaena or elephant ears would all be effective.  Fuchsia topiaries or tall ferns, such as Australian tree fern or Kimberly Queen fern are thriller options for the shady container.  Fillers, with limitless varieties to choose from, include most of the previously mentioned annuals as well as the many varieties of million bells and lantana, bacopa and verbena. Spillers can include creeping zinnias, chartreuse and purple potato vines and English ivy. 

Enjoy mixing and matching these or any other plant combinations until you find one that talks to you.  Remember one thing, no matter what color or colors you choose the experience should be fun, for that is what gardening is all about!  

If you would like advice or guidance designing and planting your annual garden, please call (631) 271-6460 x28 or email me to schedule a consultation.

 

Written by Maria Morrison-Ferrero 

Monday
Apr062015

Pollination: The Importance of Sex in the Garden

Heliconius Melpomene Madiera AKA Piano Key Butterfly feeding on Pentas at Butterfly World in Florida.Birds, bees and butterflies are more than beautiful, living garden accessories. They are essential fauna for our flora. Plants need to be pollinated. Some can be pollinated by the wind, like corn and wheat, but these flying wonders do much of the heavy lifting for other plants and are vital for them to produce berries, seeds and fruit. Seed development and fruit production are important for a plant’s continued survival. More than three quarters of all plants rely on pollination for survival. One third of the food we eat is reliant upon pollination to be produced. Chocolate, fruits, vegetables, coffee, even livestock that are raised on grains and vegetables are all dependant on the pollinators. 

Our beautiful gardens do so much more than visually stimulate us. They support an ecosystem. Flies, beetles, bats and moths are also common pollinators, but in a typical residential landscape, we prefer to open our gardens to the elegant birds, bees and butterflies. There are several things to consider when making an inviting environment for our pollinators. 

A common bumblebee hanging out on a centaurea. Scent, color and shape are some of the biggest factors in attracting pollinators to a garden. Clumping plants together in a mass makes it easier for a pollinator to find them. Red, orange, yellow and other bright colors serve as a beacon to attract them. In our gardens we prefer the pleasant scents of lilac, privet, roses, iris, catmint and herbs and so do bees. While bees cannot see red (butterflies and birds can) they are attracted to other bright colors and having several masses of different flowers is the best option to attract them. When you mass flowers, it not only creates a beautiful palette of plants to enjoy it is also beneficial for both the pollinator and your plants. They can easily locate these plants so they can return and don’t have to go far to find additional nourishment. The more colors you have, the more diverse a spectrum of pollinators you can attract.

A typical hummingbird feeder. Note the red plastic flowers to catch their eyes!Birds are attracted by sight to flowers as they don’t have a sense of smell to guide them to nectar. Birds also eat the creepy crawly critters we don’t want in our flowers while pollinating at the same time! Berries are an important food source for birds especially when the weather is cold and there are no insects to munch on. Any plant that can offer shelter for nest building and a hideaway from predators is a bonus for our winged friends. Winterberry, holly, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, millet, liatris, sunflowers, dogwood and juniper all offer berries and seeds for birds. You can also add a bird feeder to supplement their diet during lean, cold months.

A fuzzy yellow moth and an elegant orange Monarch butterfly on a purple butterfly bush.Hummingbirds are a popular bird we try to attract to our gardens and there are several ways to do so. Besides offering them attractive, trumpet shaped flowers you can also put out a feeder (which may also work for butterflies). Make sure to have a LOT of red to attract these hovering beauties and to follow the directions on filling the feeder with the best mixture to attract these interesting creatures. Hummingbirds have been observed sipping nectar from summer flowers like lantana, fuchsia, petunia and begonia. They may also visit coral bells, geranium, bee balm, honeysuckle (make sure it is a non-invasive cultivar), trumpet vine, butterfly bush, weigela, and crabapple. In the Northeast, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird can be spotted during summer months only as they migrate south for winter. If you can’t catch a glimpse of a hummingbird, many of these plants also attract butterflies.

Like hummingbirds, butterflies are also attracted to the color red. However, unlike hummingbirds that can hover while they sip, butterflies need a landing space, a wide petal or leaf to perch upon while they feed. Butterfly weed, yarrow, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, butterfly bush, and herbs like thyme and chives have either leaves or sturdy clusters of flowers to perch upon.

A small fountain or birdbath will provide water as well as style.No matter which plants we decide upon together, it is important to have a succession of blooms throughout the season to make sure you have a constant array of pollinating visitors. There is convincing evidence that pesticides and herbicides have contributed to the honeybee’s population decline. Make sure to reduce toxins in the garden. One of the ways to do this is to avoid open flowers if you have to spray anything to reduce likelihood of contaminating their food source. Choose liquid over powder as powder can stick to a pollinator’s body much like pollen does.  One last requirement for our fluttering friends: have water in the garden! Pollinators need water and having a small dish, birdbath or fountain adds a sculptural element and a necessary source of water for them in the garden.

Are you interested in attracting pollinators to your garden? We would love to answer your questions about flora and fauna. Call (631) 271-6460 or email us and talk to a professional landscape designer today!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Photos by Ashey Palko Haugsjaa

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