A Contemplative Garden

Healing Gardens were first recognized in medieval Cloister Gardens where the monks grew herbs known for their medicinal and healing qualities.  The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan is a picture-perfect example of a contemplative garden.  As they say, what is old is new again and for the past decade or so, we have come to realize the benefits of self-healing.

Hume Japanese Stroll Garden in Locust Valley

Whether to engage in yoga, physical exercise, growing our own vegetable and herbs, converting to vegetarianism, holistic medicine or investing in organic foods, we are all searching for a natural way to avoid illness, cure chronic disease and quiet everyday stresses. The simple act of gardening is known to be therapeutic, both emotionally and physically and subliminally establishes a link to the earth and our ancient ancestors.

Who doesn’t find respite indulging in a cup of coffee on the porch or patio on a beautiful spring morning!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private space to escape from the frenetic world to find solace, or meditate surrounded by the peace and tranquility of nature?   It is here where we can bring the fragrance of grandma’s lilacs from our childhood memories or the hummingbirds that captivated us on a vacation long ago.

Hume Japanese Stroll Garden in Locust Valley

Whatever it is that appeals to our most inner self should be given due consideration when designing our personal sanctuary.  Find a quiet place on your property or, if one does not exist, create one.  This garden space should be enclosed whether by attractive fence panels, trees, or shrubs separating one’s self from any intrusive sounds or views. A comfortable bench, maybe stone or teak, may lure you in and provide a place to rest and reflect.   A simple water feature with a bubbler or water fall can be incorporated into the plan helping to quiet the mind and mask unwanted sounds, or a small pond to cool off on a hot summer’s day.   A single sculpture that is meaningful to you might be the focal point.  Perhaps, the focus can be a bird house or feeder, complemented with shrubs that attract birds. The planting should represent nature and be soothing with subtle shades of green, interesting foliage and textures.  Flowering trees and shrubs can provide color, but avoid strong colors that may jar your senses rather than calm the mind.  The garden should provide an environment for quiet introspection.

Hume Japanese Stroll Garden in Locust Valley

Many Asian gardens are designed for the purpose of contemplation and reflection.  They typically include a grouping of 3 rocks carefully positioned to represent heaven, mankind and earth, a stone lantern, and a pond representing paradise.   The John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Locust Valley is a fascinating study of the Japanese garden and should be visited several times to fully understand the meditative and healing qualities, as well as the symbolism that such a garden represents.

A visit to either The Cloisters or John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden will surely entice you to identify the elements you need to provide the perfect setting for your Contemplative Garden.

In today’s busy world, we could all use our own personal space where we could go to getway from it all.  Let us help you create your own contemplative garden.  Call us at 631-271-6460 or visit our website www.goldbergandrodler.com.

Photos by: Maria Ferrero

Written by: Maria Ferrero

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: Texture

Feathery plumes of Dwarf Fountain Grass alongside Bluestone Stepping Stones and crushed Long Island gravel.This is the second in a series of articles on Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition (click here for the first entry on Color). Today we want to talk about texture in the landscape. There are many ways to achieve different textures with plants, but utilizing natural materials in a garden such as bark and foliage can work well in combination with other elements like gravel, stone, and wood that contribute to a garden’s sensory experience.

Groundcovers, especially between stepping stones, can lend to a variety of ground plane textures. Imagine the feel of soft, cool grass or gatherings of moss under bare feet on a spring morning. Soft, fuzzy perennial Lamb’s Ear in the garden is wonderful to rub between your fingers, as are the leaves of a sage plant. Showy grasses like Hakonechloa or Dwarf Fountain Grass blades are anything but sharp. Get up close and touch the ethereally light, delicate plumes on an ornamental grass when it flowers in the late summer. A mass in the distance is a beautiful visual but there’s nothing like sitting amongst them. Enjoy the grasses from the weathered wood of a favorite garden bench, or planted with a piece of bleached driftwood as a sculptural element to contrast the wispy blades.

Textural contrast of ferns and a Weeping White Pine.We can’t talk about foliage textures without mentioning ferns. There are so many varieties hardy in our area, all of them a textural delight to use in the garden. The fronds of a fern are what we notice first, but get up close and see the curled up fiddleheads (before the frond opens). Even the underside of the fern has something to offer with the clusters of sporangia, usually a contrasting red or brown, especially showy on the evergreen Christmas Fern.

Spiky variegated Agave nestled softly among Scaevola, Lantana and Alyssum.On the opposite side of soft vegetation are the bristly, sharp plants like Agave and Prickly Pear Cactus. Agave is mainly used as an annual or indoor plant here but Yucca is another spiky plant that you can use in the garden and there are many varieties hardy to Long Island.  Prickly Pear Cactus is considered hardy but may take a hit in harsh winters. It is best to plant them in a protected, well-drained area if you want them outside. The needles of many conifers also fall into the sharp category such as Blue Spruce. Not only is the color striking but the coarse surface makes these evergreens stand out from softer White Pine and the many textures of arborvitae.

The coppery, exfoliating trunk of a Paperbark Maple at Planting Fields Arboretum.Exfoliating bark on a Crape Myrtle, Paperbark Maple or River Birch adds almost an architectural texture during all seasons. Though they may look very rough to some, they can all seem quite wispy at times. A Japanese Dogwood, Hinoki Cypress or Alaskan Cedar on the other hand, offers a very firm exfoliating bark – not ones you’d want to touch. They are definitely a stronger visual presence in the garden. Then you have the smooth gray bark of a stately Beech tree that resembles a column holding up a canopy.

A garden needs rough and rigid objects to balance the smooth and soft offerings. The obvious rigidity in a landscape is the paved surfaces, but we will go beyond that. Stone walls are classic in a garden as are brick and stone paving. These materials also last a long time in the garden, weathering over the years. Weathering can add to the character of the stone and brick and lend a softer feeling to the aged hardscape. Cast stone and terra cotta planters are another way to bring solid forms into the landscape. Whether a rounded shape or squared off trough, planters provide a solid visual anchor for specialty plantings like summer annuals or winter displays.

Visually and physically speaking, textures in the garden are one of the greatest ways we experience outdoor space. Another major influence is lighting and its counterpart shadows. 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. Stay tuned for our next piece on light and shadow in the garden!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Adding Sense to the Garden

Most of our gardens are designed and appreciated for their visual beauty. We love color and for the most part this gives us great pleasure. We do not often consider the notion of appealing to the other senses of smell, sound, touch and taste, but imagine how much richer our appreciation of the garden would be if we did.

SMELL – Have you ever been within sniffing distance of a lilac and not stopped what you’re doing to breathe in the incredible fragrance? In early spring, a well-placed Viburnum carlesii, near a door or window, will intoxicate you with its sweet spicy scent, as will Calycanthus and Clethra alnifolia in the summer months. One of my favorite trees, Magnolia grandiflora, with its gorgeous leathery foliage and large, waxy camellia like flowers, will captivate you with its citrusy scent in early summer. Fragrant vines such as Wisteria, Honeysuckle and Fragrant Clematis will enchant you, as will other plants like Jasmine, Camellia, Peony, Casa Blanca Lilies, Lavender and Lily of the Valley. Many herbs are fragrant with rosemary at the top of the list. The lingering scent from the simple act of rubbing your fingers on its foliage will take with it all the stresses of the day!

Water tumbles over the rocks into the pond below creating a soothing melody.A birdhouse offers shelter for different songbirds in the garden.SOUND – Water in the garden, whether in the form of a small recirculating pond with a bubbler or a formal fountain, is one of the most peaceful sounds in nature. So is the sound of songbirds, and attracting them to the garden is relatively easy. Offer the shade of a tree, a large shrub for cover from prey and a food source of berries, worms and nectar for sustenance. They will delight you with their melodies from dawn to dusk. Bird baths, feeders and houses are delightful garden accessories that will also attract birds year round. Wind chimes offer a less organic, but effective way to add sound to the garden, however, be careful to choose one with a pleasing tone and melody.

Smooth, leathery Croton accents light, feathery Angelonia.TOUCH – The sense of touch is less obvious in the garden than the other senses, so the design elements, whether a stone sculpture, bench or urn, need to be more obviously placed so that one cannot help but touch them. From the exfoliating bark of River Birch to the soft touch of moss, plants offer an endless combination of tactile appeal. How can you stroll past the fountain grass without wanting to feel the softness of the foxtails or the plumes of Miscanthus. The succulent leaves of Sedum, the soft and silky foliage of Lambs Ear’s, and the leathery flower petals of Magnolia grandiflora, all beg to be touched and should be planted within easy reach. When designing your garden consider plant combinations with contrasting textures. Coarse textured plants, whether from foliage or flower, tend to be accents in the garden and should be combined with large groupings of fine textured plants.

TASTE – Today, most gardens are designed for beauty and visual enjoyment, but there appears to be a renewed interest in getting back to the time before supermarkets, when gardens were organic and sustainable. Dwarf fruit trees in the lawn, a berry patch, grape vines on a pergola, hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes on the porch, a trellis of cucumbers or containers filled with various vegetables and herbs on the patio not only give us personal enjoyment and satisfaction, but also feed the soul. What tastes better than a tomato freshly picked from your garden or grapes from the vine? Where space is limited, container gardening is a great option and can be placed wherever there is at least 6 hours of full sun and water is available, hopefully near the kitchen. Garden centers, web sites or your favorite garden designer, can help choose the right container and plants for you.

By choosing to explore and implement these possibilities beyond the visual experience, we will most assuredly be rewarded with a greater appreciation and enjoyment in our garden.

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

Written by Maria Morrison-Ferrero

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: Color

yellow-purple-red-flowers

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.

blue-hydrangea

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.

hakonechloa-roses

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

 

Winter Décor

HOLIDAY-POTSEvergreen 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

Plant Today for Your Spring Display

daffodils-muscari-bottle-buys

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.

SpringLandscapePreperation1Fertilization 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

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets

Decorative urns are perfect container gardens.

A large and grand garden is a desirable amenity for your home, but not everyone has the time or energy to care for a large garden.  That doesn’t mean your property can’t shine with color this season.  Flower pots and hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of color and accent your existing landscape.  Container gardens and hanging baskets create a lush contrast at entrances, patios, decks and pools.  You can buy precast stone, concrete, iron, glazed ceramic or composite planters.  Another option is to get creative and repurpose old wheelbarrows, cauldrons, or whatever you envision to hold enough soil for your flowers.

Once you have chosen containers and baskets suitable to your unique style, place them in areas where they will be focal points.  It is important to have them in place before filling them with potting soil and plants, otherwise they will become too heavy to move.  If your container is very large it is smart to cut down on the amount of potting soil you put in.  The most efficient way to cut down on wasted soil is to fill half the container with packing peanuts, mulch or bubble wrap underneath a layer of permeable landscape fabric to keep the soil medium separated.  This will also help with drainage.  If your container lacks holes in the bottom, it is a good idea to provide a generous amount of course material in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Now it is time to decide what plants to put in your container.  Your plant palette can range from tropical to woodland depending on the microclimate conditions of your property.  Avoid crowding your container with too many plants because they will grow throughout the season, and you will avoid too much plant competition and die off.  When it comes to design, choose plants that follow these guidelines and you will be left with a stunning display year round.

  • Container with Canna lily, Croton, Angelonia, and Sweet Potato VineTHRILLER: Start with a tall specimen that will extend above the other plants.         24+ inches. (Purple Fountain Grass, Dracaena, Canna Lily, Banana, Hibiscus or other standards)
  • FILLER: Plants that will establish a full and lush appearance of color on the ground plane.  6-18 inches. (Lantana, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonias, Coleus, etc.)
  • SPILLER: Plants the will creep down the side of the pot and create a flow of texture. (Licorice Plant, Scaevola, Verbena, Sweet Potato Vine, Vinca)

As the growing season continues, keep an eye on your containers and make sure that they get ample water in full sun.  They should be watered everyday and sometimes twice a day during extreme heat in the summer. If your planter is in a shady spot, it may require less watering such as every 2 days.   Apply fertilizer throughout the summer to promote healthy blooms.  Container gardens are a great way to provide quick and easy seasonal color changes in your landscape.  They require less maintenance than a large garden, but keep in mind, leaves naturally yellow and die, so remove them to promote new healthy growth.  For example, pinch Coleus flowers to prevent the plant from stretching and will result in a fuller plant.  Express your unique self through container gardens and hanging baskets this summer.  Goldberg and Rodler has professional landscape designers that can help you find the perfect plants for your containers and are more than willing to offer our expertise this season.

Written by Nick Onesto

Spring Landscape Preparation

Snowdrops brighten the landscape in early spring. Photo cred. Sal MasulloWinter is retreating and the dormant landscape is thawing, ready to wake up and stretch out its limbs and leaves. Start your spring cleanup early by generating a check list for you landscape.

1. Walk around your property and assess snow/ice damage to gardens and hardscape. The heavy ice and snow builds up on top of plants and the branches will break under pressure. The ice also causes freeze-thaw which results in heaving and cracking in asphalt and pavers over time.

2. Identify potential drainage problems – As the ground thaws completely, settling may occur, resulting in new pooling and damp areas. Watch out for these now!

3. Lawn Care – Your lawn may seem flattened and weak in the early spring, so lightly rake your lawn to stimulate new growth to begin, but don’t rake too hard or you can damage your lawn and cause burn spots.

Pruning your shrubs and trees in late winter/early spring is a good way to promote new growth. Goldberg and Rodler Inc. has certified arborists and horticulturalists that can help you with analyzing the integrity and health of your trees and shrubs. Some damages aren’t recognizable to the average eye, but our experts can identify the signs of stress and teach you along the way. Removing dead wood in early spring will cause shrubs and trees to grow vigorously and increase the amount of flowers. Pruning can bring shape, light and air to your overgrown trees resulting in better overall health and protecting your landscape investment. Spring is the best time to plant slow-to-root trees such as Red Maple, Flowering Dogwood, Magnolias, and Oaks because they need a full growing season to establish their root systems. This is also a great time to apply a granular time released fertilizer to your planting beds.

As your spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinth show their colors you can start dividing your perennials and spread them out in your landscape. They will grow throughout the spring and summer giving you more color and texture in your garden and provide a great way to stretch your planting budget.

Spring is bursting with color, featuring sweeping Daffodils and Star MagnoliaFrost is still a concern in the first months of spring. Temperatures can spike in early spring but drop drastically at a moment’s notice, so if you planted tender annuals already, you will want to take precautionary measures such as covering the plants with containers or bringing potted plants indoors. It is a good idea to plant hardy annuals that can take the cold temperatures such as pansies, marigolds, and dusty miller, then transition with those plants to your summer plant pallet.

Check for insects and diseases affecting your plants. For example, you may notice little white scale eggs on your plants which are an infestation rather than a pathogen. These pests hatch and live off the bark of the tree. Plants that are frequently infested with scale eggs are Magnolia, fruiting trees and shrubs and many varieties of Euonymus. If you catch them early enough this spring, the plants can be protected by pruning the infected branches, or spraying with organic, environmentally safe horticultural oil.

Venture out and enjoy the comfortable warm temperature of spring and transition your life outdoors yet again. The amount of work to be done can be daunting so if you have any questions or require guidance, give Goldberg & Rodler a call and our friendly staff will work with you personally.

Written by Nick Onesto

Landscape Trends 2014

Play a relaxing game of bocce in your own backyard!Revitalize your spring landscape with a few new landscape ideas for 2014.

After this winter, aren’t we are all ready for spring? Winter has had a tight grip on us this year. Let’s shake it off and THINK SPRING!

Sustainability: Start your compost pile now. No meat byproducts, only “green” kitchen scraps (veggies/fruits). Grow your own vegetables and herbs. Collect rainwater to irrigate planters and vegetable gardens. Plant lower maintenance, eco-friendly trees and shrubs.

Lawn Games: A hit for outdoor parties or family time with the kids. Try games like Can Jam, Bocce, Volleyball or Badminton.

Garden Art: Always in and always a welcome addition. It can be as simple as a bird bath or gazing ball or as imaginative as a custom commissioned piece of sculpture.

Outdoor Furniture and Accessories: The options grow each year. Pillows, carpets, oversized umbrellas, canopies, hammocks, tiki bars and more can be integrated into your outdoor spaces.

Planting Trees: A sign of recovery from Sandy and from a sluggish economy. They’re also great for increasing air quality and providing welcome shade in the summer months.

Fire pits, fountains and outdoor rooms are recent trends that are still growing in demand. These are just a few ideas to get your mind moving on improvements for your landscape and motif and gardening habits. How do YOU get ready for spring? We would love to know what you do to get ready. Email us at SalM@goldbergandrodler.net. How do WE get ready for spring? There are a few ideas in our Spring Cleanup and Startup entry. Also check out our Cabin Fever article for planning tips.

Written by Sal Masullo

Winter Interest in the Garden

Snow topped pine and spruce brings out the blue green color of the needlesWinter gardening in the Northeast can be quite interesting. You might be surprised how enjoyable and beautiful this season can be.

Some highlights during winter include:

EVERGREENS: They stand out this time of year without competition from flowering trees and shrubs. My favorites species are all types of  Holly, Evergreen Magnolia, Cypress and Blue Spruce. Hollies are a deep, shiny green and some have red berries which are great for birds. Variegated English Holly is used as a specimen with the white variegation highlighting any garden space. Interesting structural forms pop when combined with blue-green or yellow foliage on different cultivars of Hinoki Cypress. Anything blue toned like the Colorado or Dwarf Montgomery Spruce is a welcome sight in the winter. I also use cuttings from these for winter decoration in my garden pots and urns or even in a vase indoors.

Skimmia, bright with red berries in the snow covered landscapeFLOWER COLOR: There are several options for winter blooms. ‘Arnold Promise’ Witch Hazel blooms mid February with fragrant yellow flowers. Lenten Rose (hellebore) is a perennial that blooms in early March and Snow Drops are bulbs that bloom in late February. Heather is evergreen and can start blooming in November right through to early March. The best thing about these plants is that they bloom anywhere from one to three months and are all deer resistant.

 

 

Beautiful closeup of the exfoliating bark on a Paperbark MapleBRANCH COLOR: Try the Red Twig Dogwood, a medium sized deciduous shrub. Their summer appearance is not striking but when is snows the red stems will catch any ones attention. There is also a yellow variety. Important Tip: Prune older brown branches down to the base in the spring to encourage new growth. This new growth will start out a light red and intensify as the season progresses. For the late fall/early winter use deciduous Winterberry. It will give a spectacular show of color with red berries, great for the wildlife. Other plants with attractive berries for the wildlife are Viburnum, Sumac and Bayberry which are all native to our region.

DECORATIVE BARK: Once trees lose their leaves for the winter, their interesting structure and bark is more noticeable. Textures range from the exfoliating bark of River Birch, the cinnamon color and exfoliating bark of Crape Myrtle to the the mottled bark of a mature Sycamore, Dogwood or Stewartia to the smooth, gray bark of a Beech tree. Branching habits are visible on the Contorted Filbert, also known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, or the Corkscrew Willow with its curly, twisting branches. These are great to cut and bring indoors for floral arrangements or to use as a support for other indoor plants.

The winter can be full of garden delights.

Written by Rick Schneider