On a beautiful, unseasonably warm, morning 12 members of LDG met at the home of our president, Julie Hawley. After delicious refreshments and socializing, we sat down to share ideas on Calendars, Contracts, Conferences and more. Kathy Jentz with Washington Gardener joined us with a calendar overview of gardening tasks and Lynley Ogilvie with Lynley Ogilvie Landscape Design LLC detailed client contracts.
Favorite Gardening Tools: Julie opened with introductions and our favorite gardening tools. Everyone contributed as follows:
Long reach pruner – not the long pole version, but the lightweight aluminum extended reach model. Manual prune up to ¾” limbs.
Hori Hori knife – This knife/trowel is perfect for weeding, digging and pruning. Includes Light Weight Nylon Sheath - Garden Blade SSR by Garden Guru Lawn and Garden Tools
Root Slayer Shovel Comes in several sizes and shape of blade.
Other favorite shovels included a serrated shovel, a number of King of Spades engineered shovels, and a handmade shovel engraved with your name.
Stihl battery-operated pack with three tools: a leaf blower, a hedge trimmer, and a string trimmer. Two battery packs are suggested to keep them all charged and ready to use at the client site. Other manufacturers also make this combination (e.g. Black and Decker).
Mattock Hand Tiller : short handled tool with claw on one side and a fairly sharp blade on the other. Good for digging holes for potted plants, loosening soil, etc.
Angle Driver: battery-powered tool that cuts through concrete and metal; very handy for hardscape work.
Little Giant Ladder that collapses to 8 foot lengths. Handy to carry in van or truck.
Cobra head: Digs, plows, and cultivates tough soils. Comes in three sizes. Go to cobrahead.com to see selection.
Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener Magazine – on her monthly Gardening Calendar and other handy tips:
Kathy introduced us to her gardening task calendar, a month by month list of important tasks for garden maintenance. The calendar is available in three formats, a hard copy version on heavy stock paper with beautiful garden photos for each month, and a monthly task list in her magazine, both hard copy and online. To order the calendars go to https://www.cafepress.com/washgardener.1436102069 . NOTE that the calendar defaults to start on the month you order it, so be sure to adjust that to what 12-month timing you want.
Kathy also posts a garden tip of the day on her Twitter account, on Facebook page, Google + account, and on the Washington Gardener Yahoo group. (See links at washingtongardener.blogspot.com). She recommends switching Yahoo groups soon to Google.IO as yahoo is no longer reliable.
Lynley Ogilvie on Client Contracts:
Lynley’s approach to contracts is based on her 17 years as a contract attorney, her particular business model, and her belief that a straight forward, non-legalese contract makes for the best designer-client relationship. Lynley’s business model is to provide the garden design, purchase of the plants with a 100 percent mark-up and a one-year warranty. She recommends landscape contractors for the installation and then charges the client ten percent of the contractor cost for her oversight of their work. She based this business model on The Thriving Landscape Designer: A Practical Guide to Client Management, Marketing, and Profitability by Catherine B. Wiersema, APLD, which describes several models for designers and which she highly recommends.
Lynley’s client contracts consist of three parts:
Dawn Szelc LDG Secretary Clear Blue Landscapes
Our January meeting kicked off with a wonderful lecture from Lynne Church, Lynne Church Landscape Design, on plants with winter interest. Lynne started with Plants with Attractive Branching Form. These provide a sculptural quality even without their leaves. Some of her favorites were American Elm, Japanese Maple - the larger types, Star Magnolia, Winter Hazel, Alaska Cedar, Serbian Spruce, and Dawn Redwood. The cedar and the spruce are evergreen, of course, which have not only the interesting form but the needles which provide some color through the winter.
Next Lynne discussed Plants with Berries and Decorative Flower Buds. An unusual specimen which is seen occasionally in the landscape garden is Edgeworthia chysantha or Paperbush. It is pictured below. additionally Pieris japonica with its early spring buds is beautiful. Cultivars mentioned were Compacta, Mountain Fire, and Andromeda. Finally Winterberry is always a favorite but requires both male and female plants to exhibit fruit.
Plants with Peeling or Mottled Bark comprise the next category. River Birch is a favorite in this area, but Lynne also discussed Betula populifolia "Whitespire" or Asian White Birch as an interesting alternative. She recommends to not grow one from seed. Additional ideas included Persian Ironwood, Paperbark Maple, and Lacebark Pine. Those three are pictured below in order.
Plants with Colorful Foliage or Stems includes quite a few choices. Chamaecyparis pisifera False Cypress and f'Carten's Wintergold' provide some bright yellow color. Persian Ivy, Coral Bark Maple, and Redosier Dogwood all offer some great color in the winter landscape. There are also a number of grasses such as Japanese Forest Grass, Mexican Forest Grass, Prairie Dropseed, and Switchgrass. Finally Lynne discussed Colorado Blue Spruce for great gray-blue color and Dwarf Eastern White Pine.
Plants with Early Flower provide some color near the close of winter. Small trees like Japanese Apricot, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, and Witch hazel. Paperbush, of course fits well in this category as well, and the beautiful Christmas Rose.
Finally Lynne discussed the use of evergreens and conifers in general for their winter interest. Thank you Lynne for the wonderful photos and great ideas for our next project!
Dawn Szelc LDG Secretary Clear Blue Landscapes
The Mid Century Modern garden tour started with the Collins/Harter garden. The 1920's bungalow is surrounded in the front by a metal Eco-Mesh fence, designed for vines. The path leading to the front door is made of flagstone with Washington D.C> Metro terra cotta floor tiles. On the side and in the backyard are additional industrial materials and bright colors. The deck off the back door is blue metal. there is red curved metal edging surrounding all the planting beds and a rust metal edging around a 10 ft diameter Zen sand circle. The access to the backyard is a blue perforated fence with a gate featuring cutout circles for viewing the garden.
The garden is a plant lovers paradise! It features plants of all kinds and some that were quite unique - a plant from South Africa that is not hardy but the owner (our own Jane Collins) replants every year. The side yards features a rain garden on one side and a rock garden on the other. There are also many native plants spied in every corner.
This house was featured in the November Lighting Tour by Olsen Weaver as there are many night time lighting elements also installed.
The second house on the tour was the Silverbrand garden. This is a new garden put in for a house that had been custom built in 2015. The designer Scott Brinitzer was on site and provided explanation and descriptions of the installation challenges and successes.
As a corner lot with a small backyard, Scott was able to create an additional garden room on the side for lounging and entertaining. The front lawn had a repeated cube planting bed that mimicked the cube like straight edges of the house. Each cube housed a tree planted with perennials. Part of the lawn was planted with zoysia grass edged in metal, that became a walking path. The zoysia turns brown in the winter and ties the side terrace to the front walk. The front path were done with a custom blended color concrete that extended to the front steps and terrace.
The backyard had an "odd" approved county grading plan that included a berm which kept the water in the back garden making it unsuitable for any activity. Scott was able to solve this by building a timber wall to elevate the backyard and dig a 6' deep dry well with a flow well to maximize onsite water storage - a requirement for all newly built homes in Arlington County. This also allowed for an area where dining and entertaining could take place. A large Magnolia virginiana was quite happy in the corner. The custom deck in the backyard connects the kitchen to the back garden and back terrace dining space. The railing repeats the design of the main stair rail in the house
The final property was the Panitz Garden which was installed in the summer of 2016 in another fairy newly built home. The home owner had only a few requests. One was that a river birch be sited between the entry walk and the driveway and that she wanted a vegetable bed on the left side of the driveway. Scott was again the designer of this garden. He made a decision to create a series of concrete walls that would emerge from the soil . The panels would play off the geometry of the house, firmly connecting the house to the land. Scott described that the newly built homes have windows which reflect the heat away form the rooms. This provides some challenges for the plantings which must absorb the heat. Because of this he used Mexican feather grass which need the heat.
There are taller plantings clustered on the downhill side of the lot that will allow the neighbor's home to recede somewhat from view over time. Plants used were Chindo Viburnum, Calamagrostis 'Overdam', Prostrate Cephalotaxus, and Little Bluestem. The hardscape steppers were created from limestone to navigate the grade changes. Because the water did not remain on the property and quickly ran off onto the neighbor's drive and the storm sewer, gravel is used to slow the water flow from the site.
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