April 2018
Welcome to our 2018 Spring Newsletter!
Our New England winter color palette changes from cool white to warm shades of yellows, oranges, purples and pinks. The mood change of warm colors is a sight we all wait for each year. 
Gardening Notes
Under the blanket of snow our gardens are at rest. However, this does not mean the gardener should remain idle. There are certain chores you can do this time of year to prepare for the spring season.

March can be such a troublesome month!  Two years ago there was a long warm spell, only to be followed by cold nights with extremely cold temperatures which killed many plants, including many Hydrangeas buds to the ground! So when should you start your spring chores?

The most important creative job a gardener can do is a task I call “garden in review." This simply means you are going to create a journal for the past three seasons of your gardens or foundational landscape, and write down the plants or shrubs that are problematic and note the ones that bring satisfaction.
Many of us receive hot house hydrangeas for Easter. Here is a suggested planter arrangement you can create to use that plant, along with cut pussy willows or cut forsythia stems, potted herb plants, asparagus fern along with gathered moss to fill the planter base.
 The Importance of Foundational Plantings to Every Home:
Almost every home has some type of foundational planting. Whether you inherited it from a former owner or a contractor basic install, this framework defines your entrance. Many times the plantings are bland and not in scale with the house. When these plantings are ignored for years, they become overgrown and consume the façade of your home.

Trees and shrubs mature especially if they have not under gone a continual pruning and shaping program. The whole point of foundational plantings is to blend the natural landscape with the structure of your home and compliment your entrance for an intriguing “curb appeal.”
Inspire Curb Appeal with "Curve" Appeal!
Curved beds will enhance your entrance. Wrapping the curved lines with your anchor plantings will contribute to a soft and graceful line to the house.

The same holds true for your viewing garden. The most central concern I hear from our clients is, the view they look at from inside their homes.

Many have a kitchen family room view of the outside. This is the most viewed scene we all encounter and this should be appealing.

With a little creativity and a successful framework, your viewing garden from the inside of your home, can be transformed into a space you can always appreciate.

A small circular garden or water feature tucked into some corner of your landscape, adds a visual theme of interest.

A garden accent urn filled with dramatic bold annuals is one suggestion.

Another is a trio of large planters with dwarf shrubs such as: limelight hydrangeas, variegated grasses for dramatic height, ligularias, Rodgersias for large leaf, or a variegated collection of Hostas. 

Once the fall creeps in, remove the perennials and plant in the ground. Be mindful of the location for proper lighting conditions.
Limited Space for Your Outdoor Entrance?
If you have a short distance from the sidewalk to your entrance then pack in a strong foundational planting, that includes a tree and shrubs, so you can have height and screening if desired.
For those homeowners who live in condos, privacy plus plant density can provide an impressive benefit to a small space. 

I cannot stress enough, that a variety does not have to be chaotic; on a small scale it can provide an exciting and strong impact. Having a subdued color palette of various textures is just as exciting.

Every garden with diffused light deserves a subdued palette of greens and chartreuse which can provide harmony.

Pepper in some shades of red with a specimen thread leaf Japanese maple and you have created a bed full of unity, texture and appeal. 
Connecting Home and Landscape is CRUCIAL!
Just as you would carry through the wall colors in an open concept interior design, you also must carry your extended theme around the corner of your house to frame your property. With any design, the most important concept in any planting is in capturing the personality and style of the homeowners.

A good garden coach will help problem solve all your concerns, sort your likes and dislikes on textures and colors and balance out the visual lines of your house.
How to Layer a Landscape
Textures, Colors, and structural shapes play a part in appropriately layering a landscape design; there is the backdrop of heights, the mid-section, underpinnings that skirt a tree and the border plantings in the front.

The single most important comment we continue to stress is the countless conifers that can add vibrant shades of greens and blues.
When to Prune: Old Fashion Lilac, Rose of Sharon, Tree Lilac and Pussy Willow
Late Fall Thru early spring ; is the time these shrubs can take a hard pruning. Chances are your old lilac or Rose of Sharon has gnarly trunks and many suckers sprouting from the bottom.

Cut the suckers to ground level or reduce the footprint of the plant by digging up the suckers and roots right out of the ground. This does require more work than reducing the suckers at ground level, pruning out the thick dead branches and reducing the crowns of the plants.
Trees send up suckers as a reaction to stress . Your smart tree is putting up an effort to survive in a less than perfect environment. Those suckers are a way of multiplying, ensuring the lineage of the tree lives on. If the tree can’t survive, the suckers will grow in its place.
Rule of thumb is the same for all three shrubs mentioned above.

CONTROL TIPS : always remove any cross or rubbing branches, winter damage branches in spring, remove spent flowers and continue to keep the suckers at the base line. The pussy willow, Rose of Sharon, and Lilac are all rugged shrubs that will give you a lifetime of beauty, but they do need to be tamed every couple of years.
Beautiful to look at and healthy to eat. The herbed cream cheese spread here can be chives and horseradish or a smear of boursin cheese, top with spring veggies.