The homeowners describe their garden as a “relaxing and beautiful sanctuary” to retreat from their busy schedules. Additionally, as avid lovers of art, nature, birds, and butterflies, their directive for creating and maintaining their landscape is clear. “We want to encourage a natural habitat for desirable wildlife, while also enjoying the beauty and serenity of the garden.” Our design and maintenance teams work diligently to fulfill this mandate, ensuring detailed care and year-round interest.
Surrounded by a dense, naturally wooded area, the development and maintenance of this outdoor sanctuary has evolved over the past several years. Phase one involved a pool/spa addition, outdoor fireplace and surrounding hardscape, terraced lawn areas, naturalized pond/waterfall, deck expansion, and sprinkler system. Outdoor lighting and a sound system soon enhanced the landscape. Most recently, an edible food forest and fruit guild completes the garden scheme. Our maintenance team continually incorporates numerous annuals and perennials throughout the garden, including each Perennial Plant of the Year selection from 1990 to 2017, as well as, creates and maintains container plantings throughout the deck and hardscape areas. These flowering and fruiting materials serve as companion plantings, pollinators, nitrogen fixers, and attractors to provide a haven for the many birds and butterflies that frequently visit the garden. The homeowners and guests often enjoy the panoramic beauty of the garden, along with constant sightings of bluebird, hummingbird, finch, and red-headed woodpecker. Selected host plantings attract many different species of butterflies, including, but not limited to, monarch and tiger swallowtail.
Our addition and maintenance of the edible food forest and fruit guild has become a source of enjoyment and intrigue for the homeowners and their guests. We maintain this area of the landscape as a native pollinator garden and ecologically sound “foodscape.” The primary function of this area is to provide a native habitat for wildlife through diversification, and secondly, to provide an organic source of fruits, herbs, and some vegetables for the homeowners. Some plants include Native Pawpaw, Asian and native American Persimmon, Elderberry, Nanking Cherry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Currant, Asparagus, and Strawberry. Plantings are arranged in swales on contour to maximize the efficient capturing of rain and gravity-fed water flow from underground gutter piping, therefore, minimizing the need for additional irrigation. While our team manages other areas of the landscape with standard and detailed practices of pruning, edging, fertilization, and pest control, and mulching, we maintain the edible garden much differently. We utilize a Permaculture philosophy in maintaining the edible garden. Examples include a “chop and drop” method of pruning, organic amendments, and Hugelkultur planting practices to encourage microbial activity and dynamic accumulators that mine the soil for nutrients, thus enhancing the fertility and oxygen in the soil. No chemicals are used in this area of the landscape.