The act of sowing seed and growing food is a defining characteristic for us humans. Farming is one of the reasons cities and societies developed. Yet, it has become a lost art for most of us. It would be impossible for most of us to harvest a crop we planted ourselves. Yet, many people that live in suburban areas are finding a new desire for super local food grown right in their yards. How does one go from not knowing the first thing about farming to becoming a suburbanite with a green thumb?
Winter gardening needs two other ingredients to look and be awesome. One is a density of plants that fill the landscape throughout the year. The other is, simply, time. It takes time for new plants to mature, bloom and establish themselves. Unlike, say, a bathroom renovation, that is completed once a contractor has finished painting the walls. Landscapes are more flexible and want to be engaged long after the last perennial is put in the ground.
Winter interest isn’t just about looking good. It’s about being more ecologically enriching and more sustainable than conventional landscape design and lawn care. The use of native and adaptive plants has huge positive impacts on nature from being habitat and food sources of bees, birds, butterflies and other animals. But more than anything, designing a four-seasons landscape means establishing groundcover. Groundcover may sound kinda boring, but it is one the cornerstones for an ecological community.
This is going to be a super short post. I just wanted to get a few pictures up to show the beginnings of an outdoor classroom at the South Mountain Annex in South Orange, NJ. South Mountain Annex is a public school of kindergarteners and first graders. I recently wanted to get involved with the school because my oldest son just started kindergarten there.
This is the second post in my series about designing four-season landscapes and winter gardens (you can read the first post here). All of the beauty in the after comes because a few major elements incorporated during the design process. First, a focus has to be put on the cycle of life for the plants to be installed, how they change each season and what plants can be coupled for the best result. Second, (and this is a little more technical), you have to make sure the new design uses the right plants to completely cover the ground so no bare soil is exposed. Third, you really need to make sure that the different plants selected (and how many are used) will create the desired density. Density is what gives the space its sense of fullness. Lastly, time is your friend. The best four-season gardens change over time and offer playful ways to add and subtract plants each year. This post is covering the first point about the dynamic nature of sustainable plant selection.
I’m totally jazzed about how incredible gardens can look right now in early January. I'm so jazzed that I wanted to do a series about the topic and get into some of the details. Over the next few days, I'm going to post three other blogs on the topic. I love creating these ecological jewels with clients.
The goal is to make this blog a resource for helpful tips and sustainable ideas. I create original content that shows projects in progress and the behind-the-scenes of installation. And, I try to have as much fun as I can doing it.