Garden lessons from a new residential client

By May 11, 2022 No Comments


I love meeting new clients and getting to know them and their needs. I really love it when it becomes obvious I can help them. And during the garden assessment, you can take a look at the place and see what condition it’s in. When I meet the people I obviously don’t tell them they will be my next blog post topic.

What I see

If you read my blogs regularly, you will know that I hate landscape fabric. But if it’s already installed, then at least bury it with several inches of mulch or soil. This garden had lots of fabric showing so I recommended adding two inches throughout to keep the weeds down; and to give the planted bed a uniform look. Otherwise, they would see there more often, weeding.

Exposed root flare and landscape fabric.

Pro tip: Best case, your landscape fabric will delay weeds. Even with two inches of mulch installed, weeds will still drift in with animals and the wind.

I love gardening and I think people should bravely experiment in their gardens. Here, the owners planted lots of single plants which works best for specimens. Like having one weeping Japanese maple in the middle of the bed. More on this soon. But for perennials, multiples are better.

For example, one tiger lily doesn’t have the same effect as, say, 5-7. Instead of having two Bergenias, I would go for 3, 5 or 7. Planting more also means more competition for weeds which love open bed spaces.

One Hellebore and two Bergenias. You could add two or four Hellebores and at least one Bergenia.

Pro tip: plant in odd numbers. Three is better than two. Five, seven, etc.

Proper tree planting is also important. I really like that this client gave it a go. When I told her the maple was planted a bit low she smiled and said something about learning. That’s right, she has the right attitude.

I uncovered the root flare and created a quick tree well so the stem didn’t rot in the soil. The tree should be fine.

The outside boulevard also needed some attention. It was still leafy from the fall and it was covered with cherry pits. And the lawn edge also required blade edging. Now it looks much better.

Blade edged and blown clean.

Normally I would be tempted to make some inappropriate joke but, since these were brand new clients, I just mentioned in passing that their Skimmias were all female. It’s always nice to plant males nearby.

The future

The beauty of having clients is that you can teach them while you make money. Customers, on the other hand, only care about prices and rates, don’t care to learn and will dump you for Miguel who charges $1 less per hour.

I expect to work with this couple all year and beyond. Since the owner loves fragrant plants, I’m looking forward to transforming their garden into a semi-shade oasis. It might generate a few more blog posts this year.

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