Wishing all of you, my readers, a wonderful new year filled with good health, prosperity and happiness. May your heart be filled with new hopes, your mind be open to new horizons and may the new year bring you promises for brighter tomorrows.
As we go through the upcoming year, may your gardens always be green and 2020 be everything you want it to be!
Thank you for being here, and always remember…“The gardening season officially begins on January 1st with a dream!”
I am very excited to announce the release of my newest bookDream, Garden, Grow!-Musings of a Lifetime Gardener.Wanting to share my experiences with readers on a more personal level, I dug down into my deepest thoughts and started to write a story about life, following dreams, growing up as a gardener and growing along with the garden. Dream, Garden, Grow will take you on a journey down life’s many paths, making you smile and laugh, while teaching some gardening information along the way.
Read and learn about the many medicinal uses of plants, garden folklore, gardening through the seasons and moon gardening. Discover changing trends in gardening and learn the folklore behind sunflowers and dragonflies, as their meaning and cultural history are explored. Learn about gardening tips tried and true and laugh your way through what constitutes a gardening addict, garden jargon and the mystery behind the infamous garden gnome. Dream, Garden Grow will be sure to both educate and amuse.
While writing Dream, Garden, Grow, I realized that I really had been destined to be a gardener all my life and I admit that I am happiest and most at peace when surrounded by all things green. The proof was there in generations before and in the paths I had followed. Composing this book has been very special to me and I hope that my stories will bring back fond memories for my readers, perhaps bring a smile to your face and teach something new. Come along on my journey!
About the Book:
Lee Miller is proud to share her latest publication, Dream, Garden, Grow, a collection of musings as she shares her memories of childhood and how she grew to become a lifetime gardener. Packed with stories about life, gardening, medicinal uses of plants, garden folklore, seasonal interest, sustainable and indoor gardening, you’ll laugh and learn as you explore what makes a gardening addict and the meaning behind mysterious gnomes and garden fairies. While exploring, also learn about moon gardens, witty garden jargon and tried and true gardening tips. Whether you are a gardener or not, have a “green thumb” or “brown”, Lee’s stories will not only entertain and amuse but will teach you inspiring gardening pointers along the way.
About the Author:
Lee Miller is a landscape/garden designer, consultant and garden blog author from the south shore of Long Island, who has been involved in the horticultural industry for over twenty years. Her award-winning gardening blog features over 250 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. In addition, Lee Miller has donated her time as a contributing writer for the American Heart Association Gardening Blog, as well as Gardening Know How, and has been involved as a presenter at local gardening clubs. Lee is the author of two books, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening and Landscape Design Combinations, each sharing her experiences and know-how as a seasoned gardener. With trowel in hand since the age of five, her passion for gardening continues to grow.
Dream, Garden, Grow!-Musings of a Lifetime Gardener is available on Amazon (Click Here)in either paperback or kindle format. I hope you enjoy it!
Lee Miller@Landscape Design By Lee 2018. All Rights Reserved.
HISTORY: After may years of experimentation, Japanese horticulturist, Dr. Toichi Itoh, successfully created seven peony hybrids from a tree peony in 1948, which were known to became the first Itoh peonies. Itoh Peony are derived from a cross breeding between herbaceous and tree peonies, forming a stronger, longer blooming variety over its predecessors. Similar to tree peonies, members of this cultivar have large, long lasting blooms and strong stems that do not require staking. The deeply lobed dark green foliage on a 3-4 foot high by wide plant lasts all summer and into fall, making an attractive addition to the garden. Itoh peonies are also known to be more disease resistant and are not preferred by deer.
GROWING AND MAINTAINING: Itoh peonies prefer to be placed in full sun to partial shade in a rich, well-drained soil. Feed in spring with a low nitrogen fertilizer to promote blooms. Fertilization is not recommended in late summer to fall when the plant is going into dormancy. Once blooms have completed in late spring, Itoh peony can be deadheaded by removing spent flower stalks, leaving its attractive foliage to remain for the rest of the growing season. In autumn, once the foliage turns brown, cut back plants to about 4-6 inches up from the soil level. It is recommended to mulch around the plant to insulate the roots from freezing temperatures. Once spring comes around, your peony will emerge for another growing season. Itoh peony can also be divided in autumn as you would herbaceous peonies.
I discovered this wonderful peony a few years back and have enjoyed its beautiful, sturdy, and disease resistant blooms in the garden. You may find them to be a nice addition as well!
I am very excited to be officially announcing the launching of my second book, Landscape Design Combinations! Fifty something years ago, I developed a passion for all things green and started digging in the soil by the age of five. In the 1980’s, I entered the field of education and after sixteen years, with the encouragement of friends, started up a landscape design business in 1996. I took up an interest in blog writing and photography in 2010, and after retiring from 32 years of teaching in 2013, I decided to put all my experiences into a published work. I had quickly realized that writing and publishing a book was not an easy task, but persisted in accomplishing what I had started. By 2015, I published my first book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening.
The thought of starting the process all over again was the furthest thing from my mind, but to my own astonishment, the desire to write within me grew even stronger. There was still so much I wanted to share. As I started to write, the words came easily, and a second book started to materialize. Now, two years later, I have completed Landscape Design Combinations, which takes the first book a step further by going much deeper into the design process, while offering numerous landscape designs with labeled photographs and descriptions. One can say that it completes what I had started. I am now thrilled to be able to share my love of gardening and design with you through a second book.
What does this book have to offer? Landscape Design Combinations is a comprehensive guide to help you plan your outdoor space. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by “what to plant where” in your garden, or have spent months, or even years, not knowing where to begin, Landscape Design Combinations will help to facilitate the process. The first two chapters deal with the basic principles of landscape design and color coordination. You will get ideas for the desired function of your space and discover your own personal sense of garden style and color preference. Throughout the book, each chapter builds upon the one before it, discussing foliage combinations, then types of and proper placement of evergreens, followed by flowering shrubs and finally, perennials.
Numbered and labeled photographs are supplied throughout the book with information on each plant, such as common or scientific name, plant descriptions and cold hardiness. Once plant usage and placement is covered, the remaining chapters discuss hardscape, with directions on how to build a simple stone walkway or patio, along with more information on garden styles. Each chapter will incorporate plants discussed earlier and create designs starting from simple perennial combinations to full landscape designs.
Discussion of evergreens and flowering plants will focus on placement and interest provided, while perennial combinations will include bloom time for each plant discussed. As each chapter progress, more detailed design plan layouts will be provided as a guide to assist you in planning your space. In the later chapters, topics covered include designing for seasonal interest, container combinations and hardscaping, with easy to follow designs. The book ends with “Garden Inspiration”, which discusses garden styles throughout the centuries and how various design elements have developed over the years. Finally, a glossary is included with definitions of design terms used throughout the book.
About the Book:Landscape Design Combinations provides the necessary tools to help you easily plan your garden, while offering a multitude of design plans with labeled photographs and detailed descriptions. Topics such as landscape design principles, color in design, the use of foliage, designing with deciduous and evergreen plants, planter combinations and landscape planning are discussed. Additional topics include designing with hardscape with “quick and easy” landscape designs and garden styles throughout history, with colorful illustrations. The information presented is applicable to both novice or professional gardener alike, and is all based on Lee Miller’s personal experience as a landscape designer for over twenty years. Lee Miller is also the author of “A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer”, initially published in 2015.
About the Author: Lee Miller is a professional landscape/garden designer involved in the horticultural industry since 1996. Having started a gardening blog in 2010, she is the author of over 200 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. In addition, Lee Miller has donated her time as a contributing writer for the American Heart Association Gardening Blog, as well as Gardening Know How, and has been involved as a presenter at local gardening clubs.
To Preview Landscape Design Combinations, simply click on the link or icon below. I hope to inspire you!
Hardscape elements can add much beauty as well as serving a function in your outdoor space. Creating a natural stone patio or walkway can add an extra dimension to your landscaping and can be accomplished in one to two days, depending on the size of your area. There are a series of necessary steps that must be followed in order to ensure the stability and lifetime of your project.
Before starting your project, clear your space of any grass, stone or debris and level the area as best as possible. There should be a slight pitch for water drainage, but no more than a five degree slope is recommended.
After leveling, construct a border for your walkway using a standard steel or plastic landscape edging. Lay a layer of landscape fabric to cover the area in order to keep out soil and prevent weeds from coming through. Use metal anchors to keep the landscape fabric in place. (Note: Steel Edging comes in 16 foot sections.)
Once the edging and landscape fabric are in place, install a 2-3 inch base for your stone to sit in. Here a 3/4 inch pea gravel base is being used. Rake out the gravel to create a level surface.
Now you are ready to lay down the irregular bluestone slabs into the gravel base. A recommended size for the bluestone slabs is approximately 2′ x 3′. Move the stones within the gravel to ensure they are level and comfortable for walking and push the gravel up around the edges. Your new walkway is now complete and ready to enjoy!
To construct an irregular bluestone patio, first clear the area of any grass or debris.
Level the area and install a base of three to four layers of RCA (recycled concrete) while tamping down after each layer is deposited. A solid layer of approximately four inches is recommended.
Afterwards, add a layer of clean sandbox sand and use a level to make sure the area is flat.
Once the base is fully prepared, using a stone saw, carefully cut and piece the irregular bluestone slabs together to fit like a puzzle. This can be a bit tedious but better to take your time. Once all the stone is laid, fully clean off any dust or debris and wash down the new patio with a hose and allow to dry. Once completely dry, it is time to brush polymeric sand into the grooves of the stone without getting any onto the surrounding area. The polymeric sand will form a permanent bond between the pieces of stone to complete your patio project. Wet down lightly with a spray nozzle and let set overnight. (Note: Polymeric sand hardens like a cement and will not come off the surrounding patio once set with water. Take caution when applying to ensure the area is clean of any remaining dust or debris.) Once these steps are completed your new patio is ready to enjoy!
Following these simple steps will help guide you into creating a welcoming patio or walkway for your landscape to enjoy for years to come. For other design and hardscaping ideas, be sure to check out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, which isavailable on Amazon.
When designing I like to incorporate elements into the garden which will give interest all year round, and especially enjoy a burst of color in spring, as do many of my clients. In the above garden I have incorporated colorful evergreens, deciduous shrubs and perennials together to form a flow of color.
According to the color wheel above, colors opposite one another, referred to as warm or cool colors, complement one another best. When laying out your garden try to combine warm colors (such as yellows, reds and pinks) with cool colors (including purples, blues and greens) and repeat the theme by using the same color combinations throughout the garden. This creates unity and flow throughout the landscape.
In this driveway planting the cool blue hue of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar complements the warm hue of the Golden Oriental Spruce along with ‘Royal Burgundy’ Barberry, Nepeta and Coreopsis, The nepeta (cool blue-purple) and coreopsis (warm yellow) will bloom profusely throughout the entire summer against the burgundy foliage of the barbery.
Here Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is used along with a backdrop of evergreens and Gold Mound Spirea. Again the combination of warm and cool colors is used along with evergreens, which provide structure in the garden.In order to supply additional interest in spring and summer bulbs can be used to incorporate large blooms, such as these giant Globemaster Allium, which display eight inch blooms on top of two foot stalks and rising above the other plants in the garden. A tip on planting bulbs would be to incorporate them along with other perennials that have full foliage as to hide the yellowing foliage of the early bloomers. Here I masked the bottom foliage of the Allium with the lush green foliage of Daylily, which will jump into bloom afterwards.
These are just a few design tips that I am passing along. Until next time…
As a designer I get a lot of inquiries about what landscape design is all about and how the process works. Landscape design involves communication between client and designer and always involves the improvement of an outdoor space; whether it be for functionality or simple aesthetics, or of course a combination of both. My goal as a designer is to create a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing in all seasons but which also achieves a specific function in mind. When I meet with a client I always want to know what they are looking for in their space and what they would like to accomplish. After much discussion with the homeowner I get a sense for their taste in garden style and better understanding of their preferences for plant and hardscape materials.
Landscape Design: The process of landscape design involves planning both the hardscape and softscape features of an area in order to make the optimum use of the space. When planning be sure to consider such factors as entertainment space, privacy, maintenance, drainage, cost and of course aesthetics and functionality. The designer has the ability to take what may seem to be an overwhelming project and organize it into one that you can implement all at once or over a period of time. The purpose of the design is to show you the “big picture” of how your property will develop over time taking out any of the guesswork or added expense of having to do things over.
The Design Process:
Site Analysis: Site Analysis involves walking the property and taking note of existing features such as hardscape, existing plantings, sunlight, elevation, drainage and location of utilities such as cesspools, drywells, cable or gas. A survey of the property will help to facilitate this procedure.
Conceptual Plan: The conceptual plan is an overview or the initial layout showing the location of hardscape and softscape. Hardscape is defined as anything permanent and static such as pools, water features, patios, walkways, driveways or retaining walls. Softscape involves anything that is dynamic or changing such as the plantings and whether the look is to be formal, informal, cottage style or traditional. During the design process I will go over the layout of hardscape and planting areas and often mark them out for the client so they can “test drive” the planned driveway, etc. At this time each aspect of the design can be discussed and be altered as needed and the designer’s job is to make sure that all the elements work together to make the design functional.
Master Plan: Upon approval of the conceptual plan the designer will then draft a scaled to size master plan (or blueprint) that will show the layout of hardscape and softscape. Detailed listings of hardscape and plant material, sizes, quantities and specifications will also be included in the design. Computer rendered imaging of your design can also be included to show a visual of how the completed design will look.
Implementation: Implementation of your landscape design can happen over days, months or even years and can be installed on your own or by a professional. The landscape design will provide you with the “recipe” for the best use of your space and make your project a much more enjoyable experience!
2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.
After two years of working on my book I am excited to announce that it is finally published! A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer is a comprehensive guide to gardening in plant hardiness zones 3-9. My goal for the book is to share information on a number of gardening topics based on my experiences as a landscape designer over the years.
A Little Bit About the Book:
A Guide to Northeastern Gardening is a comprehensive guide of valuable information on plants hardy in a range of zones from 3-9, and gardening techniques backed up by my own personal experiences as a professional landscape designer, along with answers to frequently asked questions. Learn about landscape design principles, butterfly gardening, deer resistant plants, long blooming perennials, globe and weeping evergreens, flowering trees and shrubs, native plantings, shade gardening and more. Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening will help you to create your own dream garden. Come along on my journey into the world of gardening!
A Little Bit About the Author:
Lee Miller is a professional landscape/garden designer involved in the horticultural industry since 1996. Having started a gardening blog in 2010, she is the author of over 150 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. Her published book, “A Guide to Northeastern Gardening”, is an accumulation of information touching on a wide variety of gardening topics, all backed up by her own personal experiences.
Previews and further information are available on the following links:
Combining proper hues to achieve maximum impact in the garden is a very important element in landscape design. I am sharing this outstanding and very informative post from Sue Gaviller at Not Another Gardening Blog.
A week or so ago, while out for a walk with my sister in her inner-city neighbourhood, I heard the familiar sound of Robin chirps. It took me a minute to realize that the sound was out of place on this mid-February afternoon. Indeed my sister doubted me initially, but then she heard it too. “Holy $#!+.” she said. According to local bird experts a few robins do spend the winter here, but neither of us had ever seen one this early in the year.
Several blocks later I happened to look up and espied what appeared to be pussy willows. At first I thought it might be water droplets on the branches reflecting the late day sun – but then I reached up and felt the fat fuzzy protuberances. Yep, those are pussy willows. While there are many species of willow that produce the downy catkins, a few as early as February, Salix discolor, the true North…
With winter weather upon us here in the northeast, the garden is currently buried under a blanket of snow and is likely to remain that way for some time. At this time of year the elements of color, form and texture, along with structure play an even more important role in design, and are more pronounced in the winter landscape. Form can exist as horizontal, vertical, pendulous (weeping) rounded, vase-shaped and pyramidal. Texture refers to the nature of the foliage and can be described in a number of ways including fine, course, dull, shiny, wide or narrow, to name a few. Structure refers to the shape or form of a plant with relation to its environment. As seen in the above photograph and description, all three of the plants mentioned add color, form, texture and structure to the landscape.
Evergreens are key in providing structure, such as the snow covered spreading yew and cascading Weeping Norway Spruce shown above. They display a deeper green foliage which contrasts nicely against the the fallen snow. A vertical backdrop of Western Arborvitae adds to the screening. The combinations of varying form and foliage add all season interest to the backdrop of this poolscape.
This member of the Picea family is Montogomery Spruce ‘Globusa’, a rounded compact form of Colorado Blue Spruce which grows only to a height and diameter of approximately three feet. Its deep blue color remains throughout all the seasons and is even more noticeable in winter. The characteristic of evergreens that I find to be so appealing is the wide selection of varying colors and forms.
Berry producing plants such as this Nandina domestica provide an interesting framework and winter color and also serve as a food source for birds. There are many berry producing shrubs for the landscape including Winterberry, Holly, Elderberry and Viburnum. Combining both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs in the landscape supplies a range of form, and many deciduous plantings display interesting branch structure and bark, such as the Coral Bark Maple above and Crape Myrtle below.
These are just a few examples of how the winter landscape can be made to be more inviting. While waiting for spring, the winter season is a good time for assessing and planning the landscape. If the garden is to look aesthetically pleasing throughout the year, especially during the cold winter months, it is important to include the design elements of color, form, texture and overall structure in your planning.
As Always…Happy Gardening!
2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.