The Late April Garden: Bursts of Spring Color!

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The month of April is abundant with blooms as we start off spring, and one of the wonderful aspects of my job as a landscape designer is that I get to be surrounded by them on a daily basis.  For early spring color the use of flowering trees and shrubs such as Weeping Cherry, Kwanzan Cherry, Flowering Plum, Eastern Redbud, Magnolia, Viburnum and Ornamental Pear along with spring blooming bulbs such as muscari, hyacinth, crocus, tulips and daffodils bring bursts of color to the landscape. Add some early blooming perennials such as ajuga and phlox to the mix and you have an array of color! Here are some of the more popular flowering species for your early spring garden, followed by information for each individual plant.

Weeping Cherry

Weeping Cherry  (Prunus subhirtella Pendula)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 5-8                Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Low
Mature Size: Height 15-20′ x 15-20′ Wide
cherry blossom

Weeping Cherry Blossom

tulips 3

Red Tulip

tulip, pink

Pink Tulip

tulip, orange

Orange Tulip

yellow tulips

Yellow Tulip

Plant Type: Bulb (Tulip Assorted)
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-9    Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 12-18″ tall
prunus kwazan cherry

Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 4-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun-Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: Height 20-30 ‘x 20-30’ Wide
Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox

Plant Type: Perennial, groundcover
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 4-6″ tall x 16-24″ wide
Viburnum Fragrant 2

Fragrant Viburnum (Viburnum x carlcephalum)

Plant Type: Flowering Shrub
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 6-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 6-10′ tall x 6-10′ wide
Growth Rate: Moderate
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' Flower

Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’

Plant Type: Perennial, groundcover
Deciduous/Evergreen: Herbaceous
Hardiness Zone: 3-9   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Full Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 4-6″ tall x 12-18″ wide
Krater Plum Blossoms 2

Krauter Plum Blossoms (Prunus cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’)

Plant Type: Flowering Tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Hardiness Zone: 5-8   Hardiness Zone Map
Light Needs: Full Sun – Part Shade
Water Needs: Moderate
Mature Size: 15-20′ tall x 15-20′ wide

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Try some of these beauties for spring delight in your landscape. For much more information on flowering trees, shrubs and perennials,  check out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, available on Amazon.

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

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Book Launching: A Guide to Northeastern Gardening

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I am excited to announce the publishing of my book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer. The idea of writing a book stemmed from my two blogs, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, which I started in 2010 and this one, A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, which made its debut in 2013.

Over the years, I developed a determination to put all my experiences into words in the form of a published book, and in 2013 I started this endeavor. After much persistence and determination the goal that I had set out to accomplish has finally become a reality. The publication is an accumulation of knowledge combined with personal experiences from over twenty years of being a landscape designer, with a focus on landscape design and plants hardy in a range of zones from  3-9.  The book derived its name from my original blog from back in 2010 and there is a story to be told about how it came to be.

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.

A preview of my book is now online at Amazon and the publication is available in printed format as well as for kindle. I hope my readers will find A Guide to Northeastern Gardening to be both informative and enjoyable, and wish them all the best in their gardening endeavors!

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

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Book Announcement! My First Published Book!

FotorCreated BOOK PROMO 2 600 pixAfter 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.BOOK PHOTO

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:

Updated for 2016: Now in Amazon Softcover!

Amazon Kindle

Also here is a link to the full story behind the author and the book. I hope to share my gardening experiences with you!

As Always…Happy Gardening!

2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

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New Year’s Wishes – Happy New Year 2015!

coneflower yellow artistic

Wishing my readers and their families good health, prosperity, and much happiness in the new year.  May all your days be bright and 2015 be everything you want it to be!

Thank you and a HAPPY 2015!!!

 Author:  Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation: Get More Blooms from Your Dayliles

garden clean up 2

Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation

It has been a busy Sunday afternoon in August with the summer temperatures starting to cool and a cooler than usual September in the forecast.  I took the time today to give the garden a face lift and rejuvenate some of my fading perennials. By the time late July and August roll around various perennials are starting to show signs of fall mode with yellowing and dying foliage as they are starting to go dormant.  Perennials such as daylily go dormant at the end of summer into fall but there are methods to extend the bloom time right into mid to late September.  With certain species of long blooming daylily such as ‘Stella D Oro’ there is a trick I learned initially by accident.

daylily rejuvenation

Daylily Rejuvenation-Growth Going Dormant

I had some late summer garden maintenance done a few years ago and the crew had cut the yellowing daylilies back to about four inches from the ground.  At first I was taken by surprise but within a couple of weeks I had brand new vibrant green foliage and blooms that lasted well into fall. From that time on I continued to follow this ritual of cutting back my lilies starting at the end of July and into mid-August so that I could enjoy constant blooms.  The procedure is quite simple and I stage the rejuvenation at different times for the various locations of lilies in my garden.  Starting at the end of July and into late August I carefully remove expired yellowed foliage on my perennial daylilies down to new growth which is approximately four to five inches above the ground.   I actually perform this by hand but you can also use pruning shears and if there are any blooms on the plant you can leave them to enjoy. This ritual of removing dead foliage stimulates the plant to produce healthy new leaves and blooms and also prevents the onset of fungal disease that can occur at this time of year with decaying foliage.

Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation of Daylilies

Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation of Daylilies-Just Cut Back

I also remove the expired scapes (bloom bearing stalks) from the plants as soon as they turn brown throughout the entire season which stimulates new blooms.  The photograph on the left shows how the stalks should appear when you remove them. It is easy to know when this should be done since the stalks with seed heads will very easily pull out without any effort.  The photograph on the right shows newly cut foliage right after rejuvenation. Once your daylilies are cut back be sure they continue to receive watering.   In no time you will have plants that appear as they do in early spring bursting with beautiful new growth and flowers. Once the plants have had their final bloom into the fall allow the foliage to die completely back and then remove any decaying debris from around the plant and apply a thin layer of mulch.

rejuvenated 1 month ago

Rejuvenated Daylily After One Month

This method also works with other varieties of daylily with a shorter bloom time such as ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Sammy Russell’ but should be performed in July after these plants are done blooming. Other perennials such a Salvia also benefit from a mid-late summer pruning which is explained in this article.  If you are looking to extend the enjoyment of your summer garden rejuvenation is a simple and quick process well worth the time for it will prolong your enjoyment of blooms well into fall.

As Always…Happy Gardening!

 Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Summer Foliage Combinations

Foliage Combinations

Combining different types of foliage and texture is important in making a garden look its best.  After blooms are gone various combinations of foliage along with the basic backbone of your garden can add impact.  An assortment of colorful evergreens displaying hues of golds, blues and greens when used along with shrubs and perennials in the landscape will provide interest all year round and give that additional “wow” factor to your space.

coral bells, sedge and euonymus

Use opposite colors on the color wheel to provide contrast by combining cool colors with warm. For example:  In this sun to part-shade garden, combining the dark burgundy foliage of Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ with the golden foliage of the evergreen Euonymus ‘Gold Spot’ provides a nice contrast. Now adding the wispy foliage of Japanese Golden Sedge makes a perfect trio.

grass

In a brighter and sunnier location grasses can be used along with evergreens to show a variety of texture while the grasses add movement to the garden as seen above.

hosta MINI Hosta Maui Buttercup

Foliage alone such as the lime-yellow coloration and interesting leaves of this Hosta ‘Maui Buttercups’ can add interest to a darker location…

coral bells assorted[1]

as well as this combination of Heuchera (Coral Bells) along with Juniper in a brighter area.

Garden design involves careful thought and consideration to combinations that will work over time and provide constant interest to either a sunny or shaded area. Foliage alone can also provide a beautiful setting when trying to achieve a low maintenance garden since foliage requires less management. Combining complementary colors along with various foliage and texture types will add interest and impact to your garden. For additional reading on foliage combinations also visit my other blog at A Guide to Northeastern Gardening.

As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Pruning Perennial Salvia

salvia pruning

Salvia ‘Maynight’ is one of my favorite blooms in the garden with its vibrant deep purple flower spikes starting at the end of May and lasting throughout the summer with proper pruning.  When your plants are starting to look a little less desirable then is time to dead head. It is sometimes difficult to explain how to prune salvia so follow me on this. Take a look at any three fingers on your hand that are next to each other. When you prune your salvia you will be cutting out the center stalk that is done blooming. On each side of the center stalk you will see two other stalks with new buds and blooms forming. If there are blooms done on the two side stalks you can cut those out as well. Only cut the spent stalks and the new flowers will form.

I usually get about three blooms out of my salvia throughout the summer and into the early fall. By the second or third bloom you may want to give your plants a little plant food to give them a boost and add energy for the rest of the season.   If your plants are brand new they may have been force bloomed so for the first season you may only get one or two blooms but come next year you will be able to push out three blooms if you time your pruning right.

With proper maintenance you will get full enjoyment from your Salvia with blooms throughout the entire summer and into fall!

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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