Dec 28, 2005

The catalogs are coming! The catalogs are coming!

Must be the end of the year... so far the Burpee and Tomato Growers Supply Co. seed catalogs have arrived in my mailbox, and I suspect they're only the beginning.

What I love most about these catalogs isn't actually the plants they offer (although Burpee's "Red Lightning" tomato is awfully pretty); it's that they get people excited about gardening in the dead of winter.

Frankly, it doesn't matter whether "Fresh Salsa" or"Halley 3155 VFF Hybrid #4538" makes a better bruschetta. What matters is which photo and description gets you out in the garden scouting for a sunny site and poking seeds into the ground.

Next up should be the Seeds of Change catalog, which I think surpasses even Burpee for showing gorgeous companion flowers and perennials in addition to edibles.

What's your favorite mail-order seed or plant company?

Dec 21, 2005

Season of light

Today is the winter solstice -- the shortest day, and longest night, of the year, which means it's a great time to think about your landscape lighting.

Ideally, your lighting achieves a few objectives: it guides access; it provides safety and security, and it reveals new aspects of your garden's beauty. There's no shortage of books on the subject of illuminating your landscape. Most will describe types of lamps and equipment, and design principles and techniques; some will also provide pointers for the do-it-yourselfer on installation and maintenance. Apparently there are even some "trade secrets" and "advanced trade secrets" to had!

And while it's true that you can get tricky with your lighting and achieve all sorts of nifty effects, that's best left for a lighting or landscape designer with some experience. If you want to improve your landscape lighting yourself, really there are just a handful of principles to keep in mind:
Use a judicious variety of techniques. Mix downlighting, uplighting, path lights and accent spotlights. (Just make sure that, as with your plantings, you don't have too many 'one-offs' that detract from a sense of continuity and cohesion in your garden.)
Divide your lighting system into a number of different circuits. For instance, you probably want to be able to turn off the lights around your hot tub, for stargazing or privacy, without plunging the rest of your landscsape into darkness.
Be flexible. Use only 2/3 the capacity of each transformer; install extra conduit and wire for future expansion; install extra receptacles close to your home and entertaining areas for holiday lights, temporary light fixtures, portable electronics, and so on; and install extra-long runs of wire to each fixture so it can be moved if necessary to accommodate mature plants or different placements.
Keep it simple. The more exotic your fixtures, the more difficulty you'll have replacing any broken or malfunctioning ones; and the more complicated your system, the more difficulty you'll have troubleshooting or reconfiguring it in the future.
Don't overlight. If everything in your garden is lit, nothing stands out. Use fewer lights more carefully to ensure maximum effect. Think of lighting in terms of "layers," creating a background, foreground and focal points. And avoid glare: light should never shine directly into eyes or across property lines.

If you're just installing a new landscape, or have more complex needs than some simple uplighting or downlighting, consider hiring a landscape designer or professional lighting designer -- the money you spend will more than pay for itself in terms of peace of mind and overall effect. Some lighting manufacturers will also design systems for you, and even arrange for "previews" of your system so you can fine-tune locations and effects before final installation.

Good luck, and good night!

Dec 13, 2005

Another Smart Landscape

I've been invited back to film another episode of HGTV's "Landscape Smart" -- apparently the last one was pretty well received.

This time we're working with homeowners who have two very energetic kids and two very energetic dogs, so the yard has to be as tough as it is good-looking. We've installed a bike/play path of decomposed granite, with a faux bridge atop a constructed berm set with flowing plants to create the illusion of water (since neither standing water nor a dry creek would be the safest thing).

I'll have more 'after' shots to share with you in a few weeks... stay tuned!

Dec 2, 2005

Dem bones, dem bones

Soon it will be time to cut your warm-weather perennials back almost to the ground, if you haven't already -- and with all those flowers and foliage out of the way, you'll probably see a lot more of your garden than usual. But what, exactly, do you see?

If your garden were exclusively perennials and annuals, you wouldn't see much more than bare ground. On the other hand, if you've got evergreen shrubs, statuary, sculpture, or structures in your landscape, your eye would have plenty of places to light on. These are the "bones" of the garden: the elements that remain constant even as the plants around them grow, change and die. They bring form and order to your space, and they inspire the imagination even as their context changes.

As you cut back your garden, keep an eye out for spaces that have a "barren" look or feel to them -- these are the prime candidates to receive a little bone structure. Other opportunities exist at bends or forks in pathways; intersections of sight lines (from two different windows, for example); or the perimeters of entertaining spaces. But be judicious in your choices: too many focal points, and nothing will stand out.

Nov 26, 2005

The Value of Design

I came across a very nicely done article on the "Value of Design" at an architect's web site today. Even though the original was written regarding the architecture of buildings, I feel it's worth paraphrasing for landscape design.

Value of Design
(© Coldham Architects LLC, Amherst, MA)

"There is an oft held perception that fees paid to design professionals might be better spent on 'getting more building'. Let me explain why I think that the best way to get more [garden] is to spend time and money on a thorough, professionally managed design process. Let me give you… specific ways in which design adds to a [garden]'s value."

First, good landscape design means yielding more functionality and pleasure out of less space. Such efficiency means being clear about needs and priorities, as well as what is allowed (or not) by municipal codes. This is why Verdance takes such pains to interview our clientele thoroughly, including researching codes and precedents, before we ever put pen to paper.

Second, "good design adds value… by reducing operating expenses." Whether it's a water-thrifty landscape that saves both water and power, or well-placed deciduous trees that even reduce HVAC costs inside the home by providing shade in the summer and allowing light in the winter, it's actually possible to quantify the benefits of a thoughtfully designed landscape.

Third, "good design adds value… by anticipating and accommodating change." After all, a natural system is the embodiment of change: plants grow and die, features and amenities wear and weather, and use patterns vary over time as more or fewer people use the landscape. A professional designer will anticipate some of these changes (for instance, spacing plants for their mature size, not their size at planting time) and accommodate others (e.g. laying empty conduit beneath new hardscape for additional lighting wire or irrigation lines in the future). Without this forethought, the homeowner will either spend far more money and time trying to retrofit a limited system or, sadly, choose to live without the improvements.

And "the final way in which good design adds value is by making something more beautiful". It sounds so obvious, and obviously no one sets out to design an unattractive garden, but the professional designer's expertise is in creating beauty in unexpected ways, and in fine details which may escape the untrained hand. If a landscape has, as the original author says, "real appeal and becomes loved, it will be cared for and enhance the image of those connected with it."

And this is the ultimate benefit of good design: no matter what it costs, the value it provides is priceless.

Nov 5, 2005

happy birthday to me


The problem is, no one can agree on what flowers symbolize Scorpio. Traditionally I had always heard Chrysanthemum. But there's also Geranium and honeysuckle (whether true Geranium or Pelargonium, I have no idea). Orchid, Gardenia and Dahlia are also candidates, as are Anemone and heather.

It's also been noted that "Gerbera and the suggestively shaped Hippeastrum are Scorpio flowers. Also flowers that grow in dark or secret glades are ruled by this sign." (This source also goes on to rightly ask, "With a sexy Scorpio as your lover who needs flowers?")(Indeed.)

So anyhow, happy birthday to me. According to the American Paper and Forest Association, some 4 million trees will be planted today. Not a bad gift... but maybe you and I can nudge that number north a bit?

Oct 10, 2005

Much Ado About Mulch

Although you wouldn't know it to look outside, it's about to get rainy around here. Which means this is an ideal time to lay down a good, thick layer of mulch on your garden. No matter what material you use -- redwood nuggets, shredded fir bark, or organic compost -- it's recommended to keep at least 2" to 4" atop your soil. This helps suppress weeds (which won't get enough sunlight to germinate); retain moisture (which can't evaporate so readily); and, as tends to happen in dark, damp places, encourage the growth of fungus.

In particular, we use mulch to encourage mycorrhizae, a group of fungi that develop symbiotic relationships with the plants around them: in exchange for gleaning micronutrients from the plants, the fungi deliver water, oxygen and other nutrients to the plants. And because the mycorrhizae can grow into webs spanning hundreds of feet or more, plants in mycorrhizae-rich environments have access to far more food and water than might be delivered to just their own root zone. This makes mycorrhizae particularly valuable to native plant species, which have adapted to grow in lean soils and dry conditions. But no matter what your garden is growing, or when you plan to plant, it's a good idea to pile on the mulch now.

Sep 30, 2005

It's a Cool Season for Planting


Now's the time to plant "cool-season" annuals, such as pansies, snapdragons, stock and violas; and vegetables such as salad greens, spinach, broccoli, peas and carrots.
Because these plants don't develop large seeds (such as sunflowers) or fruits (such as tomatoes), they thrive on less sunlight and warmth than "warm-season" plants. Just remember, if you're starting your plants indoors, acclimate them to these cooler days gradually: put their pots outside for just a couple of hours the first day, then an additional hour a day until they're living outdoors full-time and ready to go into the ground.

Sep 22, 2005

Happy Autumn!

This moment -- yep, right now-- marks the midpoint between the summer and winter solstices: the autumn equinox. Among other things, today the sun will rise due east and set due west; and there will be equal hous of daylight and night. From now until the winter solstice on Dec. 21, the days will continue to shorten, and the sun will cross ever lower (and more southern) in the sky. It's a great time of year to work outdoors, and the sharp contrast between daytime and nighttime temps sets the stage for brilliant autumn leaves.

Sep 21, 2005

Taking The Fall

[Note: Verdance clients originally received this article at the beginning of this month, as part of our free monthly newsletter on gardens and gardening. To subscribe to the newsletter yourself, please register at verdancedesign.com.]


Have you noticed yet? Nights are cooling off, leaves are showing red, and — my favorite — the sunlight is softer and more golden. Autumn is here! The equinox occurs on Sept. 22, and then nights will outlast days until March.

I'm often asked, is fall the best time to plant in the Bay Area or not? While I wouldn't delay a project by 6 or 9 months just for the season's sake, it definitely beats summer: plants are less stressed, need less water, and have more time to develop healthy roots before next year's heat.

Another good reason to plant over the next few months is that nurseries have terrific inventory now. Sure, there are some sun-baked has-beens on the racks, the runts that never quite endeared themselves to other gardeners, but lots more are in fine shape, a little mildewy or root-bound at worst. (And frankly, I even view the runts as opportunities, tests of my horticultural mettle.)

Of course, if you're looking to add a little fall color to your landscape, now's also the time to shop. Look for Chinese pistache, crape myrtle, sour gum, oakleaf hydrangea, Boston ivy and Virginia creeper, Japanese and other maples, and ornamental grapes, cherries and pears. And don't forget about plants with interesting berries or seeds: grass plumes positively glow when backlit by the rich autumn sun. (If you would like ideas on what or where to plant for best effect in your garden, just let me know.)

Since those fiery reds, oranges and yellows actually only appear in the absence of green clorophyll — and since clorophyll production typically stops as plants retreat into winter dormancy — you can encourage autumn colors by sending signals now that summer is over. Stop watering established plants (short of wilting them) to discourage new growth; and locate new trees, shrubs or vines in full sun for the most extreme temperature changes as nights get colder.

One class of plants that clearly benefits from fall planting, although they're not much for fall color, is California natives. These take advantage of the winter rains to develop robust root systems that can endure our long dry summers. I'll say more about natives in future posts, but for now check the California Native Plant Society for lists of botanic gardens, nurseries, and plant sales — yet another reason to love autumn in the Bay Area.

Sep 9, 2005

Planning to go native?

This is a really good month to start replanning your garden, especially if you're at all interested in California native plants, because of all the great nursery sales now. Despite a reputation for being less than showy, native (or adapted) plants can indeed give you a great-looking garden... as well as the pride of knowing that you're helping the environment in many ways.

One of my favorite plantspeople, Peigi Duvall, will be speaking on "Going Native, Going Sustainable" on Sept. 23. Peigi is a landscape designer and Director of the Horticulture Program at the California Native Plant Society. Hers will be the featured talk at the CNPS general meeting, which is free and open to the public:
Friday, September 23, 7:30pm.
Saratoga Library Community Room
13650 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga.
For more information, contact CNPS Chapter Vice President Kevin Bryant at mtngreen17@verizon.net or (408) 353-8824.

Aug 29, 2005

Cooling Down Hot Bougainvillea

Saw a nice combination the other day: if you've got a hot purple Bougainvillea
that attracts a little too much attention, an effective way to cool it down is with the fast-growing Ipomoea tricolor (blue morning glory) vine.

The Ipomoea is a tender perennial best treated as an annual, but it blooms at just the right time to complement the Bougainvillea's colorful bracts. Plant one or two Ipomoea seeds near the base of the Bougainvillea -- they'll clamber on up through the larger, stronger vine, cooling down that bright purple while keeping the tropical effect intact.

Ipomoea seeds germinate best when soaked in warm water for 12 hours, or scarified with an emery board or sandpaper, prior to planting in early spring. Like Bougainvillea, Ipomoea resents having its roots disturbed, so it's best to sow the seeds in place (or, if you start with a container-grown plant from a nursery, handle carefully during transplanting).

Aug 23, 2005

Addicted to Lawn

[Note: Verdance clients originally received this article in June, as part of our free monthly newsletter on gardens and gardening. To subscribe to the newsletter yourself, please register at verdancedesign.com.]

Per square foot, no other planting consumes water, fertilizer, chemicals, energy, money and time like a lawn. Normally we would go out of our way to avoid such a demanding specimen; but since we continue to spend and suffer for that patch of green, we might as well face it: we're addicted to lawn.

Does manicured grass satisfy some human urge to control nature? Or is the attraction in our cells, a relic of the days we called the African savanna home? Whatever the origins, today the relationship is largely symbolic: we love lawn because we have always loved it -- its calming uniformity, its cool tickle, its fresh-cut aroma, its evocations of youth and play and carefree days.

As a landscape designer, I can't ignore that even a small lawn can carry big costs to our wallets, our environment and our quality of life. Yet turf does make an excellent play surface, and its bold monochrome is a good foil for more intricate shapes or textures. It even has ecological benefits, generating oxygen, cooling the air, absorbing pollutants and preventing erosion.

We probably will never kick the lawn habit entirely. But we can reduce our dependency by using lawn only where nothing but turf will do (usually a play area), and using as little as will suffice (under 100 square feet for a putting green, around 400 sf. to throw or kick a ball, 8820 sf. for a proper game of croquet).

Beyond that, lawn is mostly aesthetic, and legions of more satisfying alternatives exist. A carpet of chamomile or thyme, for instance, is extremely sensuous. A massing of low ornamental grasses provides bold uniformity. And a charming perennial bed can attract so many birds and butterflies that we forget all about the lawn it replaced.

I could go on an on about ingenious lawn substitutes and efficient care practices. And if you want to know more about these, I'm happy to help. But right now -- if you'll excuse me -- I have to go mow my lawn.

Aug 7, 2005

Sweating Bullets

Well, somehow we did it! And the transformation is nothing short of stunning. Here's the residence
before we got our hands on it...

...and
after.

Frankly, I'm a bit astonished it came together so well, especially in just two days. Never underestimate the quality of your crew...

...or your design!

Jul 31, 2005

Ready for My Close-Up

I haven't been posting much because I've been designing a project for HGTV's "Landscape Smart" show. It will be built this coming Thursday and Friday -- yep, two days to renovate an 1800 sq. ft. back yard. With just a week of planning. And a nation of die-hard landscaping buffs watching.

But no pressure or anything.

Jul 28, 2005

Dare to Eat a Peach...

[Eating Well, July/August 1998]

GRILLED PEACHES WITH BLACKBERRY SAUCE

8 large ripe peaches
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Blackberry Sauce (recipe follows)

Prepare a grill [I find medium heat is best –JB]. Lightly oil grill rack.

Peel, halve and pit peaches. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. (The peaches will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.)

Place peaches cut-side down on the rack and grill until bottom are golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn and cook until peaches are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve immediately, with Blackberry Sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

BLACKBERRY SAUCE
2 1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, mashing berries with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until berries are tender, about 5 minutes more.

Press berry mixture through a five sieve (or food mill fitted with a fine grate) into a bowl, scraping the bottom of the sieve or mill often. Discard seeds.

Return sauce to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool slightly. (The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Serve warm.

Makes about 1 cup.

Jul 22, 2005

Power Gardening!

This evening being very pleasant (and me utterly ashamed that my roses haven't been deadheaded in so long), I grabbed the pruning shears and went at the roses.

While I'm at it, thinks I, I'll take out the neighboring Dierama flower stalks that — while quite interesting in a Piet Oudolf kind of way — are actually getting quite annoying.

Well, the Dierama was getting tangled up with the Gaura, which has been reseeding itself all over the place (thanks a lot, Piet), so that should get cut back too.

Oh, and while I'm over there, the 'Apple Blossom' penstemon — not to mention the 'Midnight' — is looking pretty ratty, so let's shear those down. Out come the hedge shears.

This will be my undoing. Because now that I've got the shears out, I know that the 9 lavender plants must be cut back. They've been done blooming for a week, the bees have abandoned them, Toiya is complaining about them.

By the way, it's now 8:20 pm, and the light is fading.

One hour later, I finish sweeping up the carnage from my exploits. The compost bin (the big one) is now full, and I have been attacked by roses, mosquitoes and ants. It is dark, save for a few path lights. I am sweaty and sticky and hungry. And yet, I feel victorious, like a bull rider or an alligator wrestler or something.

-------
This is the time of year when lots of Mediterranean and California native plants really could use a nice hard shearing back: lavender, rosemary, my old nemesis the Erigeron, even those ubiquitous California poppies benefit from some deadheading. So if you've got a spare hour, grab your shears, and join me in some power gardening.

(If you dare.)

Jul 14, 2005

The Design-Build Dilemma, Part 1

Last week a client suggested that Verdance should also build our own designs, rather than entrusting them to contractors who may or may not share our vision.

It's a good thought. This particular client, unfortunately, isn't having the best time during the installation process: the contractor has cut a few corners, and even though I'm confident the finished landscape will look great, anyone who knows me knows that if I were managing the implementation I would be handling it quite differently.

But designing and building are two very different disciplines. (And frankly, it's more my speed to manage a few design associates from the comfort of my drawing board than to manage a construction crew out in the field.) This is why I'm not a huge fan of design-build firms: it's difficult to do both jobs well, unless a firm is big enough to have two separately managed divisions -- in which case they're probably too expensive for most homeowners.

The fact is, there's a lot more money in the "build" than in the "design." And since every construction job begins with a design of some sort, just about any construction firm can also profess to offer "design" services. In a word (OK, two), caveat emptor.

In an upcoming post, I'll offer some criteria against which you can evaluate designers (including design-build firms), to make sure you're truly getting the expertise you deserve.

Jul 7, 2005

There's hope for those unplanted seeds.

Is there a packet of seeds gathering dust on your potting-shed shelf? Never mind the expiration date — plant a few and see what happens!

Jul 1, 2005

Jun 30, 2005

Jewels on the Wing

[Note: Verdance clients originally received this article in May, as part of our free monthly newsletter on gardens and gardening. To subscribe to the newsletter yourself, please register at our site.]

Recently I read that the number of monarch butterflies migrating from North America down to Mexico has fallen an astonishing 75% -- even after 75% of their population already was lost to a freeze on their overwintering habitat in 2002. At this rate, monarch extinction seems likely in years, not decades or centuries, raising the gloomy prospect of a future when our children or grandchildren never get to delight in these winged jewels.

Studies of why butterfly populations are declining indicate a complex web of causes including deforestation, climate change, and pesticides. Whatever the reasons, though, we each can still do small things to slow the decline.

The best way to attract adult butterflies is to plant a garden that includes the vital milkweed plus sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, phlox, petunias, butterfly bush, black-eyed susans, lilies, cosmos and daisies. Even without such an intensive habitat in our yard, most of us can integrate a few of these plants -- and collectively create a butterfly garden that spans acres.

It's also important to encourage butterfly caterpillars. The Sunset Western Garden Book lists plants whose foliage is good caterpillar food; there is a broad palette to choose from (broccoli -- who knew?), and it's easy to tuck a few into any garden. If you would like suggestions on butterfly plants whose foliage or flowers will complement your existing landscape, it would be my pleasure to help.

Perhaps the most important step you can take is to avoid using pesticides -- even "natural" ones such as Bacillus thurigenesis (B.t.) -- that kill indiscriminately. Always try the most benign and pest-specific solutions first: for instance, a sharp jet of water knocks aphids off of leaves and flower buds, and non-toxic oils of neem, garlic, mint or clove discourage ants, mosquitoes, leafhoppers and thrips.

And above all, appreciate the graceful acrobatics and fragile beauty of every monarch, anise swallowtail, and mourning cloak you see. Currently a spectacular migration of painted ladies is making its way through the Bay Area; taking the time to notice them will create a warm place in your heart that will endure long after the last butterfly has fluttered by.

[Update: there are quite a few swallowtails floating around, and on 6/10 my client in Berkeley reported, "Amazingly we have hundreds of Monarchs hanging out in our neighborhood this year. First time we have seen it since we have lived here. Has lasted three days so far. Kind of cool."]

Jun 27, 2005

A Fungus Among Us

One of the Pistacia chinensis (Chinese pistache) trees planted in the parkway in front of our home has been in a bit of a slump. Last year it lost a few leaflets a little early; this year it's been losing a lot more — a lot earlier.

At first I wondered whether maybe the tree was just a little stressed (aren't we all?). Then, I thought, maybe its roots were bumping into the remnants of the allelopathic Juglans nigra (black walnut) that used to live there; but that didn't make sense, because that tree was long gone even before it was taken out. Then I came across a diagnosis that, unfortunately, fits: verticillium wilt.

Now, I knew that Verticillium could be a problem here. Every nursery carries "VFN" tomatoes and strawberries, for instance, bred to resist Verticillium and Fusarium fungi and nematodes. And I've already had first-hand experience with Verticillium, which is steadily taking out one of our Schinus molle (Brazilian pepper) screening trees (even though the tree is putting up enough of a fight that every year I hope this might be the year it impersonates Lazarus). But come on now... our street trees?! That's just not fair.

This is the problem with urban soils: they have been so heavily used, and so poorly managed, over the years that there's just no telling what has taken up residence in them. Our neighborhood, for instance, used to be a pear orchard; so it's actually not surprising when our apples and pears (fruiting and ornamental alike) wither and brown from fireblight, or our strawberry plants turn to dust seemingly overnight from Verticillium.

Worst of all, there's little evidence on the surface as to what lurks below. Not 10 feet from our infected pepper tree, a patch of volunteered strawberries is thriving. And once the fungus is there, it's there to stay. That's why I decided to include soil testing among Verdance's suite of services, so we can know what to expect before we call for that specimen Aristocrat pear (or that all-important curtain of Schinus... darn).

I'll keep crossing my fingers that our pistache is simply stressed after all. But frankly, it's not the only one.

Jun 25, 2005

Fruits and Labors

With the summer solstice past, it's a strange time of year: the days are still warming up and there's light in the sky well past 9:00 pm, yet there's a primal tickle in the back of our brains reminding us that we're now closer to autumn than to spring.

I harvested most of our Santa Rosa plums this week, and even though it was a light crop (apparently this happens in alternate years), the fruit is as amazing as ever: tart, almost bitter, skin, with unbelievably sweet and juicy flesh all the colors of a tropical cocktail. Last year our crop was much heavier, so I was able to put up a few jars of plum jam; this year, the bumper crop is in the blueberries, which — despite being grown just in pots — are almost keeping pace with our appetites for them. (By some miracle, the birds haven't noticed yet... maybe they're still freaked out from the flash tape last year?)

So it's time to kick back in the garden and enjoy this bounty... yet there's still so much to keep us busy. The ErigeronErigeron obviously is in desperate need of a hard shearing; the roses are overdue to be deadheaded; and now that the warm weather seems to be ready to stay a while, it really would be a good idea to add a layer of mulch and adjust the irrigation schedule. I did get the apple tree about halfway thinned out; but I also have about half a dozen plants still stuck in their nursery pots, gasping for water and pretty much convinced they'll never make it into the ground. Unfortunately, they're probably right.

Yes, there's a lot to do, even as the days are getting shorter. In the end, though, it's not so terrible to waste valuable gardening time slurping the juice from a perfect plum. After all, aren't those the pleasures we design gardens for in the first place?

Jun 24, 2005

So this is the Blogosphere. Needs some green.

It's funny: when I developed our Web site last quarter, I considered writing a section called "What?! No Blog?!" with a little essay on why Verdance does not need and would not have a blog.

And here I am writing a blog.

I just wasn't quite sure what I would write about. (And in fact, I'm still not.) But I am a little more confident that no matter what shows up here, someone like you will find it interesting, or at least provocative.

I also have faith that you will tell me what you want to see here. Want to know more about the inner workings of a landscape design firm? Sure. Tips for reducing your dependency on lawn? Gotcha covered. How to develop cool container gardens? Comin' right up. And in the meantime, here's some fertilizer for thought: our philosophy on landscape and garden design.

Let me know what you think, won't you?