Trees and Shrubs as Privacy Screens

 AOL’s DIY Life Network is GardenWise

I worked Francesca Clarke at AOL’s  DIY Life Network on a feature story about creating green structures with trees and shrubs for privacy in your garden and outdoor spaces.  There are many options available for all budgets and timelines, depending on how soon do you need a privacy screen from a neighboring home or structure and how quickly you want to block  unwanted  views.  Pictured is a GardenWise garden in DC which includes Black Bamboo which serves as a screen.  

You can read the story in its entirety here – http://www.diylife.com/2011/04/25/privacy-fence/

I recommend to my clients if they have the space is to off-set the shrubs you use for a privacy screen and consider using different heights for a more natural affect.  Also, if a plant dies with staggered plant scheme along with the varying heights, the gap created by the dead plant is not so obvious.  The back row should have the tallest plants that will create the screen.  The middle row should have medium height plants, such as a smaller deciduous shrub such as an Annabelle Hydrangea, which will offer texture contrast and offer summer color.  The front row should be composed of your shortest plants and evergreen ground cover, such as variegated Liriope, which is grass like and has the added bonus feature of a late summer spiky lavender colored flower. Another striking affect I like is to use the purple coneflower and the Russian sage against the pendulous white blossoms of the hydrangea will be smashing.  Unity in an outside space is the best way to quickly provide a stimulating visual. 

Some Grass is GardenWise!

Zoysia Grass Makes a Comeback

Turf magazine has a feature story on a grass that holds very fond childhood memories for me  —  Zoysia Grass.  I was  thrilled  to  talk  to writer Murray Anderson about my thoughts and experiences:  

“Zoysia is a warm-season grass native to China, Japan and Southeast Asia. It’s highly adaptable and can be grown in all types of soils from clay to sand, as well as in either acidic  or  alkaline  soils. It requires little moisture and stays green during even the hottest  days  of  summer. (GardenWise’s) Mark  White,  a  Washington,  D.C.-based  landscape architect  and  member  of  the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), describes zoysia as a “wonderful grass – beautiful, thick and lush.” He grew up sliding  on  zoysia-covered  hills in his parents’  yard  and  remembers  it  being dense  and lush,  an  ideal  lawn  to  play  on.

Read the story in its entirety here.

PS – The home featured in the magazine is my house in the Cherrydale neighborhood of  Northern Virginia!

Edible Petals for All

@DCLadies are Garden Wise

We started to follow @DCLadies on twitter last year and soon we were visiting their fabulous site each week. They’re a “Forty something mom and her twenty something daughter” who team up to give their users an eclectic mix of what’s fun, fashionable, and just plain fabulous from the D.C. area for women.
Well, Shelley and Sarah deliver, with original content ranging from DC events, DC style, DC Food, and stories for everyone in and out of the district to enjoy.

Today, GardenWise invites the DC Ladies and their followers to think about growing edible flowers. Edible petals — Lemon balm, lavender, Violas, and more! It’s a fun and simple project with delicious results you can include in some of your favorite recipes.

And remember to include “the” in the URL when you go to their site, http://www.thedcladies.com

The DC Ladies are GardenWise

Hello @DCLadies!

We started to follow @DCLadies on twitter last year because we loved their name! Soon we were visiting their fabulous site each week. Their one paragraph bio made us read on . . . “A forty something mom and her twenty something daughter team up to give you an eclectic mix of what is fun, fashionable, family related and just plain fabulous in our Capital Area for women.” Well, Shelley and Sarah deliver, with original content ranging from DC events, DC style, DC Food, and stories for everyone in and out of the district to enjoy.

Today, GardenWise shares our Landscape and Gardening ideas and tips with The DC Ladies, and we couldn’t be more excited. J. Mark White is a native Washingtonian and he founded GardenWise on Capitol Hill in 1994. Metro-DC is so special, with the most incredible spaces to add gardens. As summer begins, make your garden spaces all they can be, whether you’re in an urban area with limited space or in a neighborhood with larger garden spaces. Remember, you already have the space! How you define it and use it can forever change how you live your life at home.

As everyone in DC knows, a DC Lady can be a Foggy Bottom Lady, a Capitol Hill Lady, or a Penthill Lady. But in the Metro-DC area, a DC Lady can also be an Arlington Lady, a Silver Spring Lady or an Alexandria Lady. While we love our neighborhoods, combined we make up the DC Ladies, and that’s what we loved about this site, it’s for everyone!

Something we must remind all the DC Ladies, if you take on a larger gardening project or one that involves hardscape (retaining walls, steps, brick work, etc.) talk to a trained and educated landscape professional whose job it is to avoid the traps untrained folks will fall into. Broken gas lines are just the beginning — replacing improperly designed and installed plantings, walkways, arbors, brick and stone work, water features and irrigations systems can be quite costly, and will only take away from what should be a fantastic and inspired gardening experience and result.

Pictured: GardenWise, Inc. projects on Capitol Hill and in Georgetown (photo credits: Home & Design Magazine and Lydia Cutter)

Mark White is GardenWise!

Congratulations to Our Own J. Mark White!

The Hill Rag has named  Mark a  top  landscape architect on Capitol Hill  for “setting the standard for  good  landscape  architecture and design     on Capitol Hill” in their   “Homes  &  Gardens” special isssue.  You can read the story here.

Mark’s been thinking of  landscape architecture for  as  long  as  he  can remember!   He built retaining walls for Boy Scout projects;  created master garden plans while in middle school; and in high school he landscaped his Mom and Dad’s home in the Court House area of Northern Virginia.  Mark  earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) from Virginia Tech, and started GardenWise in 1994.   

In this blog post are pictures of both Capitol Hill gardens featured in The Hill Rag; one is a quiet and relaxing rooftop getaway, while the second is a street level garden space; both have water features and numerous intimate seating areas.  For those who enjoy before and after pictures, here’s a before and after of the street level gardens space — a nice transformation. 

DC State Fair is the Fairest of Them All!

Welcome Back, DC State Fair

For those of us inside the beltway, calling D.C. a state isn’t as strange as the out of the district dwellers may think.  And we now have a State Fair!  

DC has  a  strong  “state”  attitude,  a  beloved and  popular  newspaper,  excellent  colleges , and fatastic restaurants — it seems all the interesting  “Top Chef” contestants have a restaurants and a presence here, including  Spike Carla and Richard Blais.  Each month somebody considered famous is here to testify about something  close  to  their  heart  on t he Hill,  and our special brand of power and history draws more than  3,000,000 visitors each year. You  can  turn  the  corner  and step into an  Angelina  Jolie  or   Matt  Damon  film,  and  Michelle Obama can be seen planting a garden or picking up burgers from Five Guys.   Can  you  tell  I’m  a  DC  native?  While many believe we’re taxed unfairly (our  license  plate  tag?  “Taxation  Without  Representation”)  we take it all in stride because that’s how we roll.  

Well, we also have a state fair, which launched last year and it was a great success.  I started to hear about the first annual DC State Fair last year online and via friends on twitter, and from there it seemed everyone in town was writing and reporting on it.  I was in, and excited to attend.  I  was  convinced  to enter some of our container veggies in the fair’s vegetable contest, and our lemon cucumbers won first place in the  “funkiest” veggie category.   That win led me to talk about my DC State Fair memories  with  Kenneth  Moore,  president   of  the  DC State Fair, who blogs about gardening and cooking as The Indoor Garden(er).  I hope you’ll read the interview, and check out the DC State Fair blog.  If you’re, as we say,  in the distirct, at the end of August, come check out our state fair.  For more infomration  you can visit the DC  State  Fair  blog,  or  tweet  Ken at  @indoorgarden_er.  

One of my favorite memories of the event?  All the wonderful pies entered in the  pie  baking  contest,  which  I  got  to  judge.