Building A Greener Driveway


Plentiful Pansies Please

Attention All Pansy Fans!

These  TRAILING  PANSIES  are a  “must have”  for  anyone  with  even  the  slightest  attraction  to pansies.  They  survive  very  cold  temps, they trail, and they bloom from Fall to Spring.  They also are an ideal choice in a setting where uniformity is important..  And these hybrids are trialing, which makes them perfect for hanging baskets and containers.  

The  colors  will  make  you smile from ear to ear — a great way to celebrate Spring and Summer .

GardenWise with Edible Flower Power!

A Tasty & Fun Garden Project – Edible Flowers! 

I think the best first garden project for Spring should always be a fun small side project that you can successfully complete in a short period of time that will yield quick results.  It’s  such a confidence  booster  to  have  a  great success under your belt as you prepare to undertake larger garden projects over  the  next  three seasons.  An edible garden is a great small  project to  think about for Spring that will  become a favorite gift that keeps on giving.     

It can be difficult to find edible flowers to purchase, but they’re easy to grow yourself.  And there’s no greater personal touch when cooking for  family  and  friends  than  adding  edible flowers grown right  in  your  backyard.   Lavender, Marigolds, Thyme — they’re all edible!  For  the  freshest  tasting  goodies, your edible flowers should ideally be harvested in the cool, morning hours. If you’re not going to use the flowers immediately, cut  them  with  the  stems intact and keep them in water.  You can also store them in damp paper towels in the refrigerator.

Some tasty edible garden delights:

Lavender
Lavender has a sweet floral flavor, with a hint of lemon and citrus. Use as a garnish for sorbets or ice cream. Lavender also goes well with savory dishes.

Violas
Violas give a sweet perfumed flavor. The tender leaves and flowers can be eaten in a salad. Or the flowers can beautifully embellish desserts and iced drinks.

Sage
Sage flowers have a more delicate taste than the leaves, so be sure to be careful when pruning. Sage 
can be used in salads or as a garnish.

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is indigenous to Southern Europe but is now cultivated worldwide. 
Lemon balm flowers have a gentle lemon scent and can be used as garnish.

Oregano
Oregano can be found growing wild on mountainsides of Greece and other Mediterranean countries where it is an herb of choice.  Oregano flowers can be used as you would the herb; it’s a milder version of plant’s leaf.

Marigolds
Marigold flavors range from spicy to tangy. Their sharp taste resembles saffron and the plant is sometimes referred to as poor man’s saffron. Their pretty petals can be sprinkled on soups, pasta or rice dishes, and salads.

Nasturtiums
Nasturtium blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Their leaves add a peppery tang to salads. Use the entire flower to garnish platters, salads, and savory appetizers. Nasturtium seeds are edible as well when they are young and green and have been likened to capers when pickled.

Thyme
Like sage, thyme flowers have a milder taste than the leaves. Use as you would the herb — the flowers also make a beautiful garnish.

Plants that Thrive in Clay-Heavy Soil

GardenWise on Clay-Heavy Survivors

Some areas are lucky to have clay-heavy soil, something I think about often as I work often in the clay heavy soil of Northern Virginia.   I use the word lucky because I have the opportunity to share some of the most beautiful clay heavy soil survivors, with blooms that will take your breath away.  Below are some suggestions for those with clay-heavy soil, beginning with the irresistable Blue Cornflower.

Blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) These brilliant flowers are what memories are made of — rare among “blue” flowers as they are actually blue.  They are delicately fragrant and drought tolerant.  This flower has a lot of history — it’s the national flower of Estonia,  was used in Pharaoh Tutankhamunand’s funeral wreath, and was President Kennedy’s favorite flower, worn by John Kennedy Jr. at his wedding to honor his father. 

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) These plants (herbs, actually) do very well in clay-heavy soil, are drought tolerant,  and come in a variety of colors — the  purple blooms will stop you in your tracks.  They will break up soil as they grow, and are a favorite among those who practice herbal health as they have been known to boost the immune system. 

Daylily ( Hemerocallis) A must grow for anyone with clay-heavy soil, they do well in a wide range of soil conditions, come in a variety of wonderful colors, and are rugged.  They also establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little care.  

Liriope (Liriope muscari) With spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this grass-like plant is named after the nymph Liropie, mother of Narcissus.  The plant is a member of the lily family, has dark green, ribbonlike foliage that recurves toward the ground, and does very well in soil with clay.   

Coreopsis Verticillata or Tickseed is a plant that is very tolerant of clay and its disc florets and ray florets are bright yellow that will make you smile from ear to ear, even on a not so sunny Fall day. 

• Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the Maryland state flower and a cheery perennial with bright yellow petals that surround black centers. It’s a striking flower that does very well in clay soil. Plant them en masse and enjoy the show!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) With its classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, they are attractive to bees and birds, and are drought-tolerant.  They do well in clay-heavy soil and have cheery blooms.

Ourfavoritelandscapers's Blog

May’s Favorite Outside Landscaper is J. Mark White, ASLA, of the metro Washington DC Landscape Architecture firm Garden Wise.  One look at Mark’s website, located at http://www.GardenWiseInc.com ,will show you why he’s our new  favorite.  Mark’s work is bold, current, beautiful and functional.  He can be seen each month on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” as  a landscape expert, and he’s also very active in the world of social media, reachable to everyone on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gardenwiseinc .

Here is a profile of Mark from Better Homes & Gardens, which we were given permission to run on our blog. To quote from one person from the homes and gardens comment section in reference to the below Garden Wise garden, “The picture shows a path to a sweet dreamy spot that would be the ideal place to relax and read the Sunday New York Times.” 

Indeed, this is one dreamy and cozy getaway to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

Great home design…

often ends with great landscape architecture.  Each  month Homes and Gardens…

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Recycling in the Garden is GardenWIse

Recycling Garden Materials Saves Money!!

There are many advantages to using recycled materials, an easy “green” step to take when installing any hardscape design. GardenWise  uses recycled materials whenever the opportunity presents itself, including recycled concrete for paving systems,  glass in stepping stones (left,) and crushed stone and granite for patio surfaces.  

An added bonus to using recycled materials in your hardscape installation?  You save money!!

When I incorporate  larger pieces of old concrete into a design, the purchase and delivery of new materials is eliminated.  Also eliminated?  The cost of removing and disposing of old materials. It’s another way to pay attention to both the environment and your budget.  

DC’s GardenWise on Shelter from the Sun

“Let sun shelters be your gateway to more gratifying outdoor living–you might even find yourself drifting to sleep beneath your umbrella.”

We’ve had several weeks in the DC-area this season where the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees — today it’s 102!!  I spent the 4th of July in a shaded area near a pool, and even on a 97 degree sunny day, shelter under a very large umbrella with some strategically placed trees with a group of friends allowed for a pleasant and relaxing day.  We even enjoyed a nice breeze or two!

I came across this post from Southern Living about Sun Shelters, and thought it would be a perfect post-4th of July post.   Below is the umbrella from my own yard, which has provided shelter from many sunny days.

GardenWise-Winter Garden Work

It’s that time of year again; time for your garden to lie under the covers with its eyes shut tight.  While the snows piles high and frigid weather wraps stealthily around us, your garden must sleep through the bombardment of December, January and February.

But our work is never done!  Here’s a short list of what you can do right now to prepare your garden for the post-winter months:

• Make mental notes of possible garden improvements, additions, or even deletions as you walk around the garden.  Contemplate what you will need for these improvements and make a schedule for the spring.

• After wet snow or high wind, check for broken branches and cut them off to prevent further tearing of bark.

• If possible, drain any garden puddles that stand more than a few hours. Do not walk on garden soil when soggy, and  avoid walking on water-saturated lawns. 

• Check mulch for disturbance by squirrels & birds.  Repair as needed.

See more winter landscape images in the GardenWise Portifolio 


GardenWise, Inc. Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C.

I received my Plant Cam as a Christmas gift, can’t wait to set it up!