What’s Happening @ e.k.smith Landscape Design Winter 2017

In the midst of winter, when the days are short, we can always turn to one of the many plant catalogues that arrived earlier this month for some inspiration. Keeping up with the latest introductions in the plant world is quite the job, and even I never seem to remember all of them, as it is a rapidly changing study in hybridizing cultivars.

Plant selection is really key to a successful landscape as there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Some people may be under the impression that plant selection is similar to walking down the isle of a grocery store. Not true.

Those of use who are true plants people consider all of the subtleties of the site in which we are about to transform. I, for one, consider not only the plant’s needs but also the long-term growth habit. I hope that in 20 + years, the landscape that I have planted today still looks fantastic and that the long-term trees were perfectly spaced.

It is our job as designers & architects to plant responsibly, to select plants that are non-invasive, more native, disease free and to really do our homework before launching into planting. There are numerous resources available which will enlighten all of you during the winter months. My all time favorite is Michael Dirr’s "Hardy Trees & Shrubs." He has written a number of other books as well, but certainly add this one to your library as it is a great read. Other resources would include The Missouri Botanical Garden and the Arnold Arboretum.

While the winter seems a bit long, it provides me with a good opportunity to enjoy a bit of down time. I can focus on designing projects and organizing all of the details for the upcoming season, while occasionally gazing out into my woodland garden at my witch hazels (Hamamelis X intermedia) to see if they show promise of some of their sunny yellow blooms. They typically flower in February and March and are such a welcomed sight.

If any of you are planning a trip this spring or summer, consider researching gardens that will be available to you during your visit. It is a fun way to see the world as different regions offer such a wide selection of plants and varied styles of garden design. In fact, I find that some of the most interesting places to visit when traveling either domestically or abroad are local cemeteries as they often offer up long term landscapes that have not been overly pruned and more often than not were designed by a famous Landscape Architect. This link should be most helpful when researching which gardens are worth a visit.

Back to the drawing board,

Sewickley Living November 2015