Author: staff

Thinking outside the (planter) box

I don’t like to use the word “nag,” so I’ll say this- I asked my husband on a frequent and consistent basis to get our old barns cleaned up because they were full of junk. Absolute junk! One morning, pigs started to fly and he started this project while I was out in the yard, trying desperately to find a spot to plant some flowers that I had impulsively bought without a sure place to put them. And as my husband schlepped out some old tires, well, the tires started turning in my mind. So many odd things can...

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A backyard to sink your teeth into

He holds a degree in landscape design and grew up on a farm. But Justin Glessner’s personal terrain management plan isn’t your garden variety growing scheme. This summer marks his second season transitioning the yard surrounding the 1930s era home in Vienna, Md., where he and his wife moved a year and a half ago into an “edible” landscape — a smorgasbord of greenery as appetizing as it is decorative — garnished with an abundant supply of salvaged and repurposed natural materials. Where once there was neatly manicured lawn, a bountiful crop of nitrogen producing white flowering clover was sown to best prep the groundwork for a future harvest of blackberries and blueberries. Tucked tastefully behind a corner border of tulips taken from his grandmother’s bountiful flower garden lies a tempting trove of onions, tomato and pepper plus herb plants which will create the couple’s beloved spaghetti sauce. Savory mint varietals including chocolate, strawberry, and spearmint will flavor their favorite teas. Nearby, nestled beneath a Sugar Maple tree’s shade branches, lettuce heads will emerge to provide verdant eye candy before becoming salad. The soil, meanwhile, serves up an ecofriendly habitat for worms, helping enrich the growing medium and increase the catch on future fishing trips. Festooned alongside the house exterior is a border composed of climbing spinach plants, while raised beds buttressing his screened porch house additional herbs and...

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Would your boy be up for a Jurassic Garden?

Gardening is the perfect boy activity: Dirt, tools and their mommy. While fairy gardens have garnered a lot of attention, when it comes down to it, it seems their ideas are more of adding in action figures rather than setting up a teeny-weeny tea party. And so, for the little green thumb in your life, why not try a Dinosaur garden? To get started, read some favorite dinosaur books for some inspiration on how you want to do your project and to get excited for a roarin’ good time. You likely won’t need much you can’t find at home. First, find your vessel, and make sure it’s big enough to “play” and get creative in. It doesn’t need to be a traditional flowerpot. A cake tin with drainage poked or an old lidless Tupperware works well, even a plastic planter liner if you aren’t planning on moving it often. (In our version, Landon and I settled on a cheese box we had lying around. We have lots of strange things lying around at the Milby household). Have an old sandbox or other outside kid play area? You could make a large-scale area for continuous play and use some larger dinos in it! If you haven’t gotten into dinosaurs yet, grab a cheap pack at a dollar store. While the grown-up in you may be looking for the perfect ones...

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Fill it in with foliage

A garden does not require “flowers” to be called a garden. Some of the most interesting gardens in the world rely on foliage to supply color and interest. Leaves are also available in a variety of choices full of color, texture and form that can create a small shady area or an elaborate formal garden. Award winning landscape designer, Jan Kirsch, gave this suggestion from her studio in Bozman between deliveries of new plants. “How lucky I am to design gardens on the Eastern Shore! There are so many great plants with special characteristics that work well here.  I love to use shrubs, grasses, perennials and trees that provide a visual treat for my clients in all four seasons,” she said. “In addition to flowers, my discerning clients appreciate unusual and colorful foliage plants with both bold and fine texture; plants that give them the ‘wow’ factor in their gardens. “We have a lot of fun working together to make their outdoor living spaces reflect their personal style. There’s always something new ‘popping up’ for them to show off to their friends. “ Kirsch said there are many advantages to foliage gardens. Less maintenance is needed, since foliage gardens do not require deadheading. Green is one of the most visually calming colors, so planting a foliage garden creates a calm, relaxing space. A foliage garden can be a plant lover’s dream come true...

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