Summer Sangria

Monday, June 30th, 2014

One of our favorite ways to beat the heat is with a cool adult beverage. This one comes from the vault of our favorite bartender, Nick. This is not traditional sangria, but it is very easy to make, which goes a long way in our book. I usually make this in a big iced tea dispenser but whatever you have that’s big should work fine. FYI this can be a bit strong so tread lightly and don’t drink and drive.

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Big Leaf Hydrangea

Thursday, July 11th, 2013


not our grandmother’s hydrangea

Many of us remember hydrangeas of the past which had great foliage and very few flowers. Today we are falling in love with hydrangeas all of again with varieties that we never could have dreamed of as kids. We grew up around plants so watching new strains being developed over the years has been very exciting.

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Let Summer Begin Already

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013


It is officially summer. Winter is far behind us. It is the time when our gardens soar into their peaks of brilliance with countless flowers in an endless array of colors. Perennials have long been dating back to the late 19th century in England and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Of course, Perennials appeared before then, but that was the first large scale garden made almost entirely of perennials. Previous gardens included medicinal plants as well as roses and bulbs. Perennials are relatively easy to grow and offer an endless variety of colors, forms, and textures. Perennials bloom throughout the season at varying times. The ultimate goal of a well-planned perennial garden is a consistent flow of color through the summer while textures change and growth patterns between the plants become a dance. Other pleasing side effects of a perennial garden are the attractions to hummingbirds and butterflies while birds sing in nearby trees. Of course, the wonderful fragrance of a perennial garden is an added bonus. To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Branching Out

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

branching-outThe time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. I remember years ago when I was young (Okay so it was a LONG time ago) an older couple came in to buy a tree. When my dad, Walter Small, told them how much the tree they wanted would cost in the size they wanted the wife began to cry. They both said they wish they had planted their tree twenty years before and they would have had a big beautiful tree that day.

As designers and landscapers we are always looking for new and interesting trees to supplement our native variety. We have an extensive collection of one-of-a-kind examples as well as more ordinary varieties all specifically chosen to highlight any location. One of the best parts about our profession is that we get to see unusual specimens almost every day. We have a passion for nature’s innate beauty and a respect for man’s desire to expand the palate available for us all to enjoy.

We are fortunate in this part of the country to boast many native forests and trees including Maples, Oaks, and Sassafras just to name a few. Who hasn’t stopped in wonder at the awesome fall displays of these beauties or enjoyed the cooling shade under their branches in summer. Trees reduce the effects of the climate in our yards, support wildlife, and, of course, look good doing it. When we plant trees we are giving our land a sense of permanence. To plant a tree is to hope for a future beyond our own time.

That Sweet Smell

Thursday, April 5th, 2012


I always know summer is coming when I am driving along and smell fresh cut grass for the first time. That sweet, clean smell of summer makes my mind flash a thousand memories. Humans are visual beings by nature. Color and light attract us very powerfully, but fragrance can have a much stronger hold. Our sense of smell can bring back memories long forgotten. Unique among the senses, the scent message passes directly through the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. When designing a garden both sight and smell can be addressed. There are many ways to bring fragrance into a garden.

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