Preparing for 2018 – preview/update

G A R D E N S, GARDEN DESIGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s that time for reflecting on accomplishments and misses along with planning for the year to come, and during Ohio winters those are the only two items we can really do for our gardens.  I have been placing seed orders, flipping through books, designing, reading articles, giving talks, designing some more and compiling long lists of things to do, with the majority only after the freeze of winter breaks.

Garden Tours from the APLD conference in Boston. Thinking Outside the BoxwoodA stop along the APLD Boston Conference garden tours. Next set of posts to include individual garden tour recaps.


One of my lists includes all the blog topics I want to explore and write, which continues to grow every year from the last since I never write as many posts as I plan. A redesign for the blog is in the works (about time), along with creating an official content calendar to keep us on top of posting.  The plan is not to post for the sake of posting, but making sure I am planning ahead, getting the photos I need, have deadlines for writing and creating graphics. I don’t think I will ever get to a weekly post (or I should say we because it’s a team effort with Allison), but I do plan on putting more effort in dedicating time to


Terrain in Westport, CT Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Terrain in Westport, CT from my visit on the way out to Boston. More photos from the visit back in this post HERE.


I started the blog to share garden design from my point of view and knowledge of plants and how to install and maintain. I don’t check my site analytics nor ever wish to include ads. I write for the comments (please comment) and meeting anyone that has said they read a post.  I pin my content to Pinterest and get excited for every repin, not because of the exposure, but because someone is learning from my content or are inspired by the image. I am still trying to figure out what the future of the blog will become, but for now it will stay a place to share work, inspiration and know-how from my point of view.

Holiday lights in German Village. Feature a collar of greens and curly willow lit from interior spot lights. McCullough's Landscape & Nursery. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Holiday Containers from this past Christmas, this par looked like torches when you past them on the street at night.


First posts of the new year will be garden tours from the APLD conference. Will post these in a quick session this week. Please comment or email me if there is anything specific you think I should write about.






Woodland Inspiration for Planting Daffodils

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The life of a gardener is spent with one foot in beds tending to what is currently growing and the other foot planning 2-3 seasons ahead. I think it is the anticipation or daydream of what we could be growing is what keeps us going as the gardens go to bed over the fall/winter season. My garden to do list is filled with cleanup tasks, but what has me excited is the collection of spring bulbs I am currently planting.

Natural woodland plantings of spring daffodils - more at

One of the spring bulbs we are planting at home and across client properties are daffodils. Along with many spring bulbs, daffodils are easy to tuck into your existing beds without disrupting existing perennials and easy to plant for any novice.


Spring Bulbs Inspiration from nature with daffodils, tulips and snowdrops - More on

This year, my daffodil inspiration is the unexpected places you see the flowers blooming during the spring. At home we have masses of daffodils tucked throughout our woodland in sporadic groupings incorporated around the trunks in clusters of multiple varieties.  These groupings are relics of a home burned down 20 years ago on our property and have naturalized over the years into this completely organic pattern.


Natural woodland plantings of spring daffodils - more at

The palate of whites, oranges and yellows allow you to mix many different varieties together without the flowers clashing, and depending on the combos, pull out the different features of each variety. The fallen leaves provide a great foil to the vivid green leaves, and help hide the foliage as it dies back later in the season.  The combo image below showcases all the different daffodils we have growing in our woodland, however, I am sure there are more we may have missed photographing. Our diverse varieties provide us with blooms through the entire spring season and making woodland walks exciting to see the evolution of the prominent color as the varieties alternate peak bloom.


Woodland Inspiration for Planting Daffodils, Thinking Outside the Boxwood


Earlier this spring we built a few bulb containers using our cluster woodland plantings as inspiration and I loved how reminded me of our home.

Spring Bulbs Inspiration from nature with daffodils, tulips and snowdrops - More on Spring Bulbs Inspiration from nature with daffodils, tulips and snowdrops - More on Spring Bulbs Inspiration from nature with daffodils, tulips and snowdrops - More on


Next spring we have 60 black gallon nursery pots pre-planted with bulbs for building more unique containers of the more unique varieties. All the varieties we have for next year are from Longfield Gardens, and here is a sampling of what we are working with. The plan is to have these winter over and then as the push in the spring transfer into containers. Wish us luck.

      Narcissus Baby Boomer

      Narcissus Delnashaugh

       Narcissus Jetfire

       Narcissus La Torch

       Narcissus Pink Pride

       Narcissus Barrett Browning

Book Recommendation: Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens

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I love a good gardening book, and when a new book arrives in the mail the first thing I do is sit down and flip through all the pages for initial absorption of the photos. When I first opened Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens to look at the photos, I had to stop a third through because I was exhausted. Every single image had elements I wanted to study, even at first pass. It took me three attempts to make it through the book for my first glance, each time sending my mind into a haze of inspiration and ideas. My copy now rests next to my desk for anytime I need to get my head back into that inspired haze.

A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at


The book is divided into 20 individual country gardens. However, I feel the classification of “country gardens” is misleading. Yes, these gardens are mostly fair outside any metropolis, however their structure and elements of Paul’s designs can be applied to any location and any size garden.


Here are a small sampling of the gardens in the book, even though they don’t do the book justice. A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at

A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at


If you are looking to add any other books to your library, I also recommend Stonefields which follows Paul’s personal garden masterpiece from inception, creation, maintenance and continuing evolution. The last photo above is from Stonefields to give you an idea what to expect from the whole book.