Waiting on Spring…

Landscape Design, My Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well at least the sun is shining today, but as I write the temperature is just above freezing with no foreseeable spring temps. Normally by the first week of April we have done 2 rounds of mowing, and this year we have yet to put mower to turf. Now we are into the “April showers” and the ground is over saturated with 3 inches plus of rain in just the past few days. As gardeners we forget how cruel spring can be for our anxiousness to get outside and work. The only good part is extending the winter off-season project completion timetable, which includes finally the site redesign which is just moving into development.


Since it looks like another week of cold, wind and threat of snow, here are some summer garden images of projects from last year to warm you up until more spring action starts in the garden.

The wedding Garden at Oak Grove. 100 year old Lord & Burnham greenhouse and tobacco barn surrounds a cocktail lawn. Design by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery.

The gardens surrounding Oak Grove, a wedding and event space outside Columbus, will be even grander this summer as they mature in their second year in the ground. Over the winter the space is expanding to include a 250 guest dinning space with the surround pastural setting taking center stage. More to come once the space opens in the coming weeks (previews on my instagram).


A small space garden with a large impact with seasonal color, dog friendly design and making the most of a smaller garden. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

This garden was planted two years ago so this year it will be fully matured and ready for photographing extensively. (a good guide for planting expectations is first year it looks good, second year great, and by the third year best.) The back garden is about 100 feet wide by 25 feet deep, so every space needed to be functional and beautiful. This garden is great for showing how focusing on good bones and function combined with purposeful placement of seasonal color can maximize a homeowner’s enjoyment.



A french influenced garden located in the art of the Midwest, is planted with a large sweeping bed of fragrant lavender. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

Every June we count down the days for when this large sweep of hybrid lavender (LavenderPhenomenal‘) comes into bloom. The entire courtyard of this home (and street) is overrun with the intoxicating scent. Last year we even harvested a few of the plant’s stocks for drying and creating lavender sachets for the client as a holiday gift. This is another garden that keeps getting better year after year and is ready for a full scale photoshoot.


This garden showcases the magic of landscape lighting with a selection Hinkley Outdoor lighting. More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Last summer I worked with Hinkely Lighting at a client’s home for shooting Hinkely’s outdoor lighting collection in use. It was an amazing two days. I am excited to showcase how this garden evolves when the sun goes down and the lighting keeps the garden alive in a future post.


Well by the time I finished this post, I have been able to enjoy how much warmth the sun can provide even on a cold day. An old wives tale states, three snows remaining after forsythia blooms.  Our forsythia started blooming early last week and we have had two noticeable snows, that leaves one more and finally spring can arrive.

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 Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com.


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

Bulbs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

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 ThinkingOutsideTheBoxwood.com

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 thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

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


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