A Landscaper’s Garden

As a landscaper and landscape designer, I have an idea in my head as to the look and feel of my own garden. Unfortunately, due to a never ending supply of other people’s plants, I have a hard time ending up with the ideas I thought my garden would become. It also doesn’t help that I’m constantly trialing new plants for future use. My garden is a mix of plants that my clients didn’t like for some reason, plants that were under performing on client properties that I’m nursing back to health and new plant introductions that we are trialing. The landscape is ever changing. Earlier this year, we had to pull a bunch of Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, from a poolscape we installed a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if the soil was too rich or there just was not enough sun but we decided to pull them and replace with a different variety of ornamental grass. Considering the plants were perfectly good plants, but flopping a little too much on their current site, I felt the need to keep them. I am currently developing a hot, dry native garden at my own property. Big Bluestem was not slated for this garden but I knew it would surely thrive in the site conditions, I had an abundance of them and the grass was native so in they went! Here is a current picture.

It’s the perfect site for them. The plants are thriving but it’s definitely not the aesthetic I was looking for. It’s the right plant, just too tall. The grass I really had in the head, at the start of the project, were a few Little Bluestem (Schizarium) scattered throughout the planting. I like the color of the large Bluestem, there is just too many of them and they are too large for the space. The concept for this landscape is supposed to be a matrix of native plants, planted with no rhyme or reason. Most landscapes we design, we are planting in groupings in an . With this garden, it was my hope that this garden appeared to have self seeded.

I decided that even I, a plant lover, couldn’t live with the look of this garden so out they came. Usually, this would be the point where I’d try to give the grasses away to a friend or I’d throw them in the compost pile but I still didn’t have the heart to throw them out. Now they are lined out in the nursery where they will continue to stay until they find a new home. For this garden, I’m really trying to stick with my original vision. I deserve a nice garden too, don’t I?

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Richard Schipul
Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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