Looking for a garden designer

rsingley(z6a NJ)June 28, 2005

I'm looking for an experienced landscape architect to design my flower beds around my garden pond. I'm looking for a tropical look using a mix of hardy perennials and tropical annuals. I already have a scaled layout of hardscaping done. Any referals?

Thanks in advance.

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Odie99(z7a NJ)

What part of this great state are you in? This project sounds like a lot of fun and a good challenge. Will you be doing the installation, bidding it out with the design or perhaps, using the designer or thier contacts for the installation?


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:33AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

So you're going with the tropical look eh? Is your pond and pumps going to be operating in the fall? winter?

It's going to look awfuly bare and contrived as annuals and perrenials 'die off'. Native perrenials will at least provide "interest" as they dry out. Tropicals will just turn squishy black at first hard frost.

You're going to plant what you want. I'd find a lot more interest in a landscape that includes trees (dwarf weeping Jap. Maple for instance) and shrubs that will provide all year interest as well as providing coverage for other wildlife (birds especially) that will gravitate to the water.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:55PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

I miss my old pond (which wasn't anywhere near 500 gallons).

It was beautifuly constructed with very large stone that I was able to secure from the Princeton Walk project. Pocket plantings were a 'golden spray' chamacypreus (sp), a beautiful prostrate Ankora Spruce, and a few other weeping dwarf conifers.

I had upwards of 14 warbler species at the waterfall each May when the conditions were right.

I've sometimes thought of putting in another here at my new place. Maybe some day. But natural gardens (to me) are for more attractive and 'less contrived and artificial' when they're planted for 'year round interest'.

How my doing NJTea?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 11:46AM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Better than your initial reaction....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 12:37PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

Have you tried the Tropicalesque forum? There is a thread for hardy plants that look tropical. They can save you a lot of labor and/or expense replanting every year, unless that is no object for you.

I have a tropical hummingbird garden, that I hope to add a small water feature to. I am definitely going start putting in more of the hardy plants - it was overwhelming wintering over and starting seeds and planting out.

Hosta, bamboo, hellebore, pawlonia and catalpa (you can cut these way down every year and keep them small - the leaves are even bigger on the new growth), big grasses mixed with lilies, some bananas (Musa basjoo and sikkamensis), staghorn sumac (especially the cutleaf form, like a giant fern), ferns of course, hibiscus coccinea, and plenty of water plants are all hardy. Tubers and bulbs like cannas are easy to overwinter, and fast growing. Big leaf magnolia if you want a big tree, magnolia grandiflora for a small tree with shiny evergreen leaves and velvet undersides (deer killed the last for me - twice). Rhododendrons also evergreen.

Vines - hops, honeysuckle, climbing hydrangea.

Annuals - castor bean, very fast growing and deadly poison. Morning glory family also fast growing, mina lobata different and exotic. Lablab, another quick vine. Things that are so fast you can plant the seeds in the ground, very labor-saving. Things that like heat.

Salvias like heat and a surprising number like damp ground.

It's not a big deal when the frost kills a tropical or its top - the cannas go black over night and I cut them down, no long ugly decline, but I am glad I have enough hardy perennials and shrubs mixed in so the garden isn't bare.

If you already know what plants you want and just need a designer to put them together in an artful way - please excuse me. A designer being out of my budget, I just fool around with combinations, perspective, concealment and revelation - and use enough of a plant to make an impact.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 3:12PM
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