I am a plant nerd. My fascination started at summer camps and state parks, touring woodland wildflower trails with experts on edible natives and shady stream ephemerals. In college I was motivated to study landscape architecture after being inspired by Mary Wharton, my professor and author of A Guide to the Wildflowers & Ferns of Kentucky and Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky, books I still refer to today. During my landscape architecture internship, Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses was the essential reference in the landscape industry, and I read it cover to cover. It was such a privilege to hear so many great plant experts speak, and even better to visit their home gardens.
My background is in landscape architecture with a strong emphasis on horticulture. I did a lot of industrial campus plans and municipal work before being hired to review landscape design plans for a state department of transportation, and I worked, early in my career, on large-scale planting and irrigation plans. I did lots of residential work, too. I got to know the green industry and gained practical experience in how to keep plants alive and maintain them. You get to know plant species after specifying several hundred of them on a single site! My work with the department included helping with the wildflower program. I even designed one of the state’s wildflower tags.
I love flowers and garden-clubbing! Several years ago I went through the Nations Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. flower show judging school to learn how to arrange flowers. I was lucky enough to create two exhibits for the Southeaster Flower Show, back in its glory days, for work. Much of my experience, though, is in using flowers in professional landscape designs, rather than greenhouse-grown florals.
What do I want to tell you about flowers?
• Seasonal changes transform a landscape, and this is most noticeable and dramatic when herbaceous floral plants are used.
• Flower blooms are transient in nature. That’s part of their beauty. I’ll write an article about artificial flowers one of these days.
• It’s easy to grow flowers all year round as long as you pick the tried-and-true species and provide the right setting.
The devil is in the details, though!
I want to share as much as I can with you about what I’ve learned over the years, but you can find detailed information in my Advanced Guide to Flowers eBook, coming soon. Until then, keep reading articles on the website, and join our email list for updates. I would love to hear your comments and about your roadside enhancement stories and experiences, too.
You might also enjoy the Advanced Guide to Landscape Grants eBook, full of practical tips for applying for funding and making your beautification project a success.