Watering Your Asheville Landscape

The weather has been so hot and dry in Asheville and the entire southeast this summer. Even established and drought-tolerant plants are showing signs of stress from the high temperatures and lack of rain. Many homeowners don’t realize how long it takes for new plants to get established and how often they need to water them.

Watering Your New Landscape

We all have busy schedules and watering may not be a priority when the plants appear to be doing okay with just water from rain. Some plants, such as hydrangeas, show us early when they’re stressed while others don’t let us know until it’s too late to save them or large portions of the plant die off. These include trees and evergreen shrubs.

It’s also easy to put off watering plants when it’s so hot that we’re uncomfortable and battling mosquitoes.

Water Deeply

  • Water your plants deeply every 2 to 3 days rather than small amounts daily. Watering deeply means using a hose with a gentle stream of water and individually watering each plants for several minutes. If the water starts running off quickly, move on to the next plant and then return to the previous one.
  • You don’t have to water all of your plants at once. You can divide your landscape into areas and water an area at a time.
  • If a plant starts to wilt, check the soil moisture. Water it immediately if it’s not moist. If the soil is moist, the wilting can be the stress of the heat, sun or another problem.

Rainwater and Soil Moisture

  • New plants need about 1 to 2 inches of water every week- possibly more in really hot conditions. A rain gauge is useful in monitoring the amount of rainfall each week. Keep in mind that heavy downpours don’t soak into the ground as much as a gentle rain. Even though it rained 2″ in one hour, much of that rain didn’t reach the plant roots.
  • Check the depth of the soil moisture periodically by sticking your finger several inches into the ground near the plant’s roots. If it’s dry, the plant needs water (even it if rained the day before.)
  • Plants under trees don’t get as much rainwater as other plants and may need to be watered while others don’t.

Time Needed for Plant Establishment

  • New plants need at least a complete year to establish their roots. Large trees will need even more time. This means watering regularly as the temperatures start to warm early in the spring, through the summer, and until the days get shorter and cooler late in the fall.
  • If your plants were installed this year, you’ll also need to water them next spring or longer for a complete growing cycle.

Best Times to Water

  • Best times to water are early in the morning and in the evening.
  • If you water during the hot, sunny part of the day, some of the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed by the plant’s roots. If that’s the only have time that you have one day, it’s better than not watering at all.

Drought-tolerant Plants

  • If you’re like me, I first thought that drought-tolerant plants wouldn’t need to be watered except by Mother Nature.  All plants, even drought-tolerant ones, need time to establish their roots.
  • During long stretches of hot, dry weather, even drought-tolerant plants may need some additional water after they’re established.

Hand-watering is time consuming the first year. By using drought-tolerant plants in much of your landscape, you may not need to water much in successive years.

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For more information about Terri Long Landscape Design please visit our About Terri page or simply Contact Us for more details.

828.299.2399

 

Landscape Care in July

It’s the middle of July, and it’s been unusually hot and humid in Asheville this summer. I hope that you’re enjoying summer blooming shrubs and flowers in your landscape.

Here’s a few tips to improve the look of your landscape now:

  1. When you deadhead (cut off spent blooms), cut a few extra nice flowers to use in a floral arrangement in your house. You can also use flowers, foliage and stems from shrubs and trees. Crush the ends of woody stems with a hammer or something similar so that water can go up the stems.
  2. July is the month when you need to finish any pruning of your shrubs. You may want to prune off wild shoots, dead stems or suckers to improve their appearance while keeping the shape natural. The next safe time to prune shrubs is after they go dormant in the winter. If you prune after July, any new growth will not have a chance to harden off before cold weather and may suffer damage.
  3. If you prune spring flowering shrubs now, you’ll be pruning off next spring’s buds and won’t have as plentiful floral display. The time to prune them is after they finish blooming next year.
  4. If you don’t have an irrigation systems, water your plants, especially your trees, during periods of hot, dry weather. Landscapes and gardens planted less than one year are still getting established and need to be watered deeply every two to three days when we haven’t had much rain. Check the soil moisture around the plant roots and water if it’s not moist. Established plants that aren’t drought tolerant may also need to be watered. Water each plant in the morning or evening.

I’d love to hear from you. Please contact me with your questions or comments.

 

 

Spring Beauties in your Asheville Landscape

 

Spring is my favorite time of the year. I’m always excited to see the new growth emerging after the winter’s rest and the cheerful colors of blooms and the lime green of new foliage.  There’s a sense of new possibilities and anticipation in the air. What a great time to start something new- hence, the beginning  of a blog by Terri Long Landscape Design. I hope that you find it interesting and useful. I look forward to your comments and questions.

Spring bulbs are one of the first harbingers of spring. Some even bloom in late winter, so with a variety of bulbs you can introduce flowers into your landscape early and for a long time. You can create or emphasize curving lines with large sweeps of flowering bulbs. Mass plantings of bulbs are a great way to add fast color to a young landscape and also provide a source for cut flowers.

We all know daffodils, tulips, crocus and grape hyacinths. Daffodils and crocus are pest resistant, so you don’t have to worry about them being damaged by squirrels, chipmunks, voles and other critters. As some of you know, I moved into a 70s neighborhood in  Asheville last year. I’ve been delighted to see the spring bulbs that were planted by previous homeowners appear and bloom. Although tulips are unreliable and short lived in the south, I’m happy to see buds emerging from the foliage and am eagerly awaiting the flowers to mature and bloom. I don’t even mind the grape hyacinths and violets in my lawn, since they add purple into a sea of green and really shouldn’t interfere with mowing. They’re not for those who like a perfect lawn, since the grape hyacinths seed themselves with abandon, even from well-maintained perennial beds.

Other bulbs that you may not have considered are Squill (Scilla), with beautiful blue or white flowers which are deer resistant, and Snowdrop (Galanthus), a white, bell shaped  flower that combines nicely with Hellebores. Both of these are good for naturalizing. For those bulbs that are prone to critter damage, you can plant them in wire cages or, better yet, plant them in PermaTill-Vole Bloc, which is made from expanded natural slate by a North Carolina company.

For native plants, look at Trout Lily and Spring Beauty, which are corms, and Crested Dwarf Iris, which are rhizomes rather than bulbs. Trout Lily and Spring Beauty are spring ephemerals, so they are visible for only a short time. The foliage of the Crested Dwarf Iris will last through the summer, except in very dry summer conditions. These natives look great in woodland and rock gardens.

The National Native Azalea Repository at the North Carolina Arboretum (www.ncarboretum.org) is an excellent place to see masses of trout lilies in the spring. Their mottled foliage resembles trout (not surprising that they are called trout lilies). Their small yellow flowers are a good reason to bend down to get a better look at their flowers and foliage, slow down and get in touch with nature.

You can see Spring Beauties at The Botanical Gardens of Asheville (www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org), along with a multitude of common and rare native plants of our region.

Now is an excellent time to look at your landscape and see where you would like to add early spring color with bulbs. Planting bulbs is also an easy way to improve your curb appeal if you are considering putting your house on the market next spring. Take notes so that you’ll know where to plant your spring bulbs in October. Or better yet, contact me to evaluate your landscape, make suggestions, and we’ll come back and plant them for you in October. You’ll have more time to enjoy the wonders of spring and have something new to look forward to next spring.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina

Winter Interest in Your Garden

As I look out my window, the snow is melting in Asheville. This is the second year in a row with unusually cold temperatures and high snowfall. With or without snow, winter is an excellent time to really see the bones of your garden. Is it interesting or barren? Do you have focal points both from inside and looking at your house?

Are you pleased by the views from inside your house? Perhaps you see birds and squirrels feeding on the nuts, seeds and berries of your trees and shrubs. Or maybe you see areas that are okay in other seasons but now that the plants have dropped their leaves, you find yourself exposed to your neighbors or unsightly views.

Would you like to see more color? Evergreen plants come in various shades of green, blue, yellow and burgundy. You may have shrub beds and natural areas that you’d like to see a carpet of evergreen groundcovers. You can also add color with berries and colored stems. Imagine a shrub with bright red berries accentuated by the recent snow or evergreen groundcover. Berries can be a good food source for winter birds. Do you want plants to cut and use for holiday decorations or to bring in to brighten a winter day with the promise of spring to come.

Do any of your trees and shrubs have interesting bark, texture and form? Many perennials also provide structure in the winter garden and also provide food for birds.

You can start the process of improving your winter garden by getting out your camera and shooting photographs of both interesting views and problem areas. This is the first step to having your dream garden – one that enriches your life all year long.

For more information or to schedule a meeting, please call at 828.299.2399.

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

North Carolina Mountains Provide Design Inspiration

The scenic beauty and native plants of Western North Carolina are a continuous source of inspiration. You will see elements from local surroundings in the design for a new home for one of my clients at The Cliffs of Walnut Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. These include a dry creek bed flowing under an arched stone faced bridge leading to the front porch.

Front bridge in progress

The bridge designed by the architectural team of Christopher Rose Architects is reminiscent of the tunnels of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’ll be like having a reminder of the parkway upon approaching their house.

The conceptual design of the architects included a dry creek bed to manage and direct the storm water runoff away from the front of the house. Although I’ve incorporated dry creek beds in other projects, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to integrate it with the architecture in this way. Rather than collecting water in catch basins and piping it away in drains resulting in a generic, sterile look, the use of the dry creek bed becomes a natural looking feature with a functional purpose and a green solution.

We were excited to be invited to go to the actual source of the native stone and be involved in selecting them. Our first stop was to a stone yard where the supplier brings in different types of stones for sale. My client was able to see many different types of stones and identify what was appealing to her. Even better than the stone yard, we were going to be able to select the stones from their natural setting.

Creek Inspiration

We then went to a creek on the way to the rock bar where we were able to hone in on the look, type and arrangement of stones that will be used for her dry creek bed. Although our constructed creek bed will be narrower and sunny, this creek will be the inspiration.

After soaking up the sounds and sights of the water, mossy rocks and identifying several wildflowers, we went on an adventurous ride up the mountain to the rock bar. I’ve been to stone yards numerous times, but that doesn’t begin to compare to actually seeing the stone in its natural setting before it is harvested. Unlike anywhere that I’ve been on hikes, the site was naturally covered in stone of all sizes and shapes. Now, when we see these stones after they’re installed, we’ll remember the trip to the rock bar and from where they came.

Rocks in natural setting

The natural boulders were delivered this week . These boulders will be used for a low boulder wall and as natural looking outcroppings on each side of the driveway entrance. The stones for the dry creek bed will be the type found in creeks and will be delivered on another day.

Boulder delivery

Native Boulders

Stay tuned for updates as the installation begins.

“It’s Complicated” movie provides inspiration for NC garden

Abundant summer garden

Design inspiration sometimes comes from unexpected sources. Late last winter, one of my clients asked me to design a kitchen garden (or potager) inspired by the movie, It’s Complicated. I knew that this was going to be a really fun experience. How many jobs do you have where you’re asked to see a movie as part of the design process?

Pat had taken the first step in creating an inspiring garden. She had a clear idea of what she wanted. The potager garden in the movie provided her with the picture of an abundant, lush vegetable and flower garden surrounded by a fence and raised beds for structure. She’s an avid vegetable gardener and cook and already had a large, abundant vegetable garden. The views of the existing garden from the house and decks were great when the garden was in full production but not so in winter.

Winter view

The deer who had found plenty of food in the woods before discovered the tasty buffet of her garden last summer. Rather than a high fence, she decided to install a rail fence with a single line electrical fence above it if the deer become a problem.

My role in this garden was to provide the “bones” of the garden while Pat would select the small fruits, edible flowers and veggies to plant based on her past successes. Vertical structures for beans, tomatoes and other climbing plants will be built by a neighboring craftsman. We also planted dwarf pear trees that added vertical structure. When I last saw Pat, she was expanding her gardening knowledge by researching companion plants that benefit each other. Among others, she was going to install the baby corn plants first so that beans could grow up the stalks.

Raised beds add structure

One of the joys of the design process is collaborating with my clients to create a garden that inspires them.

Subscribe to my post to see updated photos of this garden with the installed fence and summer garden.

Creating Your Ideal Landscape

Do your outdoor spaces enrich your life? If not, then start dreaming. Don’t hold yourself back. Let your creative side run free. Look at photographs in magazines and books. Think about homes and gardens that attracted you. What is it about them that you like?

Outdoor fireplace

Is it a feature, such as a water garden, outdoor fireplace or colorful flower garden?

Water feature

Is it a certain style- natural, formal, cottage gardens?

Relaxing stone bench

Envision yourself in these spaces. How would you use them? How would they enrich your life? What kind of activities would you do? What kind of feelings do they evoke- peaceful, happy, joyful? Are you starting to get a picture of what your ideal outdoor spaces would be like?

I know that some of you may be thinking, that was fun but how am I going to make it happen? I don’t have the space, time, money, etc. What I’m suggesting is to start off without regard to your perception of reality. We’re not going to duplicate these features, styles and landscapes that appeal to you. They’re the inspiration in creating your ideal landscape. Without inspiration, vision and desire, you may end up with a pleasing landscape that is more about appearances than enhancing your life. With inspiration and vision, you can have outdoor spaces that you love to be in and enjoy with your friends and family.

There are many ways to create your ideal landscape. A large water feature may be reinterpreted into a small pond or fountain that reflects the sky and provides you with the soothing sounds of water.

Outdoor dining spaces

If this idea excites you but you feel overwhelmed and still don’t know where to start, contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation for your home in Asheville. This complimentary consultation will take about 45-60 minutes, and we’ll review your site, desires and dreams. If you decide to work with me, we’ll create a vision of your ideal landscape. I’ll guide you every step of the way in creating your design and turning it into your personal oasis. Click here to get started on creating the ideal outdoor spaces for your home in western North Carolina.

Autumn Landscapes in Asheville

As we start to experience the signs of autumn in Asheville, do you have visions of a beautiful fall garden? Now is a good time to plant.

Those of us who reside in western North Carolina are blessed in many ways. Not only do we live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world with a vast diversity of plants and people, we can successfully install most plants year round. Autumn offers optimum conditions.

There are great benefits for planting in autumn. The temperatures are cooling and the days are getting shorter, so there is less moisture lost to transpiration and evaporation. We also experience more rain during the cool months. This results in less supplemental watering of the new plants and less use of this valuable resource.  Even drought tolerant plants need about a year to get established. The plants have several months of establishing their root system in their new home before focusing their energies on leaf and flower production in the spring.

In Asheville, we can successfully plant herbaceous plants, such as perennials and groundcovers, well into October. Depending on the plant, you may even enjoy some flowers or fall color before they go dormant for the winter. By planting in the fall, you’ll be on your way to enjoying spring and summer flowers next year as these plants can’t be put in the ground in the spring until after the danger of a late frost, which is in May. Autumn is also a great time to plant trees, especially large trees that are dug in the field and balled and burlapped.

October is the best time to plant spring bulbs. Don’t let this once a year opportunity pass by you or you will miss the beauty of these spring harbingers next year.

At Terri Long Landscape Design, we can handle your autumn landscape needs from creating a design to enrich your life to the actual installation of the landscape. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Trillium, Trillium and More Trillium

Trillium and Fringed Phacelia

Now’s the time to get outside in the western North  Carolina mountains and Tennesse to see one of my favorite spring wildflowerstrilliums.  These beautiful spring ephemerals get their name from their three leaves and three flower petals. They emerge early in the spring before the trees have leafed out, bloom in all of their beauty and enchantment and then disappear until next year. I’ve recently seen them in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and will be looking for them soon along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also easily see trilliums and multitudes of other spring  wildflowers at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville.

Whether using the native plants or adapting their design concepts, nature provides numerous examples not only of plant combinations but also arrangements. We can take clues from the masses of white spring wildflowers blanketing the forest floor and the impact gained by massing plants, whether by color or type.

 

Catesby's Trillium

A single flower can also provide an element of surprise and delight when discovered. Trilliums can take as long as seven years to produce a saleable plant from seed. That’s one reason why they’re rare and expensive in the nursery trade. Illegal harvesting of these plants makes it especially important to buy them from reputable nurseries and not from tailgate markets and other temporary vendors. The Botanical Gardens of Asheville is having their spring nursery sale on May 1 and 2, where you can stock up on native plants (and hopefully, trilliums) while benefiting the Gardens too. I hope to see you there!

Please let me know your favorite places for trilliums, especially from nurseries.

Yellow Trillium

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina

Plant a Legacy in Your Landscape

Live Oak Trees

Large trees create legacies. They can provide us with a sense of stability and hope with their large sizes and longevity. They connect us to the past while we enjoy them in the present.

My thoughts turned to the legacies created by trees and landscapes during a recent visit to Charleston and Savannah. I was overcome by the grandeur of the live oaks draped in Spanish moss that lined the historic streets and dirt roads and provided beauty and shade in historic sites and cemeteries. I thought about the vision of those people who not only had the foresight to plant these large trees and other plants but also those who have cared for them for many generations.  Their visions of future possibilities are what we enjoy today.

Although we don’t have live oaks in the Appalachian Mountains, we have other large trees that are majestic in their own right. I’m thinking of tulip poplars, hemlocks, oaks, and beeches. In Asheville and the surrounding area we find many locations where visionaries planted trees and protected the beauty of our Appalachian mountains. In the heart of Asheville is the collected vision of George Vanderbilt and Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of landscape architecture. When Vanderbilt acquired the property that is now Biltmore Estate, it was eroded, barren and unproductive farmland. Visitors today see the lushness of the woodlands as they travel around the grounds and think that it’s always been a beautiful forest. (www.biltmore.com)

It’s only been a short 75 years since the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (www.GreatSmokies75th.org) and only 74 years for the Blue Ridge Parkway (www.blueridgeparkway.org). We are surrounded by the vision and dedication of leaders who saw the value of protecting the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains with the creation of national and state parks.

Most of us want to leave the world a better place than how we found it. As we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day (http://www.arbordayfoundation.org), I invite you to think of ways of creating your own legacy for future generations. There are many ways to do it. We can all take small steps in our own way that add up to big results.

Please let me know if we can be of assistance to you in your Asheville and western North Carolina landscapes.

Enjoy the beauty of nature and especially the beauty of trees!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina