If you’ve read my blog or taken one of my classes at Renfrow Farm, you know I usually mention landscape or garden consultations. I’ve been doing that for quite a few years, but it might possibly be new to you. In simple terms, a landscape consultation offers you an opportunity to get on-site advice about your lawn, trees & shrubs, your vegetable garden, even your home composter, and your rain barrels. And yes, we should all be composting lawn waste & kitchen scraps. I know there are a lot of good websites that offer excellent information about specific shrubs, trees, and flowers. If you’re more traditional in your approach to research, there are hundreds of books and magazines out there about landscape gardening. They give you lots of good information, too. But your home is a specific micro-climate, not a zone on a USDA map on the Internet. All these things are tools, not decision makers. They can’t be. As good as all of these tools are, and as talented and experienced as the authors are, they’ve never been to your home. They can’t. But I can. Here’s why I can help you.
Over the years, I’ve installed hundreds of gardens and visited hundreds more. I’ve had my hands in all kinds of soil from the sandy land of Carolina Beach to the rocky soils of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve maintained commercial campuses and tiny backyards. All of these landscapes have one thing in common. I wanted to help folks enjoy the time they spend in the garden, whether it’s the busy person that just gets to spend a few minutes on the deck, or the person lucky enough to spend hours in the garden every day. I’m not arrogant enough to tell you that I succeeded every time, because I didn’t. But failure is a chance to learn more and more. Plus, I was fortunate enough to help folks enjoy their gardens most of the time.
What do I mean when I say “enjoy your garden”? Just that – you really like to spend time on your garden. It can be for any reason. Simply that it looks good to you. It may be tailored to a hobby like a vegetable and fruit garden or herb garden. You may want a place to relax and unwind after a stressful day at work and a long commute. The dreams, and that’s what they are, can be as numerous and varied as the people who dream them. The landscapes around our homes are too often left to others to look after, so they reflect what others dream. Too often we don’t even really live in the place where our home IS. It doesn’t reflect who we are, so we just pass through it as we leave our home and head off to other places where we seem to want to be. We just don’t enjoy our garden or deck or lawn. Or we see it as more work in our busy lives. So we don’t enjoy it. But we should. And we can! And I can help you do that.
Because of my 30+ years as a horticulturist, farmer, and NC Cooperative Extension agent, I have a lot of experience evaluating home and business landscapes. When I can stand in a yard and feel the Sun on my back, I know the questions to ask to determine if this is a really sunny spot or just a little morning sun. When I take a shovel full of soil and crumble it in my hands, I have pretty good idea of what needs to be added to that soil to grow a beautiful lawn or establish an oak tree for shade. That beautiful old plant that was a part of the Landscape when you bought the house? I can help you identify it. And that weird looking plant that’s so out of place by the foundation? It’s a weed that never got pulled and will take over if you don’t remove it.
I can stand at the street with you and see the view that you’ll see every day as you pull in the drive. We can sit in the living room or at the kitchen table, look out the French doors and visualize the garden you want to look at while you sip your morning coffee or enjoy that glass of wine after supper. That deck or patio you always wanted can be planned while we sit in that spot we picked out. We can lay out the vegetable/flower/herb garden using “The Living Garden” template that I created to help folks feed their bodies as well as their souls naturally.
As I say in my website, “In a one-hour consultation, I can solve problems, identify plants, generate new ideas, and give you more information than you could find on a website or at a garden center. I bring 30+ years of experience as a farmer, landscaper, and NC Extension agent to your home, along with a creative eye for design.”
“That’s all well and good”, I hear you saying, “but I have a limited budget for my landscaping”. Most folks do. And landscaping is a significant investment in time, labor, and money. Part of enjoying your garden is minimizing the troubles you have and optimizing the money you spend. I have seen so many mistakes in planting and hardscapes (and made some, too) that I can help you avoid those mistakes and save you money.
The bottom line is this. I hope you are enjoying your garden. I want everybody to enjoy their time outside as much as I do. If you aren’t, drop me a line, and let’s talk. If we decide that I can help you, then the sooner we get started, the sooner you begin to enjoy your garden. And THAT’S how you become a Successful Gardener!
Photo by Jeff Rieves