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Who I am, what I do

May 10, 2008

I’m a landscape designer here in Culpeper, Virginia. After working in various places around the country, I ended up here. When I lived in San Diego, I thought it was the ultimate gardening paradise: the climate was amazing and comfortable all year long, and it seemed as though you could stick anything in the ground and have it grow. I planted palms, citrus, gardenias, even agave and cacti- all exciting plants that I could never have grown in New England. While there is no lemon tree outside my office window here in central Virginia, I think we have an even better climate for plant lovers for two simple reasons: soil and water.

San Diego is a semi-arid region, hardly appropriate for vast swaths of lush vegetation. Now, we have our bad years here when it comes to water. Last year’s drought was a killer, and I have some camellias and even birches that took a beating. For the most part, however, we get plenty of rain to at least sustain established plants. Our native soil is pretty good as well. Yes, there’s plenty of sticky, heavy clay; but the clay soil can be amended with organic matter, and regardless of how unpleasant it is to dig, plants seem to love it.

What do ramblings about soil and water have to do with who I am and what I do? Preserving healthy soils and managing water are two critical parts of being a landscape professional anywhere. My approach to landscape design is to work with the client AND the site, to create a sustainable, functional and appealing landscape. This spills over into how I maintain sites as well. Some sites need a lot of attention, and some would do better with a little less love. It’s my job as a professional to know which approach is appropriate for your site.


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