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My passion for landscaping was influenced by my mom’s love of flowers. At 15, I started planting annuals for mother’s day. At 25, I started my first veggie garden and began to dabble in perennials.
In 2000, while working as a graphic designer, I went stir crazy, quit my job anded start a landscaping company in Valparaiso, IN. Even though my knowledge was limited, flowers were a passion that I couldn’t resist. Little did I know, natural stonework would became another passion.
Using pesticides and herbicides was never my thing so I found natural ways to handle gardening problems. Around 2005, I saw Jeff Lowenfels speak and it changed my world.
Backyard flower garden in Valparaiso, IN
One of my first garden designs, although attractive, notice all the non-native plants. These are still the typical finds in most nurseries.
I jumped into landscaping head first and found a passion for natural stone. Most of these installation were dry stacked (mortarless) a method I still prefer to use today.
In 2003, I moved back to Chicago and went back to work in graphic design. But that didn’t last very long as I soon found a job working for a landscape company.
The following are just a few examples of my designs.
Attending the Chicago Flower and Garden Show was always an anticipated event. I especially looked forward to their seminars. One year, Jeff Lowenfels was speaking about the benefits of using compost tea to organically treat lawns and landscapes. This information proved invaluable and led me to start Organic Garden Company in 2007.
Not only did we fertilize organically with compost tea, we added nutrients to balance the soil and used battery powered equipment for maintenence.
I also worked with a landscape architect installing gardens, then maintaining them. This is what got me started in annual decor. As the season changed, so did their planters.
Many of my clients stayed with me for over ten years. Even after I moved to Atlanta in 2017, I went back seasonally to take care of my longest running client because, she insisted.
The following are just a few examples of seasonal planters.
Here’s a gander of a couple before and after photos.
My clients in the first two photos requested a seating area. The planting area was edged with bluestone to prevent dirt and mulch from falling on the patio and walkway. We all were very satified with the result.
The second two photos are of my long time clients front yard. I couldn’t wait to revamp this space. We put in a above ground timed sprinkler system and most the plants were zone 5 US natives. Eventually we added grass seed but If I knew then what I know now, the lawn would be a native Carex.
Click on the photos to enlarge