Wimberg Landscaping Blog

The Natural Garden May Be the Break You Are Looking For


Gardening is hard work, no way around it. With that in the back of your mind, considering a natural garden, a little controlled chaos, may seem like adding more work in the garden. In fact, I’ve found such gardens to be far more forgiving. 

In a tightly structured garden, imagine one with manicured shrubs, every plant is seen and needs to be just right for the garden to be a success. One dead perennial or shrub or a specimen plant struggling along, stands out like grape jelly on a white t-shirt. When you transition your garden to a more natural style with large stands of plants that are meant to touch, intermingle and migrate, a lost plant here or there is rather difficult to spot.

Recent Posts

Three Simple Things to Attract Wildlife

You don't have to start from scratch if you want to attract wildlife to your garden, even if your landscape is very traditional and formal. Bird feeders and birdbaths are a quick and inexpensive way to start. But as for plants and garden design, we have three things you can do now to bring in the wildlife. 

  1. Ditch the honeysuckle! It’s invasive, chokes out native ephemerals and the berries have very little nutritional value. If you have honeysuckle, it’s most likely tucked by the garage or along the back fence, an easy place to remove and replace without disturbing your established landscape.
  2. Leave spent flowers up. I was so close to cutting my perennials at the park, it was quite late in the season, but I spied seeds still remaining and birds coming to grab a quick bite. 
  3. Opt for native or single flowering varieties of plants, such as with echinacea. There’s a common thought that double flowering coneflowers aren't as easy for pollinators to access or may offer less nectar. I tend to lean towards straight varieties or those closer to straight because they simply live longer. My native liatris is going on year five with ease. It’s always adorned with pollinators and come fall, when the flowers have faded, small birds are harvesting the seeds.

Attracting wildlife doesn't have to mean grand changes in the garden. We can offer ideas for simple alterations to your landscape to bring in the birds and pollinators. Just give us a call. 

Shrubs for the Wildlife

When you need a new shrub or short tree and you want to attract birds and pollinators, there are some great options to consider. 

Serviceberry: A nice little shrub/tree to tuck into the garden. Attracts birds and butterflies and has great fall color. 

Flowering Dogwood (above): A classic spring flowering tree. Its red berries are irresistible to robins and other birds. 

Spice Bush (Lindera benzion) We love this because it attracts the swallowtail butterfly. 

American Elder (Sambucus canadensis), is a great native deciduous shrub for a more natural garden. It brings in the birds and butterflies, too.

Shrub Pruning: What to Know

“If you love it you will prune it,” as my father says, and in most cases he’s correct. Often times I see trees and shrubs in need of some pruning attention. But we don't need to prune everything into submission. Believe it or not, forsythia doesn't grow as a square or as a globe. Ninebarks have gracefully arching branches and weigela doesn't look good as a cube.

Some shrubs look great with a strict prune, like boxwoods or yews, especially when they’re the bones of a formal garden space. (This photo from Southern Living is a perfect example.) But swap out the boxwoods for forsythias in the same garden and you have something that looks wrong, no matter how much you prune and shape.

If you desire a more formal setting or you want a sculptural look to your garden, we will select shrubs and trees that will fit the bill nicely. 

Notes From the Gardens: The Smaller Pollinator Garden

A sunny spot in the Adopt-a-Plots struck me as the perfect space to plant a small pollinator garden as part of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Plant for Pollinators Program. The garden is in a bit of limbo this year, a story that is not mine to share. It does give us the opportunity to show you, my gardening friends, how even small spaces are ideal for pollinator gardens.

First task on-hand was a bit of weeding to remove the invasive onions as well as the English ivy that was creeping into the plot. The bed has black-eyed Susans, peonies, a Russian Sage and some lamb's ears.

The soil is quite nice. Many of the Adopt-a-Plot gardens have been amended over the years to create well-draining, organically rich material in which to plant. It’s in the full sun with one full length of the garden abutting a sidewalk that generates a bit more heat for the garden.

Five Reasons to Call a Hardscape Professional

So you are ready to add a hardscape element or two to your landscape. Great! The question is, can you do it yourself or should you call in the experts? Here are five things to consider before tackling this project on your own.

Size and Site: Hardscape projects border on do-it-yourself and professional work. The size and area in which you are building your hardscape plays a big part in determining if you should tackle such a project or let the experts help. If you need a plan, a scaled drawing as well as some grading to make the site ready for a new patio, hiring a professional is a smart move.

Multiple Hardscape Elements: Whenever we are working on a patio, dining, fireplace and cooking area, a designer is your best tool for the project. She can ensure everything you are looking for is manageable, to scale within the space and executed in a way to ensure quality of work.

Creating a Pollinator Garden with Wimberg Landscaping

Wimberg Landscaping has partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo’s Plant for Pollinators Challenge. We admire their goal of registering 500 pollinator gardens in 2019. Gardens can be small, perfect for balcony gardeners, or very generous in size, like our Focal Garden at Ault Park.

Pollinator gardens do not have to be comprised exclusively of pollinator plants. Such gardens rely on thoughtful design, year-round blooms and winter interest. Then we take the next step: incorporating plants that will feed and host pollinators. 


Five Perennials That Brightened The Early Season Garden

If you are looking in the garden each day to see what’s emerging and flushing out, you are not alone. If you have these five plants in your garden you’re already seeing the start of this year’s garden season.

Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Hearts are the classic, elegant sign of spring in the shade garden. The more shade these plants have the longer they stay viable in the garden. If they get more sun and a bit dry, they will go dormant and greet you again next spring.


Wimberg Landscaping Partners with the Cincinnati Zoo!

Wimberg Landscaping is happy to announce that we are partnering with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ (CZBG) Plant for Pollinators Challenge. As we develop a better understanding about how our endeavors in the landscape have a direct impact on the success or failure of pollinators and other wildlife, gardeners are making a conscious effort to design and manage their gardens in a way that will support our pollinator population. The CZBG is in the forefront of plant and wildlife education. While the cheetahs and hippos may get a lot of fanfare, the work being done at the Zoo to promote plants that will benefit pollinators is equally important.

An Attractive Solution for the Forgotten Side Yard

Most homeowners have it, the forgotten side yard that’s seldom used or viewed. One side of the house provides for a nice garden walk, playing area or perhaps a driveway. The other side of the house is dedicated to utilities, such as air conditioning units. When that house is in Cincinnati, chances are you also have a slope. We can't ignore this part of the yard, it’s part of the property and viewed by neighbors. Here’s a beautiful solution.

Now’s the Time to Plan for Spring Flowering Bulbs!

If you are not enjoying the beauty of spring flowering bulbs, such as daffodils in your yard, the question is, why? Now’s a great time to study where the landscape would benefit from a splash of much needed spring color. If you know you don't have the energy to plant bulbs in the fall, after a long season of gardening, call us.

We can plan where the bulbs will be planted in the fall and start securing the bulbs now. Then, come this time next year, you'll be enjoying a garden flush with spring flowers!

Six Reasons Pine Straw is Winning Us Over

Pine straw is quickly moving up the list of must-use mulch options. For years we have used it at Peter Wimberg’s home, completely blanketing the front landscape and its gentle slope to the street. After the perennials are cut back in late fall, or simply left as is, we cover the landscape with a generous amount of pine straw. Unlike hardwood mulch which can become compact after the winter season, pine straw remains loose enough that ‘fluffing’ is not required come spring.


Periodic Bed Maintenance, For the Longevity of the Landscape

One way in which Wimberg Landscaping is unique in the industry is that we offer periodic garden maintenance. In addition to complete lawn care, irrigation services, design and installation services, we also offer maintenance of our new installations as well as existing landscapes. 

“Offering maintenance services was not only a smart business move, but it makes it easier for our clients to enjoy a beautiful, long-lived landscape,” share Peter Wimberg. “It’s simply easier, more efficient and cost effective for a homeowner to have one team addressing everything in the landscape. We know the property inside and out, we have a clear understanding of what should be happening year-to-year as our designs evolve. We can also head-off potential problems such as irrigation leaks or plant health issues.”

As to how much maintenance we provide a client, it runs the entire spectrum from our teams handling every detail to stopping in once a month to handle some of the bigger tasks. Our spring and fall clean up packages are one of our most popular services. We handle leaf clean up, bed edging, new mulch and cutting back spent perennials and grasses allowing the homeowner to focus on more of what she enjoys, such as planting. 

“Maintenance really is a partnership with our clients.” Peter says. “We’re there to help them where they need us most while offering sound, professional advice.”

If you could use a hand in the garden, call us. It’s never too early to schedule a spring clean up or arrange for regular garden maintenance. 

Notes From the Garden Bettman: Five Annuals I Cannot Wait to Use Again

I tend to use far more perennials than annuals in my gardens. But last year, some diseased trees were removed and new trees planted leaving a sunny garden, but for a limited time. The new lilac trees will make a for a shady spot to sit, but for the next few years it will be pretty sunny. Not wanting to plant sun perennials that I would have to move, I opted for annuals to fill in the garden and give it a lot of instant, summer-long color. Here’s what I planted that won me over:

Notes from the Gardens Ault Park

Work is beginning in the Focal Gardens at Ault Park. Grasses have been cut back, the coneflowers finally trimmed and winter weeds have been expelled from the gardens. A few plants are starting poke up-  most obviously the Monarda. Often, gently raking a garden is fine for removing plant debris, but with the thick carpet of Monarda, the best solution was cleaning it by hand. I didn't want to risk dislodging the tender new plants. The Monarda is quite vigorous in one of the four beds, despite being evenly distributed throughout all four in the original planting spaces. This is a great reminder to us all that even when planting spaces appear to be very much the same, subtleties in water and sun, perhaps even wind can affect the plants’ performance. 

Mulch 101

Mulch is great, it offers many benefits to the garden, if you use it correctly. Are you up on your mulch basics?

A Great Lawn is More Than Grass 

The lawn has taken a beating over the years. There are those who would say all lawns are bad. I’m not one to subscribe to ‘always’ or ‘never’ declarations. The truth often lies somewhere in the middle. This also holds true for the lawn.

A lawn does a wonderful job of setting off a home and its gardens. In simplest terms, the lawn is the foreground, the gardens middle ground and your home, the background. It’s the perfect design scenario. A curved lawn-garden bed line is attractive in its own right. (see image above) The contrast of the low green cover next to the varieties of textures and colors of the garden is a wonderful contrast. Plus, where else do you kick a ball around? The busiest place in the park is often the lawn. A place to stretch out, read, nap maybe even do yoga. 

Five Great Silver Plants to Try This Year

If you are looking for a way to shake up your garden colors a bit, consider adding silver plants this year. We found five great silver plants: some we have adored for years and others we can’t wait to try. 

Artemisia: (above) I grew this many years ago in Wisconsin and since then it slipped off my radar. What a shame! The light, feathery silver foliage is ideally suited for sunny, dry spots in the garden. And it’s deer resistant. I would love to see this tucked within a rock garden or planted with yuccas for an great contrast in color, texture and form.


Invite Spring Early to the Gardens

If your garden is lacking signs of spring, meet with one of our garden professionals who can help you integrate touches of spring into your landscape. The spring flowering bulb is always a welcome sight, especially after our long, gray winters. But some take a while to emerge. Helleborus orientalis (above) are gorgeous in the garden: spring through winter. Their evergreen foliage adds a touch of green when all else has faded, and they bloom in the very early spring. Mine are in bloom now, under a fine dusting of snow. 

The native bulb, Winter Aconite, that naturalizes with ease, is still in bloom in the shadier areas of the garden and starting to fade in brighter spots. Its bright yellow blooms are harbingers of spring and often visited by groups of honeybees. 

Another great spring bulb, Galanthus is perhaps the only new addition of white to the garden we want to see this time of year. They do best in sunny spots in well-draining soil. I like them planted in conjunction with crocus and daffodils for a continuous show of spring flowers. 

And let’s not forget Witch Hazel. We’ve waxed sentimental about this tree in an earlier post and for good reason. It has gorgeous architectural form when thoughtfully pruned. It creates lovely dappled shade, anchors the garden and provides much needed winter interest. And of course, the incredibly early blooms are most welcome in late winter and into spring.

Your landscape is something that should be enjoyed year-round. If it’s lacking an early spring flush of interest, call us. 

Five Signs You Need a Maintenance Crew

Regular maintenance care for your landscape is not reserved for those new to gardening and those who simply don't have the time. Experienced gardeners also turn to a designated maintenance team to assist in their landscape’s care. The reasons are many. We share five.

Mulch Madness
I’ve edged and mulched enough gardens to last my lifetime! Many clients love gardening, just not every task that comes with it, especially hauling heavy mulch bags around the yard. We can edge the beds and replenish the mulch when needed.

When I’m Away, The Weeds Will Play  
Many clients travel and when they do they don't want to worry about their gardens turning to weed patches, spent flowers left languishing on the plants and the yard void of human activity. A consistently groomed yard gives the impression that everyone is home, not on a far away beach.

Perennials That Work Well Alone

I have repeated this design rule many times: when adding a new plant, plant in odd numbers preferably 3, 5 or 7 if room permits. This is far more impactful than adding one of each plant here and there in the garden. The other rule of gardening is once you know the rules, you can break the rules. 

There are some perennials that offer enough visual weight and interest to be planted alone. They become a focal point in the garden vignette. You can use these plants in large groupings, of course, but if you have room for one plant only, or only want to invest in one plant, these are a great options. 

Britt-Marie Crawford Ligularia: (above)This plant has great visual weight thanks to it large, thick leaves with a gorgeous purple underside. They are not huge, about two feet tall and wide, but that space is all leaves, and in the late summer, yellow flowers atop thick stems. 

Five Plants to Try This Year

It’s too easy to get settled into our tried and true plants. They have served us well over the years, so why deviate?  We’re all guilty of it. But, there are countless plants available that are proven reliable (little risk to the gardener) that deserve a space in our home landscape. Here are five to consider.

Mount Airy Fothergilla (above): Great spring flowers, gorgeous fall color and easy to grow. Flexible: full sun to part shade and short (easy to tuck in anywhere).

Time to Rid These From the Landscape

There are a few plants that we strongly encourage you to eliminate from your landscape. Not only are they invasive or too aggressive, but the alternatives are far more attractive and beneficial to your landscape environment.

Top of the list, no surprise here, Honeysuckle. Wildy invasive, hinders the growth of desirable spring ephemerals, may possibly poison the soil and its berries are of marginal nutritional value for the birds.   

Instead consider: Shasta viburnum. A lovely large shrub/small tree. It blooms early, has gorgeous berries, in the winter it’s architectural interest shines, and if you love to prune your plants this one welcomes it!

Or consider a Witch Hazel. Again, gorgeous winter structure, it blooms as early as December or January (what a sight to behold on our gray days!) and its leaves have great fall color. The open nature of the this small tree makes it perfect for creating a dappled shade garden. It blooms best in full sun, but we’ve seen it do quite well in part shade, too.

The Viburnum Garden at Ault Park <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ault Park has always been a focus of Wimberg&rsquo;s charitable contributions, be it materials or labor for nearly 20 years. Recently we added one more area to our list at the park, the Viburnum Garden. Running along the length of the great lawn garden and adjacent to the secondary walk in the Adopt-a-Plots, the Viburnum Garden is a long, incredibly lush, or shall we say overgrown, shade garden.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jennifer Smith a member the the Ault Park Advisory Council (APAC), new leader of the Adopt-a-Plot gardens and horticulturalist with Wimberg Landscaping is heading up the renovation and continued care of this great garden space. The first step in tackling the garden makeover was some much needed pruning and removal of dead, damaged and rubbing limbs within the shrubs. Many shrubs, viburnums included, can be cut back for complete rejuvenation. However, we opted for a slightly restrained approach. We left some of the new shoots and attractive limbs for spring flowering. Once the perennials emerge to add visual interest, more pruning may take place. To completely cut back all of the shrubbery would have been a bit too dramatic and taken away its appeal: a place to take a garden stroll in the cool shade of the Star Magnolias and viburnums while enjoying a variety of shade loving perennials.<br /><br /></span>&ldquo;Simply opening up the viburnums so visitors can see the perennials in the beds will be wonderfully impactful in the garden. Come spring, we&rsquo;ll edit some of the overly repetitive plants and intermingle new perennials that will, we hope, inspire visitors to add new plants into their own gardens,&rdquo; shares Jennifer Smith.<br /><br />In the meantime, as we await the true spring to arrive, not this false winter-spring, we will prune and manicure the shrubs improving the aesthetics of the garden before the first spring bulbs begin to emerge.</p>

Public Gardening <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For close to 20 years Wimberg Landscaping has been gardening in public spaces: most specifically, the Adopt-a-Plot Focal Garden at Ault Park. A local resident, Peter Wimberg finds himself at Ault Park almost daily, and saw a need in the Focal Garden. &ldquo;I believe at that time the park was tending to the Focal Garden, but because it was in the Adopt-a-Plot section, an area designed and maintained by volunteers, they were looking for this garden to be a volunteer space, too,&rdquo; Peter recalls.</span></p>

Winter Aconite: One for the Bees <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you&rsquo;ve been to the gardens lately you may have seen this beauty in bloom in a sunny spot: Winter Aconite (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eranthis</span></em> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">hyemalis). </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even better, you may have seen it covered in honey bees. One of the earliest blooming flowers in our area, winter aconite blooms when the snow drops and witch hazel are in bloom, and before the crocus: perhaps the more familiar sign of spring.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you want to welcome spring to the gardens earlier next year, this little bulb is a sure bet. It&rsquo;s truly a lovely sight to see the cheary, bright yellow blooms poking out from the latest snow cover. It natalizes, desires full sun when in bloom then dappled shade. As the plant slips into late spring dormancy, your overhead plants (shrubs and trees) should begin to leaf out, providing the plant with a bit of shade. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Soil should be organically rich and evenly moist (even in summer, we don&rsquo;t want to bulbs to dry out). It&rsquo;s deer resistant- always a plus in our area and a food source for the honey bees in late winter-early spring. &nbsp;</span></p>

An Easy Climb <p>Work continues on the steps along the Tree Trial at Ault Park. The worn and haphazard steps have been replaced with well-fitted treads of lumber reinforced with recessed rebar. The recent warm weather brought out many park goers who, as they often do, headed to the trails for some hiking.</p>
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Lighting, Safety First <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Exterior lighting is more than a design perk, it&rsquo;s a necessity. There is no reason why anyone should have to arrive home at night, in the dark and not have a clearly illuminated view of where they are walking. Toddlers in tow, groceries in hand, a dog tugging on a leash: you simply have to be able to see where you&rsquo;re walking. <br /><br /></span>Now that we are incorporating more natural elements into the landscape, including rough cut stones for walks and steps, and opting for curved walks and tiered decks and hardscapes, we must match the design complexity with adequate lighting.<br /><br />&ldquo;A natural stone walk and steps winding around a front yard to the home's entrance is gorgeous, but if your guests cannot see these design elements they cannot appreciate them during an evening visit. The design may also become a tripping hazard in the dark,&rdquo; shares Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;Professional lighting not only shows off your landscape&rsquo;s unique features, but will make walking about the space safe and relaxing.&rdquo;<br /><br />From a home security standpoint, having adequate outdoor lighting makes your home less likely to be a victim of a burglary. If you look out your windows and only see dark, or the living room reflected in the window, how can you see unsavory elements skulking about your home?<br /><br />If your home needs additional lighting, call us. We will evaluate your landscape and offer a custom designed plan for your yard.</p>

Your Landscape’s Best Features <p>In the day, when we view a landscape, our eye naturally rests on the focal points: a stone bench, specimen tree, urn or garden vignette. In the evening, these features may be lost. When decorative lighting is incorporated into the landscape design, key features of the landscape are highlighted when the sun sets.</p>
<p>&ldquo;Many of us work away from the home during the day and may not see our landscape until the evening hours, especially in the winter,&rdquo; shares Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;When a landscape is designed for four seasons of enjoyment, the exterior lighting highlights those features so they can be enjoyed on a summer evening or a cold January night.&rdquo;<br /><br />Many homeowners seem to look at lighting as an extra, an indulgence perhaps. You wouldn&rsquo;t decorate a room and not include lighting, so why do this with your exterior living spaces? A landscape with a solid design has features that can be illuminated with professional lighting so to be enjoyed any time of the day. Stone walks and walls, your house number, a tree with exfoliating bark, a large planter with a seasonal display, even the gently curving garden beds can be brought to life with outdoor lighting.</p>
<p>To learn how we can accentuate the best features of your home&rsquo;s landscape, call us today.</p>

Improving the View <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The garden can be a beautiful sight at night. Some flowers bloom in the evening. Walks within formal knot or English boxwood gardens are highlighted with deep evening shadows and magically all the flaws and weeds disappear into the dark. But to enjoy the garden at night you have to be able to see it! <br /><br /></span>&ldquo;The idea is to create a glow in the evening garden. We&rsquo;re not lighting it up like a Friday night football game,&rdquo; jokes Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;We want to add some magic, if you will, to the evening garden. We want to draw out the garden's best features and temp you to come outside for a bit to enjoy the night air.&rdquo;<br /><br />Most homes have two distinct landscapes. The front is more formal. It may have a generous planting of annuals and perennials, but in general it&rsquo;s a bit more restrained. The backyard is another story. The back garden is a private, intimate space where the owner&rsquo;s full garden personality can come to fruition. The lighting in the back should reflect this. If the backyard includes an outdoor dining and cooking space the lighting is chosen to highlight those tasks. In the area dedicated to gardens, the lighting can be softer, just enough to draw you in.<br /><br />&ldquo;In a way, the back of the home often requires more attention when designing a lighting package,&rdquo; Wimberg explains. &ldquo;Many backyards have dual functions- cooking, entertaining, dining and then garden spaces. One lighting plan will not do well for the entire backyard. The lighting must be designed for each specific space to be truly successful. This is when a design professional can be an invaluable resource.&rdquo;<br /><br />If you are missing out on enjoying your landscape at night, call us. We will design a lighting package that suits your backyard beautifully.</p>

Gardens, January and What To Do <p>The rains have arrived and temperatures are a bit warmer than the recent arctic blast. The snow is melting and gardeners are thinking it's time to poke around the gardens a bit. There won't be much to see unless you've planned for very early blooms with Winter Aconite and Witch Hazel. But the pull of the garden, even in late January, is sometimes too strong to resist.&nbsp;<br /><br />This is not the time to walk about the gardens. The soil will be incredibly wet and walking about will only cause damage. What you can do is look and make note of where you wish you could stroll. Perhaps this is the place for a new garden path or a more substantial walkway.<br /><br />Do yo want to sit outside without your chair sinking into the mud? Then you are ready for a patio.<br /><br />Clean the bird feeders and baths, make notes of what your garden is lacking in the throws of winter and then contact us. We will put a garden plan together so you can enjoy your garden to the fullest this time next year.&nbsp;</p>
<p><em>This patio wil be a nice place to enjoy a winter day with a hot cup of coffee.&nbsp;</em></p>

Stepping Up <p dir="ltr">One of the benefits of living in the Hyde Park area is easy access to Ault Park with its events, gardens, play areas and hiking trails. I'm at the park almostly daily, with the dogs and camera in hand, exploring the grounds and hiking the trails. Over the years, the trails have fallen into disrepair. A lot of hikers (a very good things,) weather, mountain bikes (not permitted) and misuse (breaking trail or widening the trail) has left some sections in need of attention.</p>
<p dir="ltr">I'm sure I've taken a few park goers by surprise as I pounded in exposed rebar or cut back brush that was obstructing the trail, but now trail goers will really see some action. Wimberg Landscaping has partnered with the parks to rebuild a large section of steps along the Tree Trail. New lumber and rebar support is being brought deep into the woods to rebuild the steps. Boards that are rotting or greatly askew and exposed rebar is&nbsp;being removed&nbsp;and the steps reset to create a safer, more pleasant hiking experience.</p>
<p dir="ltr">Ault has been a long time recipient of Wimberg&rsquo;s support with trail rehab, the Adopt -a-Plot focal garden and work along the Viburnum Garden. We are happy to give back to this park that gives so much to our community. But, we shouldn't have all the fun! I encourage you to volunteer for a few hours, a season, or join a a park&rsquo;s advisory council for a year. It&rsquo;s a rewarding experience.</p>
<p dir="ltr"><em>Peter Wimberg</em></p>

Plants of Note: Hamamelis virginiana <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hamamelis</span></em> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">virginiana,</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also known as common witch hazel, is an underutilized, native, deciduous tree. Witch hazel has some of the best architectural features of a small tree. In the winter, on days like today, when the garden can feel a bit bleak, this small tree offers great shape, and quite possibly some flowers. This native wonder blooms in December to early spring. Yesterday, when the sun was out and warming the gardens a tad, a few witch hazel buds were starting to open a smidgen and a few were in full bloom: an early siren call of what&rsquo;s to come.<br /><br /></span>Not an overbearing flower by any stretch of the imagination, the witch hazel flower makes you pause and lean in to appreciate it. Some flowers are rather petite, while others are more elaborate and flashy. But even the flashiest witch hazel flower is a demure relation to the over the top blooms of the magnolia and buckeye.<br /><br />You may first notice this tree from afar on a calm, winter day when a haze of color appears on a white or as is often the case, a gray day in the Queen City. A yellow glow, or perhaps burnt orange, brightens the garden, pulling you in to notice hundreds of tiny flowers along the tree&rsquo;s long, slender branches.<br /><br />Its thick, crinkly leaves provide great fall color. The tree is tolerant of clay, is deer resistant and is well suited for full sun (best blooms) to part shade. It&rsquo;s seldom bothered by pests or disease.</p>

Notes From the Garden <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today&rsquo;s <em>Notes From the Garden</em> comes from time spent at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Norwood, Ohio. Mr. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Benjamin</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the head volunteer gardener is responsible for developing and caring for the grounds including two large two interior courtyard gardens. As a volunteer, he unselfishly gives of his time and talents. However, as all gardeners of large spaces know, sometimes the garden chores can become a bit much for one person to handle. An employee of the retreat center is there to assist Mr. Benjamin, but he&rsquo;s often pulled onto other projects within the massive four story structure. At Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Retreat Center everyone learns to and happily wears many hats. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">A few weeks back I had the pleasure of touring the grounds with Mr. Benjamin. With each plant I could see how much he loves what he does, how much work has gone into creating the gardens and that feeling all gardeners have- I wish I could do more.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it was time to work in the gardens, we spent the first two days addressing the more elaborately planted upper courtyard garden. It&rsquo;s a peaceful garden: a place for reflection and prayer. But lately things have been a bit hectic. Power washers have been tending to the walls with a water/bleach mixture to clean the bricks. Their work completed in the lower garden, they soon will be working in the upper garden, making it difficult, if not impossible, to access large parts of the garden. To prepare for their arrival, shrubs and trees had to be trimmed to allow workers access to the walls. Some plants were cut back to minimize their exposure to the washing fluids, and some traditional end of season garden maintenance was tackled as well.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the courtyard gardens in order, we then tackled the leaf litter about the large property. Sometimes you simply need a few men with blowers and a leaf vacuum to make quick&nbsp;work of what would be a very daunting project for one person with a hand rake. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wimberg Landscaping has been supporting local communities via donations of materials and labor for years, most notably Peter Wimberg&rsquo;s work with Ault Park&rsquo;s gardens, arboretum and trail system. These volunteer projects allow the company to give back to the community as well as offer newer employees more time to hone their skills and log more hands-on plant time.</span></p>
<p><em>- Jennifer Smith</em></p>

It Is So Tempting <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It would appear Mother Nature is playing a joke on gardeners. The weather today, near 60 degrees, in January! We&rsquo;ve been taking advantage of this unseasonably warm weather to move forward with pruning and editing in newly acquired gardens. It&rsquo;s a nice feeling, getting out in the gardens on somewhat warm days this time of the year, but it&rsquo;s also a bit unsettling. I see piles of leaves and I want to remove the excess and mulch in the remaining. I want to look for signs of new growth, clean out iris blades and start planting. But, it&rsquo;s January.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As for the leaves. Most of the leaves that fall into your garden can be turned into the soil come spring. This time of the year they amay be providing insulation for new growth and buds close to the ground. It&rsquo;s a bit messy, I know, to see leaves clumped at the base of hydrangeas and other shrubs, but they are serving a purpose. When the cold weather comes, and it surely will, we&rsquo;ll be grateful that we resisted the urge to clean out the insulating leaves.<br /></span><strong><br />Prune!</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">So what do gardeners do in a spring-like January? Prune! If you &nbsp;missed routine pruning in the garden, this may be a good time to get that chore caught up. You may be removing some spring blooms, but if this is a task you tend to let fall to the wayside year after year, chances are you will not get the pruning done after&nbsp;the shrubs bloom. Sometimes a little sacrifice is needed to keep shrubs healthy and in good form. Look for damaged, rubbing, crossing and diseased limbs. <br /><br /></span><strong>For the Birds</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clean and refill bird feeders, clean out spent seeds under feeders and clean and fill birdbaths.<br /><br /></span><strong>Clean &amp; Sharpen</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are caught up on pruning, resist the urge to cut for the sake of doing a garden task. Now&rsquo;s a good time to clean and sharpen your tools. It&rsquo;s not an enjoyable task, I know, but being able to do it outside on a warm January day is pretty nice.<br /></span><strong><br />Take Stock<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">I know I say this a lot, but one can never study the garden too much. Is your garden interesting this time of the year? Do you have winter interest? Was your winter interest too fragile and has bent or fallen in earlier harsh weather? Do you have winter interest that can withstand snow and ice, like holly, red twig dogwoods and&nbsp;decorative stone elements?<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Start Planning &nbsp;</strong><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Schedule an appointment with a design professional to evaluate your landscape and develop a design action plan. With this warm weather, we are planting trees and shrubs as well as installing irrigation and hardscape features. If you start now, you will be able to take advantage of this unseasonably warm weather and get a jump start on the spring and summer planting. </span></p>

Five Garden Resolutions for 2019 <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eat fewer cookies, drink more water and log more miles on the walking track. We have our traditional New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions, but what about garden resolutions? Here are five garden resolutions you should make this year!<br /></span></p>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Try something new in the garden. This is the year to experiment and push your garden knowledge. Try some new plants, and we don't mean a different variety of coneflower. We mean go all out. If you&rsquo;re a succulent gardener, try planting a butterfly garden. If you enjoy dry, sun gardening, add a small pond with plants.<br /><br /></li>
<li>Build Structure. You&rsquo;ve had all winter to study your garden and you know where it needs structure or garden bones. Dry stacked walls, arbors, benches, a massive stone urn or a dry creek bed: all these elements contribute to the strength of the garden's design from the peak of summer to the darkest days of winter.</li>
<li>Mulch Reduction. Reduce your visible mulch by half. If this isn't a good reason to buy more plants I don't know what is. We say it often, your garden should be a collection of plants, not a mulch display. You&rsquo;ll have more fun investing in plants, they give us more beauty to enjoy and over time you may find you need very little, if any, mulch.<br /><br /></li>
<li>Add Lighting. Professional lighting can highlight a particularly attractive tree, light a stone walk, show your house number and of course make a home more warm and inviting in the the winter and on stormy summer nights.<br /><br /></li>
<li>Consult with a Professional. Even if you&rsquo;re an avid gardener, consulting with another who shares your passion can only be beneficial. Discuss best plant care practices, see your garden&rsquo;s design from a professional&rsquo;s point of view (she may have some fine ideas for your landscape) and learn if some of the more labor intensive chores you tackle could be turned over to a professional. Hint: They can!</li>

Three ‘Red’ Reasons to Ditch Your Honeysuckle <p>Looking out in the landscape, things can be a bit dreary. It&rsquo;s winter in Cincinnati and gray seems to be the dominant color most days. Instead of giving an invasive, unattractive plant like honeysuckle valuable space in your garden, try these three shrubs with pops of red instead.<br /><br /><strong>Holly</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">: Be it a tree or shrub (above), the beauty of the Holly&rsquo;s waxy green leaves and bright red berries can&rsquo;t be beat. True, they&rsquo;re a bit wicked to garden around with those pointy leaves, but the chance of a poke now and again is worth it.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /></span></p>

Winter Watering <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We may have cleared your irrigation lines, but that doesn't mean our watering is on hold until spring. While many perennials and grasses have gone dormant for the season, or are swiftly on their way, evergreens continue to lose water through transpiration. Evergreens need to remain watered until the ground is frozen. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Newly planted trees and shrubs that retain their needles need to have access to water. The last thing we want is for evergreens, especially those that have been recently planted, to go into winter stressed and dehydrated. <br /><br /></span>And, as with just about everything in landscaping, if a little is good, more isn't necessarily better. While we want our evergreens watered, we don't want to swamp them. Wet feet, AKA roots, anytime of the season is never a good thing. Ensure the soil, the top foot or so is moist, not soggy.<br /><br />Take special care of container plants, especially those close to the home that may receive more heat than the general landscape. Until the soil is frozen, keep your pots watered. If your containers are not frost proof, now is a good time to clean them out, if planted with annuals. Or, bring them indoors or insulate them for winter protection. It&rsquo;s never fun to start your spring gardening only to find frost damaged pots.</p>
<p><br /><br /><br /></p>

Leave Them Be <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This may sound strange coming from a member of our maintenance team, but if you can, leave those plants up for a while yet. We can always come early spring or mid-winter if needed, to cut back the spent perennials- more specifically, the seed heads. <br /><br /></span>Despite the recent foul-weather, I&rsquo;m seeing a lot of seed heads still intact and bearing fruit. For the birds and other wildlife, these little pockets of seeds are lifesaving. And for the gardener, many spent flowers are quite attractive in the late fall and winter garden. When designing a new garden or adding plants to an existing landscape, I try to include a few plants that will winter well. Short grasses that are less apt to flop with winter winds, and perennials with interesting seed heads like flag iris, yuccas and coneflowers are usually on my list. I often let my park gardens go a bit wild this time of year. The leaf litter and spent perennial foliage is shelter for small animals and may provide a place to scavenge for seeds and small insects on warmer days. <br /><br />Gardening for wildlife and having a more natural winter garden doesn't mean the yard has to be a complete mess, far from it. A garden designed for winter interest and wildlife can look quite controlled and tidy. Well-manicured understory trees and shrubs and a sharp edge on the garden beds helps to keep a somewhat natural garden from looking too unruly. Another tip: plant in large groups or swathes. A band of coneflowers left to seed looks intentional. Rogue coneflower heads popping up here and there about the garden starts to look more unkempt.</p>

Hellebore Love <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It&rsquo;s cold, the ground is frozen and snow is still resting in shaded nooks in the garden. Yet, with all Mother Nature has sent our way the last few weeks, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebores </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">are looking quite fine in the garden. Perhaps one of the most indispensable shade gardening plants, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebores </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">have the lovely ability to look good virtually all year long. When their flowers, sometimes a bit tricky to see when not on bended knee, emerge in the early spring, gardeners breathe a sigh of relief. The arrival of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebore </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">flowers means spring is certainly on its way. In the summer, the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebores&rsquo; </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">thick foliage remains clean and tidy and remains so into fall and winter. The same thick foliage, sometimes featuring exaggerate serration around the margins, stands up in the fall leaf litter and snow as if nothing has happened and it&rsquo;s still summer in the gardens. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We say it often, strive for more plants than mulch in your gardens. If you have a large shade garden and want a bit of uniformity in areas without relying on mulch, try </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebores</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. A mass planting or a gently curve band will cover a lot of garden space, add year-round foliage to the garden and they&rsquo;re very easy to care for. &nbsp;The flower variety is quite enticing, too. Should you become a collector of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hellebores</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, you will not run out of must-have varieties to add to your collection.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We like them paired with </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hakonechloa</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hypericum</span></em> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">calycinum </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">and of course hostas and ferns. </span></p>

Wimberg Landscaping Receives Consumers’ Choice Award for Fifth Year in a Row <p>Wimberg Landscaping<br /><span style="font-weight: 400;">November 6, 2018<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">5401 Hetzell Ave<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cincinnati, Ohio 45227</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The results of the 2018 Consumers&rsquo; Choice Award are in and Wimberg Landscaping was voted Best Landscaping Company in Cincinnati. This is the fifth year in a row that the Cincinnati landscaping firm, founded by Peter Wimberg over 38 years ago, has received this prestigious award. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">More than 15,000 Cincinnati residents were asked to vote for their favorite businesses based on customer satisfaction in numerous categories including home improvement-landscaping. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">For more than 25 years the Consumers&rsquo; Choice Award has been considered a business seal of excellence. For recipients, the award not only constitutes the crowning achievement of their efforts, but also represents the knowledge that they have earned the trust and loyalty of consumers.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;It makes us exceedingly proud to be the recipients of the Consumers&rsquo; Choice Award once again,&rdquo; shares Wimberg Landscaping founder and president, Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;We have a passion for what we do and that continues to translate to quality work and excellent customer satisfaction. This award is a fine testament to the driving force behind our continued growth over the years: customer referrals.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since its inception,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Wimberg Landscaping has grown from two employees and a truck to over 45 employees and 30 trucks. Wimberg Landscaping designs, builds and installs with pride and integrity. The company employs landscape designers, horticulturalists and craftsmen who bring creativity and professionalism to every project. Wimberg Landscaping provides master plans, creative designs and professional project management to clients throughout the greater Cincinnati area. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The firm offers a full array of landscape maintenance services from lawn care and treatment, leaf and snow removal and routine garden bed and landscape maintenance. Wimberg Landscaping maintenance programs offer weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or seasonal options. Wimberg&rsquo;s designers tailor a comprehensive program to meet the needs of their clients&rsquo; landscapes. The company's Ohio Certified Landscape Technicians teams control weeds, insects and disease and properly prune shrubs and ornamentals with an emphasis on hand pruning. The professional service provided by Wimberg&rsquo;s knowledgeable team maximizes the beauty and health of the landscapes that are entrusted to them.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For more information on Wimberg Landscaping and the services they offer, please call 513.271.2332</span></p>

Fall Color <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in the gardens. Between berries, deciduous trees transitioning to their fall colors, perennials in fall bloom and grasses showing off autumn hues, our gardens should really shine.<br /><br /></span>Do you see fresh, new fall colors in your garden? If your garden is lacking the appeal of the autumn season we have some tips for you.</p>

Rainy Day Garden Tasks <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trowel-in-hand gardening is off the table today, but there are still garden tasks to distract us on this rather rainy day. &nbsp;</span></p>

Why Late Fall is a Great Time to Meet your Landscape Designer <p>&nbsp;<strong>See What&rsquo;s Missing<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;&lsquo;But nothing is blooming. How can we plan the new garden now?&rsquo; that is a question I hear when I promote meeting with a designer in the late fall and winter,&rdquo; shares Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;Truth is, flowers are the final touch in the garden&rsquo;s over-all design. The most important elements for a successful landscape are the hardscapes, trees and shrubs as well as the shape and size of the garden beds.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span>This time of year is ideal for seeing what is lacking in the landscape. Does the garden have focal points? Do the garden beds complement the home and offer ample room for planting? Do trees and shrubs add winter interest or is the landscape unforgettable? Lighting is also key. When the days are dark, it&rsquo;s a wonderful feeling to arrive home after work to a landscape accentuated with lighting.<br /><br /><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;Once we see how the structure of the new landscape will develop with hardscapes, trees and shrubs, we then look at how perennials, and some annuals, can complete the garden's need for a variety of colors, textures and shapes,&rdquo; Peter reveals. </span></p>

November Tree & Shrub Care <p>Don&rsquo;t put those garden tools away just yet. There&rsquo;s still much to do in the landscape when it comes to tree and shrub care.</p>
<p><strong>Relocate</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Volunteers are great, but Mother Nature doesn&rsquo;t always place the young trees in the best location. Now&rsquo;s a good time relocate desirable trees. </span></p>
<p><strong>Fill in the Blank<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">All the voids in the garden become quite obvious when the perennials have gone to rest and the annuals are pulled. Take this time to address areas that would benefit from a new tree or shrub. If the ground isn&rsquo;t frozen, we can plant!</span></p>
<p><strong>Feed Them Well<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trees continue to grow roots in the winter. Now is a good time to supplement their nutrition with deep root feeding.</span></p>
<p><strong>Trimming &amp; Pruning<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">We stress this often because it&rsquo;s that important. Rubbing branches need to be thinned out as do broken and damaged branches. Water sprouts should be removed. Then we look at the aesthetics of the plant. Is the canopy too dense and tight? Is the architecture of the plant noticeable or is it a jumble of branches? Are branches touching or getting too close to structures? </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;Tree and shrub pruning is more than making a plant look good, which is quite important, it&rsquo;s also about keeping a plant healthy and in good relationship with the rest of the landscape. It&rsquo;s a task that should never be overlooked,&rdquo; Peter stresses. </span></p>

Perfect Pairings <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;Once you get past the notion that plants have to be spaced several inches apart with rings of mulch around them, the possibility for great garden design opens up,&rdquo; Peter Wimberg shares. &ldquo;Take a walk in a prairie or the woods and you will see colonies of plants living in very close quarters to each other. Mark off a square foot or two and count the number of plants living in that space: it&rsquo;s incredible how many plants nature fits into a square foot.&rdquo;<br /></span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do we design and plant gardens that dense? At times, when the client allows us. More so, though, we are working with homeowners to see the benefits of minimizing their mulch and adding more plants. &ldquo;I find thickly planted gardens to be more forgiving and therefore less maintenance,&rdquo; Jennifer Smith shares. &ldquo;With a formal design, which I do admire quite a bit, when one plant fails, the entire design is off and the flaw is immediately noticed. In my densely planted gardens, if a plant fails, is devoured by insects or simply grows old, the other plants are there to fill the void and hide the deficit.&rdquo;</span></p>

Five Late Season Showstoppers <p>There are some plants that arrive a little late to the garden party. They go unnoticed during the spring awakening and the summer show of flowers often has them overlooked. But come fall these plants remind us, with splendid colors, why we&rsquo;re so eager to add them to the landscape.<br /><br /><strong>Beautyberry</strong><br />Bejeweled in purple berries, this often photographed garden plant really keeps to itself during the season. Come fall, though, its berries are true showstoppers.<br /><br /><strong>Mexican bush sage</strong><br />The first year I added this to my garden I wondered why I had devoted real estate to this plant. Then it reminded me with a tremendous show of purple and white fuzzy flowers on tall stems why it deserves its spot in the landscape. The colors are perfection against the golds and light browns of the trees&rsquo; fall foliage. Have patience with this annual, friends. It&rsquo;s a late bloomer and worthy of every inch of garden space we allow it.<br /><br /><strong>Muhly grass</strong><br />I don't even notice this in our summer sun garden. The butterfly weed, lamb&rsquo;s ears, coneflowers and rattlesnake master are grabbing all the attention. Then, when the temperatures start to fall, this demure grass takes on a whole new persona with bright pink foliage that glows in the garden.<br /><br /><strong>Japanese toad lily</strong><br />This is the main reason why I continue to use deer repellant late into the season. I don't care much if the hostas are eaten now, but I can&rsquo;t bear to think of losing my Japanese toad lilies. Mixed with traditional fall colors, the purple of these little flowers is the perfect complement to the autumn garde</p>
<p><strong>Verbena bonariensis</strong><br />I will admit, this one is a bit of a cheat because I find it invaluable all season long. Verbena bonariensis is one of the first plants I acquire each spring to ensure I have ample plants in my garden. They do re-seed, but I don't want to risk not having a full stand. This annual looks great with just about any summer, full-sun plant. In the fall, when grasses are taking center stage, it pairs expertly. Little pops of purple are perfect against the golds and tans of late summer and fall grasses.</p>
<p>If your garden is in need of a little infusion of fall color and fun, call us. We can recommend plants that will perk up your autumn garden.</p>

Ten Plants That Have to Go! <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Selecting only ten plants to remove from the home landscape is no small task. There are some plants that are invasive and should be removed without hesitation. Then there are plants that are very aggressive, but may have a place in the landscape. These we plant and maintain with extra care. &nbsp;And of course there are the &ldquo;</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">why did I plant this?&rdquo;</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> plants. These are plants that may be beautiful, but have a tendency to be aggressive, especially in tight spaces or simply require too much care.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Honeysuckle</strong> <br />This shrub is pervasive in the Cincinnati landscape. We often find it at the back of the property, along fence lines, tucked behind the garage and in some cases featured in the landscape, limbed up and shaped like an ornamental tree. Our designers can suggest a slew of more desirable alternatives from arborvitae to viburnums and spring-flowering understory trees like dogwoods. There is a better alternative out there!<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Poison Ivy</strong> <br />This is more than a nuisance plant, it&rsquo;s a dangerous plant. Some people claim not to be affected by its oil. Others, like yours truly, will find herself at the doctor's office if she touches it. You will find it growing along property lines, fences, abutting sidewalks, climbing garages and trees- it&rsquo;s a plant that needs to be dealt with. Many professionals will spray the ivy and return the following year to remove it. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Thistle</strong> <br />You can pull it to your heart&rsquo;s content, but chances are you will repeat the struggle within a week or two. Some plants need more than muscle power to eradicate it. Prolific plants, that are left to flower and seed, will not only wreak havoc on your landscape, but your neighbor&rsquo;s landscape as well.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>English Ivy</strong>, Sometimes!<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If it&rsquo;s growing up your tree, it must be dealt with. This is a plant that can do great harm if it escapes the landscape. However, it only flowers and fruits when it grows vertically. Preventing it from climbing as well as escaping its intended garden bed will help to keep it in check. This is a plant that should be grown responsibly. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Euonymus</strong> <br />Ditto as above. A great ground cover, tough as nails and vigorous makes it ideal for tricky landscape sites. But this plant should also be treated with respect. If it has started to climb trees or is escaping its intended location, it should be dealt with immediately.<br /> <br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Callery Pear</strong> <br />The Callery pear was recently added to Ohio&rsquo;s list of invasive plants, even if this tree wasn&rsquo;t taking over the native plant areas, we ask, why pick this tree? There are far more suitable and attractive trees for the Cincinnati landscape. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Northern Sea Oats</strong> <br />Native to the Eastern United States this vigorous grower is quite adaptable. Perhaps too adaptable. It&rsquo;s beautiful. It does have great winter interest, but it will take over the garden. If you are an avid gardener or have professionals tending to your landscape, it may not be an issue. If you are a </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">plant and let it be </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">type of gardener, your garden may be this grass, and this grass only down the road. Plant with caution. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Ostrich Fern</strong>&nbsp;<br />Most homeowners don't know where those ferns came from, maybe grandma? But the ferns are spreading quickly and are difficult to keep in check. Some ferns are aggressive, and this can be great: in the right situation. But if you desire a lush shade garden and prefer a more diverse plant selection we can recommend several well-behaved ferns that will not take over the garden. <br /><br /></span><strong>Chameleon Plant </strong><em><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>(Houttuynia cordata)</strong><br /></span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are few plants I loathe and this is one. Missouri Botanical Garden warns it, &ldquo;spreads indefinitely and often vigorously by rhizomes.&rdquo; It recommends having a building (a building!) or a sidewalk to stop it&rsquo;s expansion. It&rsquo;s beautiful in photos, but once it takes over, you will find its beauty quickly fades. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>General Garden Weeds</strong><br /> A simple reminder that now is not the time to cut back on weeding. If the temperatures are mild, weeds will carry on. Gardens are easiest to care for when weeds are addressed on a regular basis and not left to run rampant. Proper mulching will help keep weeds at bay. Our favorite method though is to plant more plants. We would rather see more plants than mulch!</span></p>

Rather Than Knock Outs Plant These <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Knock Out rose shot to fame and it&rsquo;s star continued to shine for many years. It seems like there is not a commercial property or new home landscape that doesn't feature this rose. Even avid gardeners were finding room for a Knock Out. And why not? It was promised to be easy to grow, long-lived, ever blooming and resistant to deer, pests and diseases. And it didn't fail to hold up to its promise. <br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">But then we saw it everywhere. And seeing the same plant in every garden gets a bit tired. Instead of adding another Knock Out, what about these alternatives favored by our designers?<br /><br /></span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Caryopteris</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">: Easy to grow in full sun this blooming shrub offers blue flowers from mid-summer to late fall. It&rsquo;s great as a cut flower, but we want to leave the flowers as is for they attract butterflies and hummingbirds.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dwarf Crepe Myrtle: This slow growing shrub tops out at five feet. It&rsquo;s compact form makes it easy to incorporate into the landscape. It prefers full sun and requires less watering once established.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Twist and Shout Hydrangea: A lot of struggling roses were perhaps in full sun when they were planted, but then the &nbsp;garden morphed into a bit of shade. If this is the case in your landscape, Twist and Shout is a wonderful option to the rose. They bloom late spring into fall on old and new wood alike. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mix and Match: Baptisia has gorgeous blooms in the spring ranging from yellow, indigo and smokey purple. In the fall, the seed heads dry and sound like rattles. To hide their somewhat naked legs, underplant with lantanas, also available in every color imaginable. In the space once allocated to one plant, you now have two plants working together to add color and unique textures to the garden all season long. </span></p>
<p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amsonia Hubrictii</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Bluestar: Very few plants offer the same soft, feathery quality of amsonia with blue flowers in early spring and then finishing the season with a brilliant display of orange-yellow foliage. Instead of a plant that is unwavering in appearance from spring to fall, opt for one that transitions to give the garden a new, fresh look season-to-season. </span></p>

Planting Walls <p>&ldquo;When I walk by those awkward, little slopes along a home&rsquo;s sidewalk I can't help but think about how wonderful it would look with an outcropping boulder wall with landscape pockets. This type of wall really finishes off a front yard, because it looks intentional, but not overly done,&rdquo; Natalie Selker confesses.<br /><br />&ldquo;Leveling the yard and finishing it with a stone wall, and room for plants at the base along the sidewalk is a great option. But, when your client is a gardener and is asking for more room to add plants, this type of &ldquo;planting wall&rdquo; is the perfect solution,&rdquo; Selker shares.<br /><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span>Large stones or outcropping boulders are staggered and set apart to create planting pockets of all sizes. The size of the stones and planting space is determined in part by the size of the yard- it&rsquo;s depth as well as it&rsquo;s sidewalk footage. &ldquo;We want to keep everything in proportion with the rest of the yard and the home,&rdquo; Selker&nbsp;explains.<br /><br />In most of the landscapes Selker designs, squared off stones are a better fit than the tumbled boulders. &ldquo;I like how the edges of the cut stones makes for a tidier look and it&rsquo;s easier to keep soil and mulch in place. It also matches when a wall is adjoining another linear form, like a sidewalk.&rdquo; Selker explains.<br /><br />To successfully finish an outcropping planting wall, equal attention is given to plant selection. A mixture of annuals, perennials and, if space permits, small shrubs ensures the garden wall will enhance the landscape year-round.</p>
<p>If your landscape would benefit from a new wall, with room to plant, call us today to schedule an appointment.</p>

Potted To Perfection <p>If your container gardens are showing the strain of the summer, worry not. We have tips for breathing new life into your potted gardens.</p>
<p>Loosen the soil. Water your container until water drains out the bottom. Now take your finger and dig down a bit. Is the soil hard and dry? After months of watering even loose potting soil can get compacted. When the soil dries and pulls away for the container&rsquo;s wall, the water simply drains down the sides, leaving the soil dry and the plants stressed. Loosen the soil with your fingers, a knife, small trowel- anything to break it apart so water will soak into the soil.</p>
<p>Spent plants. Some summer annuals are looking a bit haggard. All they need is a good trim and some nourishment. I like to trim back summer annuals, especially trailing varieties and give them a good dose of nutrition. Typically, within a week, I see the plants green up and new flowers emerging.</p>
<p>Are your annuals too far gone or are you just tired of looking at them? Pull the weak plants, save the healthy ones in the containers and replace with new fall inspired plants like pansies, cabbages and ornament kale.</p>

Flawed Opportunity <p>It&rsquo;s often difficult to see beyond our landscape&rsquo;s flaws and obstacles. And, if you are not a seasoned gardener or landscape designer, those flaws can feel insurmountable.<br /><br /><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;We seldom come across an issue with a homeowner&rsquo;s landscape that cannot be addressed with good design,&rdquo; Peter Wimberg shares. &ldquo;We recently worked in a backyard with drainage issues. It wasn&rsquo;t draining causing stands of water. To rectify the situation we installed a drain and created a very attractive dry creek bed. When it&rsquo;s dry, the stones are a great visual interest in the yard and when the rains come, the stones direct water to the newly installed drain.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span>A common issue with yards in this area is a steep hillside. They're often difficult to plant, dangerous to mow and look rather harsh and unattractive. A stone wall is often the remedy. Walls can be straightforward and practical, or they can be thoughtfully designed with large boulders or stone slabs set to maintain the integrity of the hillside while offering unique planting areas within the structure itself.<br /><br />&ldquo;What we don&rsquo;t want is for homeowners to give up on their landscape and accept that it will never be what they want it to become,&rdquo; Peter stresses. &ldquo;Our designers see beyond the flaws to create the landscapes of our clients&rsquo; dreams.&rdquo;</p>

On the Move: Prepping Your Landscape for Curb Appeal <p>When clients call us saying they are putting their home on the market, we switch gears a bit and look at the landscape from the perspective of the potential buyers.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;There is no way to know if the prospective buyer is a gardener or not. Adding a unique variety of a plant may not be the best investment in the landscape at this point,&rdquo; shares Peter Wimberg. &ldquo;We need to look at the landscape as a gardener, non-gardener, seasoned home buyer and a first-time home buyer would look at the landscape.&rdquo; Does this sound overwhelming? Really, it&rsquo;s not Peter reassures.<br /><br /><strong>Clean and Tight</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &nbsp;A landscape with clean lines, fresh mulch and hardscapes free of encroaching groundcover and lawn looks tidy and well maintained. It shows buyers the landscape has been cared for.<br /><br /></span><strong>Ditch the Old and Worn</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &nbsp;An old, declining, overgrown taxus blocking a window is less than inviting. It blocks the view of the home and the view from within the home. When buyers see diseased, damaged or failing plant material, they see work they have to take on, added expenses and they most certainly worry that other aspects of the house are in decline as well.<br /><br /></span><strong>Keep It Simple</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &nbsp;Now is not the time to expand and add new garden beds. Instead, ensure existing beds are clean, void of weeds and weak plants and that the area is well planted. It doesn't have to be a compact Piet Ouldolf style garden, but it should be attractive and full of color and texture.<br /><br /></span><strong>Safe and Sound</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Loose, wobbly, cracked and missing pavers are not only a tripping hazard, they conjure thoughts of repair work for the new homeowner.<br /> <br /></span><strong>Eliminate the Unknown </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;&ldquo;Most buyers don&rsquo;t know the cost of removing a dying tree, repairing a caving wall or replacing a dilapidated fence,&rdquo; Peter shares. &ldquo;They may assume such projects are beyond their budget or not want to deal with the problem and simply look past your house and onto the next available home. Don&rsquo;t give potential buyers an excuse to drive by your home.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span><strong>Pops of Color</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> In the listing photos, and in person, we want to draw the eye to the home&rsquo;s front door. Freshen up container gardens and annuals in the front yard. Splashes of color are inviting, draw us in and create a welcoming environment.<br /><br /></span><strong>Mow the Lawn </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">So simple, so important. &ldquo;Nothing says, &lsquo;I gave up&rsquo; or &lsquo;vacant home&rsquo; like a weedy, overgrown lawn,&rdquo; Peter insists. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You have a lot on your plate while you&rsquo;re prepping your home for sale. Let us handle the landscape so you can focus on the home&rsquo;s interior. </span></p>

Oh Deer, the Struggle is Real <p>All gardeners have one struggle in common- foraging deer. I was on a sidestreet around the corner from Mount Lookout Square when I came across a lovely deer family- dad, mom and two fawns happily munching their way along the street<br />So what do we do? Ditch the trowels and send up the white flag? No! There are ways to deter the deer and keep gardening a joy, not a struggle. Here are four things you can do to keep your garden safe.<br /><strong>1. Smarter Plant Selection!</strong> Garden with plants that are fuzzy, prickly, heavily scented (lavender, alliums, sage) or have a coarse texture. Deer don't like the pricklies any more than we do. Heavy scents are offensive to deer. Because they seek out food with their noses, if the odor is too strong, the deer are less apt to enter the garden. Does this mean hostas are out? No. I like to add a lot of hellebores, pulmonarias and ferns in the shade garden. These plants are not enticing to the deer, and they help to shield the hostas from nibbling deer.<br /><strong>2. Repellents.</strong> The trick is, be it a homemade concoction or store bought, you must be consistent.<br /><strong>3.Fence it off.</strong> Deer are fabulous athletes and can jump a fence with ease (I&rsquo;ve seen them), but they seem to be a tad lazy, too. So, if they can walk around a fence to an unobstructed garden, they will.<br /><strong>4. Cut back on the temptations.</strong> If you garden with a lot of plants that deer desire, incorporate those plants towards the center of the garden or close to the house rather than the perimeter. Don&rsquo;t feed the birds in the summer. Deer are drawn to bird feeders. Nature and your thoughtfully selected plants will provide for the birds in the summer.</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Give us a call to learn which deer-resistant plants would incorporate well into your garden.</span></p>

Small Change, Big Impact <p>The entrance to this front door is a walkway between the home and extended garage, a common design feature of homes in our area. While this entrance space is wide, similar entrances can be quite narrow and when the little space that's left for landscaping is planted, it can start to feel a bit confined.</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The owners of this residence said the shrubs that were in the landscape for years had become overgrown and were making their generous entrance feel claustrophobic. The oversized shrubbery was obstructing the view of the front door (unattractive and a safety concern) and focal points or areas of interest were also lacking. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some simple editing opened</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">up the design nicely. The fountain was brought forward to create a nice focal point at the beginning of the entrance and smaller shrubs, in scale with the surrounding space, were added.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now this home has an entrance that is inviting with a generous feeling of space. </span></p>

Creating a Blissful Summer Garden <p>Summer doesn't have to be a time of toil and struggle in the garden. It all comes down to careful planning. We share seven tips to create a garden that is bliss, even in the heat of the summer.</p>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zoned Irrigation. Relaxing in the summer garden certainly doesn&rsquo;t mean skimping on the watering. When feasible, a professionally installed irrigation system is the best option. The system is comprised of several zones so each area of the landscape receives exactly the amount of water it needs: no more, no less. Without adequate watering, summer can be a death sentence for a lot of our landscape plants, especially those that were installed earlier in the season. In the garden, watering is not a luxury, it&rsquo;s a necessity. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stashing Hoses. The second reason we fail to water is the hassle of hauling around hoses. When your garden is densely planted, you can easily stash hoses in the beds. When it&rsquo;s time to water, just attach your sprinkler head. If your garden is lush enough, sprinklers can be stashed in the garden, too. The easier it is to get the water to where it needs to be, the more apt you are to water. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">No More Thumbing It! If you water by hand, and I often do, using your thumb at the end of the hose is fine, for about an hour. One of my best investments was a high quality watering wand. I can pinpoint where I place the water in the garden without stepping into the garden. I can hold the wand to the plant&rsquo;s base if I don't want to soak the leaves and I&rsquo;m never tempted to cut the watering period short. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Great Soil and Mulch. Around my water-loving plants I have amended the soil well. As a result, the water reaches deep into the soil, encouraging the roots to grow deep where lack of rain is less of a threat to the plants&rsquo; health. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fluff the Mulch. I bring this up again because it&rsquo;s so important. If your mulch is hard and compacted, rain has difficulty getting to the soil. Fluffing the mulch ensures the water penetrates to the soil.</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Proper Spring Prep. If your new plants were installed improperly (root balls exposed, damaged branches and limbs not removed, lack of watering&hellip;), they&rsquo;re going into August already enduring a few months of stress. The stronger your plants are, the better able they will handle the stress of our hottest month. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stop Deadheading. &nbsp;Select plants that are beneficial to the garden even after they bloom. Coneflowers are great for nectar and for seeds, so there's no need to deadhead them in the hot days of summer. Plants that offer winter interest and/or are beneficial to the wildlife don&rsquo;t need us to tinker with them when they are done blooming. Less work means more time to enjoy the gardens. </span></li>

Reading the Mulch <p>After a hard rain, or several days of storms like we recently experienced, I like to examine the mulch to see what needs to be done in the gardens, right now.</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Is the mulch too tight?</strong> I loosen the mulch to ensure there&rsquo;s excellent water and air circulation.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Missing mulch?</strong> Was the mulch too lightweight for the application site? I adore pinefines, but they are apt to wash away on a slope during the rain. A heavier mulch or pinestraw would be a better option on a slope.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Gullies.</strong> Even the best mulch can&rsquo;t hold back a torrent of water. Sometimes river rock is a better option. It&rsquo;s far less likely to wash away, it prevents soil erosion, and when installed professionally, and with some thought, it can be a nice design element in the garden.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Too Much of a Good Thing?</strong> Mulch is great, but if you are looking at your mulch after the rains and see far more mulch than plants, then it&rsquo;s too much. It&rsquo;s time to shift gears and invest in more plants. Ideally a garden should have a generous planting of plants and minimal mulch.</span></p>

Garden Delegation <p>I&rsquo;ve been gardening for around 20 years doing it all myself. I&rsquo;ve dug ponds, mowed, edged, built raised beds; you name it, I&rsquo;ve tackled it. When I started working with professional gardeners at the parks and now with Wimberg Landscaping, I saw that, sometimes, bringing in an expert with the skill, tools, and let&rsquo;s be honest here, strength, to tackle the bigger garden chores isn&rsquo;t such a bad idea. Here are a few tasks that even the most experienced, dedicated gardeners are happy to turn over to us.</p>
<p><strong>Mowing</strong>&nbsp; The time spent mowing could be spent working in the flower beds.</p>
<p><strong>Leaf Removal</strong>&nbsp; Some properties have gorgeous stands of trees which equates to a seemingly endless supply of freshly fallen leaves come autumn.</p>
<p><strong>Bed Installation</strong> You could spend a weekend or two picking up load after load of fresh soil to build a new garden bed, or you can call us to deliver, install and prep a new bed in hours. The sooner the new garden bed is in, the sooner you can plant!</p>
<p><strong>Planting Larger Trees and Shrubs</strong>&nbsp; Handling large plant materials, like trees, can do harm to your vehicle, yourself and the tree. We can source the best quality trees and shrubs and install them for you.</p>
<p><strong>Groundcover Care</strong>&nbsp; Well manicured ground cover takes a lot of work: edging, trimming rogue stems and keeping it free of weeds. It&rsquo;s not a difficult task, but it can be a tedious task.</p>
<p><strong>Hardscape Installation</strong>&nbsp; The DYI shows may have you thinking a stone walk, patio or small wall is an easy weekend project. In truth, there are those trained specifically in working in hardscapes: professionals who can evaluate the site, design the best plan for the project, source the best materials and install the job so it lasts and looks great.</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are ready to delegate some of your landscaping chores, give us a call, we would love to work with you!</span></p>

Being Smart About Water-Wise Plants <p>&nbsp;<span style="font-weight: 400;">I love it when I hear gardeners say they are introducing new plants in their gardens. There are simply too many fantastic plants not to try new additions each year. However, as with any new addition to the garden, we have to be smart about what we add and especially where we add it in the landscape.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Squeezing In</strong><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tucking drought tolerant plants in with an established bed of thirsty plants is a big chore waiting to happen. The thirsty plants will need their watering levels maintained, but care will have to be taken not to over-water the new plants. Watering the entire bed at once, as with a sprinkler, will no longer be an option.<br /><br /></span><strong>Soil</strong><br /><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many drought tolerant plants I use prefer less than ideal soils that are well draining. If the soil is too organically rich they may become leggy and flop.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Make A New Bed</strong><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If your garden bed is small and you don't mind spot watering your thirsty plants, adding water-wise plants with the same sun requirements may be an option. But, speaking from experience, hand-watering is fun: up to a point. I prefer to err on the side of caution and create a new bed for my drought tolerant plant collection. Now I can crank up the sprinklers in the existing beds and not worry about over watering my new plants.</span></p>
<p>Do you want to create a new landscape or update your existing&nbsp;gardens? Give us a call to schedule a consultation, today.&nbsp; 271-2332&nbsp;</p>

Three Hardscape Elements to Add Now <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The addition of a stone element to your landscape is one of the best ways to add value, a permanent design feature and update your yard. Hardscapes can be as simple as a small stone stoop outside a kitchen door to an extensive outdoor kitchen with fireplace. We share three hardscape options that will work well in just about any landscape.</span></p>
<p><strong>Rethinking the Retaining Wall<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding an old, stone retaining wall in a landscape is not that uncommon in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, many of the stone walls we encounter are no longer stable and are in need of repair. Refurbishing the wall to maintain its original character is one option. You can also use this opportunity create something with an entirely new look. Thoughtfully positioned large stones retain the soil while creating unique planting areas. (See image, above.)<br /><br /></span><strong>Stepping Out<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stepping stones are fine, but often a tripping hazard and they never stay where they are placed for long. If an access path is required within a bed, a chipped stone or even a mulched path is best. For paths that transition visitors from one area of the landscape to another, a smooth, solid surface is far more preferable to stepping stones. When stepping stones are preferred, professionally installed stones are the best. We grade the stones with the lawn, gravel bed or ground cover to create a path that is even, secure and spaced to accommodate most walkers' gate. "Dropping a few pre-fabbed pavers on the ground does not a good garden path make," Peter Wimberg shares. "They diminish the look of the garden, create a tripping hazard and add nothing of design value to the landscape."<br /><br /></span><strong>Sitting Pretty</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><span style="font-weight: 400;">Patios and porches are great, but what about a paver sitting area tucked within the garden? A shade garden in the back of the yard, a bit removed from the house, creates a space for escape and relaxation. A paved surface, offers a stable base for a lounge chair, outdoor reading lamp and end table. "The stone of the new sitting area is also a new design element in the landscape- adding new texture, colors and winter interest," Peter explains. </span></p>

Wait? I still have to water? <p>It must be summer because I&rsquo;m writing about watering, yet again. We&rsquo;ve had some nice rain showers the past week or so and the lawns and gardens are loving it. But, have you ever looked under a dense shrub to see dry mulch after a summer shower? Happens more often than we would like.</p>
<p>If you had plant materiel installed late fall or this spring, the roots, quite possibly, do not extend beyond the plant's drip line. Established plants have roots that have grown far and wide, and hopefully deep, and they can catch more of our summer rains. A plant with roots confined under its crown needs supplemental watering.</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When in doubt, dig a little hole in the garden to see how far the water has penetrated the soil.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When watering, water long and deep. We want to encourage deep root growth. </span></p>
<p>One Final Tip: Are you still running on last fall's mulch application? If this is the case, fluff &nbsp;your mulch. Tight, compact mulch restricts air and water circulation within the underlying soil.</p>

The Same, But Yet Very Different <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When we renovated the focal garden at Ault Park the four segments that make up the outer circle were designed using the same plants and installation pattern. The objective was to create continuity so as you walked around the space it had the feeling of one large garden- not four independent spaces. The garden spaces were to be viewed as one circular garden. Now, several years later, you can see how the gardens are developing at their own pace, and are taking on unique personalities. Many of the same plants are found in each bed, but at varying intensities. Today, it's the large Shenandoah grasses that unify the four beds. In one bed, <em>Monarda</em> has become very thick and the Sea Holly has thrived beautifully. In another bed, it's the <em>Stachys byzantina</em> along with the <em>Liatris</em> spicata that is stealing the show.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any number of factors may account for the beds each performing a bit differently: the angle of the sun, watering, soil variations as well as different gardeners and volunteers accessing the beds. Do we consider this a negative development within the design? Not at all. The beds are nowhere near becoming solely independent from each other as it relates to design. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I enjoy seeing how a plant thrives in one bed and appears to be a bit behind in another. It's a beautiful reminder that when it's all said and done nature has a hand in how our designs are sustained over the years," Jennifer Smith shares. "If we wanted to maintain the original design plan, we would have been editing thriving plants and adding, over and over again, plants that had lagged behind in other areas. That would have been a futile attempt to cheat nature and a colossal waste of resources."</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">This style of garden is meant to and is encouraged to evolve. We will still add new plants, weed and define plant communities to ensure the garden remains well-kept and within our generous design boundaries. If we wanted a design that remained unwavering over the years, we would have left the previous formal design in place.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Our focal garden is an example of a more nature-inspired design. If a client wanted many of the same plants, but in a more uniform design, we could easily accomplish that. If a garden is relaxed or formal is predicated on how plants are originally installed, such as in organized groupings or randomly placed, allowed to evolve and the setting in which they are placed," Peter Wimberg explains. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whether you desire a loosely organized garden or one that embraces formality, Wimberg Landscaping can design, install and maintain a landscape that exceeds your design expectations. &nbsp;Call us, today,&nbsp;271-2332&nbsp;</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /><br /></span></p>

Surefire Ways to Kill Your Tree It’s amazing how many ways people have found to kill their trees or, in the least, put them under a great deal of undue stress. Trees don’t ask a lot from us. They need soil, water and sunshine. They are rather self-sufficient. If you are determined to kill your trees here are six things you can do now.

Planting too low or too high
Trees should never be planted below grade. The bark, which is not meant to be in the soil will rot leading to stress, disease and death. If anything, trees should be planted a bit above grade to accommodate for any settling of the soil.

Volcano mulching
Why do we still do this to our trees? Piling mulch up against the trunk is like planting it below grade. The mulch keeps the bark moist, which makes it susceptible to pests and disease. The mounded mulch also encourages roots to grow up rather than deep into the soil. As a result, roots are prone to drying out and surface damage.

Improper cutting and pruning
Clean, careful cuts are imperative to good tree health. Limbs and branches that are ripped, frayed or cut leaving a remnant branch extending from the truck or larger branch invite pests and diseases. Entire books have been written about pruning and trimming trees- it’s that important.

Damaging the bark
Mowers, string trimmers, garden equipment, car doors: anything that cuts, gouges or damages the bark of the tree poses a significant risk to the tree’s health.

Nails, ropes and old nursery tags
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see old, faded nursery tags on shrubs. The tag’s twine, plastic or string has often worked its way into the branch causing limb death.

Topping trees
This confounds us every time we see it. Why would anyone think it’s solid arboricultural practice to top a tree? It’s not attractive. The shoots that grow in response to the intense damage inflicted on the tree are unsightly and the tree is placed under incredible stress.

When cared for properly, trees can increase property value while providing much needed shade and beauty in the landscape. If you have questions about your trees’ health and maintenance requirements, call us. 271-2332


In no time at all, gardeners will be flocking to nurseries to buy annuals for their gardens. It’s exciting to be able to dig in the soil once again and add that instant splash of color only annuals can provide. But before you dig, we have some tips for you to consider.

Avoid annual islands. It may sound a bit counter intuitive for a landscaping company to say, but we would love to arrive to a garden at year three or later and find no room for mulch. The last thing you want is an annual surrounded by a sea of mulch for most of the season. So if you garden with a lot of annuals, plant them thick!

Consider adding additional perennials and shrubs to claim more garden space. They provide a great backdrop or contrasting elements for the annuals and give you interest in the garden that extends beyond the first hard frost and starts well before the traditional first day of gardening.

Container gardens. The amount of annuals to really do a bed well can be intimidating. Instead of planting annuals in the beds consider planting containers overflowing with annuals on the porch, patio, staircase and even tucked throughout the gardens. You can create dramatic looks with fewer plants, they are easy to care for since they are clustered together and the container, should you choose a frost-proof variety, becomes winter interest.
Choose wisely. Not all annuals work well together. Just like perennials, trees and shrubs, you need to consider the plant’s required growing conditions and if you are combining annuals, which we highly recommend, make sure they all carry the same requirements. But you are not done, yet! If you are working your annuals into an existing perennial garden, the growing requirements for all the plants must be cohesive or the garden will be a maintenance challenge in the least or disaster in the worse case.

“When visitors to my gardens ask about my plant selections, I share with them the growing requirements of the plants and how some are a constant struggle for me, the gardner and others make maintenance a breeze,” shares Wimberg Horticulturalist, Jennifer Smith. “Creating successful plant combinations is daunting to some. But that is why we are here. We, the professional, avid gardeners- this is all we do. We can help!”

Before spring gets away from us and the selection of annuals dwindles, call one of our design experts to design a lush annual garden just for you. We can handle the installation and maintenance, too. Call 271.2332


“There are dozens of ways to design a property, but typically I start with just listening to how the client wants to use their space,” shares Wimberg designer, Natalie Selker. “That’s why I ask a lot of questions and spend a lot of time listening and delving into what the homeowner envisions. Once I know what they want, we figure out budget so that I can design something that fits what they want and need as well as what they can afford.”

Winter Interest. If a garden was so lackluster that a client never bothered to look out the windows, then we know a solid foundation of trees, shrubs, well defined beds and focal points are demanded of the design. “Why work with a designer and her teams to create a garden you only enjoy in the summer? I want that garden to be attractive year-round by using all different types of trees, evergreens, perennials and grasses,” Natalie shares.

Outdoor Living. How a client plans to use their landscape is just as important as how they use their kitchen or living room. Does the client want lush gardens meandering about the lawn with benches and seats tucked in here and there or is this to be more of an extension of the home? Does the client want a second dining and cooking area, a covered seating area, and room for lots of guests? Or, do they want the lawn removed, gardens planted and just enough room for a small yoga patio instead?

Budget. We know talking about money is not always easy. However, the only way we can respect what you want to invest in the new landscape is to know your budget. If elements you desire are beyond the budget, we can work with you to create alternatives or work on a plan that is installed in stages. “A designed landscape plan is often a good idea so that you can phase and budget your project over a few seasons. So even if your budget doesn’t allow you to install your dream project right away, we can help you design it so that over a few years you could afford to do everything on your list,” Natalie reassures.

Call us, we can help you start the process of making that grand idea for your yard a reality! 271.2332

PLANNING BULBS FOR FALL PLANTING, NOW! Your garden designer would love to talk to you about bulbs for fall planting, now. Yes, we know it’s early spring and we are still waiting for the chance of flurries to cease. But now is the perfect time to talk about adding fall planted bulbs to your garden.

Plan Now, Plant Later: Bulbs for fall planting are starting to bloom now. Daffodils, Scilla siberica, snowdrops and tulips will be adorning the gardens with their gorgeous colors. So now is the best time to see where your early- to late-spring garden could use an infusion of color.

Partner Planting: Some plants just look better when partnered with another plant. Their colors, textures and sizes complement each other to give a garden a more thoughtful, finished look. Also, spring flowering bulbs need time for their foliage to replenish their bulbs and die back on their own schedule. This leaves, at times, unsightly clumps of foliage in the garden. If we know a client desires daffodils, we can then add supporting plants to fill the interest void when the daffodils are done blooming and draw attention away from the fading foliage.

No Time Like the Present: Landscape firms do their ordering of fall planted bulbs very early. Once we see where a garden needs the spring color, it’s best to make a plan indicating where the future bulbs are to be installed and get the bulbs on the order list. Before too long, summer comes and thoughts of what we want to see in the spring garden become fuzzy.

While spring has us in it’s grip, let’s use this time to take a critical eye to our spring gardens and see where we could use an infusion of spring flowering bulbs.

Ready for a garden walkabout with one of our designers or consultants? Call us! 513.271.2332

WHY PLANTS FAIL… It’s a common practice to tour the neighborhood and look at others’ gardens to gleam ideas for your own landscape. You’re all in the same USDA Gardening Zone so the plants are certain to be a success in your yard, right?
Not necessarily.

Just because your neighbor is growing a plant doesn’t mean you can, or should. It’s not uncommon for a visitor to one of my gardens to say, “I can't grow that” or “this has never done well for me.” Exploring other gardens is a wonderful way to get fresh ideas, I do it all the time. But it’s just the first step in selecting plants that are ideally suited for your garden. Several factors should be taken into consideration before assuming a plant is perfect for your yard.

Yes, the grass can be greener on the other side of the fence. Micro-climates are simply pockets in the landscape where the growing conditions are just different enough to allow us to push the plant envelope. A Southern Magnolia tucked into a sheltered location of the garden, safe from harsh winter winds, can thrive in our area. The same tree, in an open landscape, can suffer considerable damage in the winter.

All soil is not alike. Chances are your soil is rich on the clay side. But what has happened to the soil over the years? Did construction disturb the native soil? Was top soil brought into the landscape? Does your neighbor amend the soil with compost, leaf litter or pine fines? The soil is the foundation of any plant’s growing condition. The difference between a tighter soil and freely draining soil has a huge impact on many plants.

I grew Rodgersia for years in a park garden which I tended to four to six days a week, without fail. When I was there I deeply watered the plants. Visitors to the gardens would have no idea I gave the plants such heavy drinks. If they installed the same plant in their shady garden, it may have limped along or failed completely.

Simple Luck
Maybe we are not to say this as landscape professionals, but sometimes it’s just luck that a plant does well. I have Pieris Japonica growing at Bettman. From what I have read, it prefers sun. Mine is in the shade. It likes to be cared for. Mine was neglected for years. It’s growing snug up against a brick staircase: not even in a traditional garden space. Yet, it thrives. I have yet to meet a gardener who has had great success with this plant.

What to do?
It behooves you to research all you can about a plant you want to add to the garden. There is so much more to know beyond sun and gardening zone requirements.

Successful gardeners are not born, they are created over many years toiling in the soil.

Call us.
Our designers, installation teams, maintenance crews, even yours truly behind the keyboard, have been gardening for many years. Some of us hold degrees in landscape and/or horticulture. We know what will work, what will not, and how to determine which the case may be. 271.2332

WHAT WE CAN DO NOW, IN THE APRIL GARDEN Confession, I have been visiting my gardens several times a week. The signs of spring are here, some are subtle, but they are here. Spring is here. Bettman is primarily perennials, trees, shrubs and grasses. Because of the size of the gardens, I find it more efficient and cost effective to invest in these plants and let them mature over the years than replant large areas with annuals year after year. However, because there is a desire for constant color and the immediate gratification that only comes from annuals, I do add them in the beds, tucking them in where space is still permitted by the yet to mature perennials and grasses.

Before I get too deep in the gardens, I follow a few rules. First I ensure the soil isn’t too wet. The last thing I want to do is trample the soil I have amended the last few years, crush plants just getting ready to emerge and drag mud all around the hard surfaces.

I check my mulch base. If the pine fines are still in good condition I know I don’t need to add more. Over mulching a garden can do a lot of harm.

I will work in new areas of the prairie where I want to edit a lot of plants and add new shrubs, grasses and perennials.
If it’s safe to walk in the beds I will trim any branches or stems of the trees and shrubs that may have sustained winter damage, remove heavy globs (that’s the technical term) of leaves that may smother plants.
I will cut back any grasses and perennials that remained standing over the winter so not to have to cut and prune around new growth.

I spend a lot of time studying the plans I made from the comfort of my den. Now is the time to finalize my designs and check my plant shopping list once more.

Is your garden ready for a spring clean-up? Are you not sure what the next steps are in your garden's care and design? Call us. We can help with everything from new garden design, installation and care of your yard and gardens. 271.2332

IT’S NOT CHEATING, IT’S SMART I had an interesting conversation with an avid, life-long gardener the other day. She wants a new garden, one inspired by Piet Oudolf. I thought it was a lovely idea. While she may not have as much room (who does?) as some of the more popular Oudolf designs gardeners are familiar with entail, there was certainly room for a garden inspired by him. But this gardener said it would not be for there was no way she could prepare the modest area to accommodate such a garden. Her days of ripping up sod, hauling and turning in amendments were over. So I asked her if she would consider partnering with a landscaping firm such as ours.

You see, there are those who say it’s not really your own garden to take full credit for if you bring in help. I beg to differ. If you get a trainer to help you prep for a marathon, you are still running the marathon. Landscape professionals can be as involved as you want them to be in your next project. If you have a vision, we’re there to help you make that a reality. We can rip out sod, bring in healthy soil and amendments and stop there if you like. If you are taking on a larger project, let us bring in the plants for you so you can spend more time in the garden and less time making multiple runs to the nursery.

It is not uncommon for experienced, talented gardeners to bring in professionals to help with the heavy lifting and initial planting, at least of the foundation plants. The owner then tends to the plants, adds more and decides when to edit and rearrange plants over the years. It's truly their garden. We are simply the silent partners.

Remember, no one gardens alone, not even Mr. Oudolf. He has crews to move the soil and place the plants and no one ever says they are not his gardens!

What famous garden designer is influencing you? Let us help you create that garden look in your own landscape. Call us: 271.2332

IT'S NOT INVASIVE, IT'S A BULLY There are plants we know never to use in the garden again. Some were introduced by well-meaning plant explorers and nurserymen and others were introduced by the government. Honeysuckle was praised as an excellent way to sustain hillsides along newly constructed roads. Now we know the negative impact these shrubs have on the environment.

As we become more attuned with the impact our plant selections may have on nature, even if we are tending a small city landscape, the use of invasive plants continues to decline. But what about the aggressive, non-invasive plants? Are native plants no-worry choices for the garden?

In my garden I have Senna hebecarpa, a native plant. This is a vigorous plant which I have seen monopolize an area. If you have a large area in which to garden, this may not be an issue. However, if you have a more modest, city landscape and assume this native plant will be a great addition, you will find yourself in a battle for control of the garden.

A shady woodland garden would become a constant struggle if the naive, ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) was introduced. It’s a vigorous fern. Native, beautiful, quite regal, but it’s a bully.

The answer, as it often is with gardening, is finding the correct plant for the site. And I would add to the equation: take into consideration how much time you want to spend on garden maintenance.

This is when professional gardeners are invaluable. We know when a plant is simply too much for a garden space: be it a native or cultivated variety. We also know when to give the go ahead to a vigorous plant and when to make an alternative suggestion. Bugleweed is a great groundcover when it’s expansion is hindered by obstacle. If your gardens abuts a natural area we will guide you towards a native alternative, that should it escape the garden would do no harm, such as Asarum.

“I believe the most important part of our job as garden professionals is education. If a client is drawn to bold, somewhat aggressive plants, we take the time to explain the maintenance required for that garden” shares Jennifer Smith. “However, if we move forward with a design laden with bully plants and don’t stress the importance of maintenance, the garden will become unkempt and the client extremely dissatisfied with us and their garden.”

Designing landscapes and gardens with the perfect plants is what we do best. Let us guide you in creating a garden that's a perfect fit for you. Call 271.2332.


The rule of thumb about waiting for Mother's Day is excellent advice for annuals, especially those more susceptible to the cold like begonias and impatiens. But now is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. First, have one of our designers visit your landscape to discuss which plant selection is best for your garden. It’s never too early to start plans for the new gardens.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR! We made it! We survived another winter in Cincinnati, and that can only mean one thing, it’s time for spring clean-ups.

Even if we handled your fall clean-up, there is work to be done. Now is the time to tidy bed edges, cut back spent perennials, check the adequacy of mulch and plan for spring color. If you have not already done so, call us to get on the spring clean-up list.

LIGHTING THE WAY Perhaps one of the most underutilized design elements and one of the most impactful is lighting. “What I love about lighting is its flexibility,” shares Peter Wimberg. “You can have a complete landscape, one that’s even quite established and adding lighting can be done with ease. With thoughtfully positioned lights we can accentuate elements of the garden we wish to enjoy into the evening. And, let’s face it, many of us work during the day and being able to enjoy our landscapes after the sun goes down is a wonderful thing.”

Find Our Way
Save your guests and the pizza man the frustration of finding your home with lighting. For a more traditional home, a stone column at the base of the drive topped with a carriage light makes it easy to read the home’s numbers. Or, should your house be a bit more contemporary, a sleek post with recessed lighting illuminating brushed metal numbers is sculptural and helpful.

The Black Hole
If you are apt to close the blinds at night, even if you have a private yard, it may be because at night the view out the window is that of a black void. Strategically placed lights in the landscape illuminate stone features, specimen trees as well as the underside of a large tree’s canopy. Lighting tucked within a stone wall or using carriage lights highlights the elegant lines of the gardens and the great texture of the stone wall.

Minimal works well, too.
The entire yard and home does not have to be lit up like the noonday sun. In fact, too much lighting can be harsh, intrusive and rather unattractive. We want to accentuate, not dominate. When in doubt, less is more. In some case, subtle lighting is exactly what the garden calls for. For example, spotlighting one tree, it the back of the yard and then softly illuminating areas of the garden, approaching the home banishes the black void without feeling overbearing.

Safety First
We often think of outdoor lighting as a way to deter criminal elements. Lighting is also a way to extend our enjoyment of the landscape after dark- such as when we need fresh air, walk the dog or enjoy a quiet night with a glass of wine on the patio. Proper lighting keeps us safe from trips and fall, makes the area feel more inviting and cozy and allows us to see the lovely gardens around us.

Want to learn more? Give us a call! 271.2332

ONE-ON-ONE WITH ALEX FISCHER Alex Fischer, the new COO for Wimberg Landscaping, recently spent some time with us to share a bit about what brought him to Wimberg and what he has to offer to our teams and our clients.

How has your past work experiences prepared you for your responsibilities at Wimberg Landscaping?
Prior to joining Wimberg landscaping, I spent 20 years working within the finance, consulting and investment banking industries. I have worked with companies ranging from large multinationals to small businesses all within service-based industries and sectors. Throughout my career I have focused on creating value by developing and executing multi-faceted strategic plans within the areas of operations, finance, expense reduction and risk mitigation.

While your role is behind the scenes, how do you see what you do day-to-day impacting our clients?
During my career, I have learned the exponential value of positive and productive work cultures and their impact on the success of any business. The initiatives and solutions that we will develop in the coming years will continue to expand and grow all of our resources at Wimberg Landscaping. Allowing us to deliver exceptional client service. Our goal - Happy team members equals happy clients.
Has working here inspired you to tackle your own landscaping project?
Working here inspired me to expand my knowledge of all things green and share the experiences and knowledge with my daughters. We have always spent time outdoors at the Cincinnati Nature Center, Ault Park and many of the other great outdoor spaces but we now make frequent stops to take pictures and discuss the things we see. On a recent trip to Boston, we spent several hours at the Boston Public Garden (Boston Commons) exploring the awesome surroundings in the middle of a busy downtown area while reading the tags on trees and plants.

What impresses you about Wimberg Landscaping teams, our projects or client retention?
I am impressed with our excellent client retention, tenure of team members and the depth and breadth of services and projects offered and completed.

THREE TREES FOR THE WINTER LANDSCAPE In the winter garden annuals have left the stage and perennials have taken a few steps back. What remains is the patterns of our garden beds as well as our hardscapes, shrubs and of course the trees. If you have room in your landscape, now is a great time to evaluate some trees for winter interest. There are many to choose from. Here are three that kept moving to the top of our list.

Holly trees offer the landscape glossy, evergreen foliage coupled with red, white and yellow berries and the opportunity to capture the quintessential snow on fruit (technically drupes) and bird photo in the winter. Holly’s scientific or formal name is Ilex and can be in the form of a tree or shrub and is either deciduous or evergreen. So if a holly is what you want, chances are we can find a variety the will work perfectly with your existing garden design.

First, Consider This
Many hollies need a male and female plat to have drupes. So if the fruit is your main attraction work with your designer to secure the proper plant.
The leaf margins can be wicked! Some hollies have very sharp points on their leaves and make weeding/gardening around the tree tricky. Wear gloves and a thick shirt.

Southern Magnolias
Magnolias are a slippery slope. From varieties with massive leaves, wispy white spring flowers to thick, leathery pink petals, even some with yellow blooms, the magnolia offers us about every option imaginable. But in the winter, it’s the Southern Magnolia that has us smitten.
Large, glossy green leaves with a fuzzy brown underside, and a majestic shape and size that screams this garden is established and classy!

First, Consider This
We are on the southern tip of the ideal growing condition for Southern Magnolias. There have been winters when the trees have taken a hit, so site the tree accordingly. There is one across the street from my home, tucked behind a building, surrounded by a parking lot (heat source) in a large garden bed that looks amazing. It’s location is a micro-climate, one that will protect it from our harsher winters. It behooves you to work with a designer when placing such a tree.

Paperbark Maple
The bark on this tree, as it name implies, is like sheets of paper, slowing pulling away from the trunk revealing subtleties of differing colors resulting in textures and patterns only nature could create. The bark is lovely in the spring and summer, but this tree is often planted as part of garden, which when it’s in its full display, competes with the tree. In the winter and late fall, this tree shines. It’s simply stunning to see its gorgeous bark contrasted against a landscape blanketed in snow.

First, Consider This
Take care when placing this tree, not for its protection (it sits comfortably within our gardening zone) but to be able to enjoy its best feature, its bark. This is not a back of the woodline tree. Bring this up closer to the house, patio or sitting area in the garden so that it can be enjoyed. Your designer will select companion plants that accentuate is best feature.

Are you ready to add some trees for winter interest to your landscape? Call us. We will help you find the best tree for you garden. 271.2332

SATURATED AND THEN SOME Oh my, it’s warm out! I think I saw the sun! Are those flowers coming up?

Spring is making an appearance, and with spring comes the rain: lots and lots of rain. Garden friends, the soil is rather saturated already. The rivers are running high and the forecast is calling for even more rain. So please, resist the urge to leave your sidewalks and patios to venture into the yard. Even walking about overly wet sod can cause damage.

We know the temptation is great to poke about the garden and uncover perennials from their winter bed of leaves to see what’s ready to emerge, but walking about a wet garden will do more harm than good. That carefully prepared soil, rich with amendments that is light and airy will only become compact and rutted.

Soon we can go in the garden beds, soon.

WHY YOUR DESIGNER WANTS TO MEET WITH YOU NOW The ground is soaked with late winter rains and the wind is howling outside our windows. This can only mean one thing: it’s the perfect time to meet with your landscape designer.

Winter Interest
What better time to evaluate your landscape’s winter interest than in the winter. Are the views from the family room window less than appealing? Does your house lack curb appeal when the annuals are no more and perennials have slipped into hibernation? Do you even enjoy looking out the windows into the winter garden?

Time Spent Outdoors
In Cincinnati we can have snow one day and downright balmy weather the next. Are you taking advantage of our warmer winter days? Do you have a secure place to walk, set up dining chairs and enjoy the rare winter sun? Do you have a place to grill or better yet, a fireplace to add a bit of warmth to chilly winter evenings? Evaluating how you use your winter landscape while it’s still winter is the best way to determine how we can best improve your outdoor living experience.

While It’s All Fresh
Before recollections become foggy, share with your designer what was great and what fell a bit short of expectations in your landscape. With your valuable insights she can create a design for a new landscape, one that embellishes what you love about your yard and garden and amend areas that are less than appealing.

Right On Track
Planning now for your new landscape allows us to secure plants, and time on the calendar before the summer season feels like it’s slipping away from us!

Call us today to schedule a consultation before spring makes an entrance! 513.271.2332

MIXED, MASSED OR INTERMINGLED? One of the main objectives of landscape and garden designers is to decipher what a client envisions when they say they want a mixed, massed or intermingled garden. The typical homeowner hears one of these terms and may have a different idea of the meaning.

Instead of focusing on terminology, a designer worth her salt will have the client describe how the desired garden looks. A good place to start is to determine if the client likes having plants touching neighboring plants. Let’s suppose the client asks for a prairie garden, but doesn't like plants touching. You will be hard pressed to find a tidy, no grow zone around a plant that is safely protecting it from neighboring plants in a prairie garden. Such a client may like prairie plants grown in a very un-prairie fashion.

Now imagine a client requesting a natural garden. Understanding what is meant by a natural garden requires a more in-depth conversation. Does a natural garden imply a real mix of plants with no groupings of like plants, such as all the Rudbeckia Maxima planted together? Or does the client simply mean a collection of native plants? Perhaps this client likes plants, native and non-native alike installed in a more relaxed manner.

“The success of a client-designer partnership is not when the two parties agree on terminology, but when they envision the same garden,” explains Peter Wimberg. “Understanding how a client envisions their garden enables us to design every aspect of the garden from its shape, lines and plant selection to how the plants are installed.”

Tell us about the garden you hold in your mind, with or without the terminology, and we will create that garden of your dreams! Call us: 271.2332 Wimberg Landscaping

GRASSES IN THE WINTER GARDEN The grasses in the Wimberg Landscaping Focal Garden at Ault Park look fabulous with a thin coating of ice. They beautifully illustrate why we stress to clients the importance of designing a garden for winter interest.

If it were not for this winter garden, the ice would simply be coating an expanse of mulch. A rather uninspiring thought. Instead, the grasses and Yucca shimmer as light reflects off of the ice.

This garden has been transformed into a winter wonderland!

DESIGNING WITH STONES IN THE SMALL GARDEN “My garden is too small to do all of this.” I have heard this said time and time again, usually when I am at Bettman or touring another public garden. Truth is, just about anything you can do in a large garden, you can adapt to a tiny garden. The secret is scale. We are taking the same elements we use in a large landscape and paring them down.

The shade garden at Bettman is quite generous, but I have many of the same types of plants in a far smaller version of the garden at another park. I simply reduced the number of plants I selected for the smaller garden and then opted for smaller varieties of those plants. For example, instead of an Empress Wu hosta, one ridiculously large hosta, I could use Praying Hands or Blue Mouse Ears.

One design feature that tends to stump those new to gardening is how to incorporate stones into their demure garden. After seeing dramatic stonescapes, elaborate walkways and steps, even arches and other follies made of stone, it’s difficult to translate those stone pieces to a small garden space. Here are some ideas.

Make a Swap
Instead of a plant, opt for stone of a similar size of the considered plant when designing your small garden. In doing so, you preserve the proportion you would have had with a plant, but add the unique texture and winter interest of natural stone.

With a tiny garden, one can opt to design with tiny plants, only. Instead of backdropping the garden with shrubs and grasses as we are apt to do with larger garden spaces, place stones behind the small plants as a backdrop. Natural stones are a great contrast to the plants and add much needed visual weight to a garden otherwise occupied by ‘lighter’ material.

Stacking Up
Add a cairn or an improvised stack of stones for visual interest. While it may not be an arch you can pass under, it’s still a stone structure it the garden.

Role Reversal
And, when all else fails, place the garden in the rock. This rock, has a tiny succulent garden planted in its crevasses.

If you are having a difficult time visualizing how natural stones can be incorporated into your small garden, call us. We can evaluate your garden space, create a plan and handle the installation. 271.2332

5 REASONS TO GARDEN PUBLIC LAND If you read my Q&A in the recent newsletter, (link here) you learned that after returning to Cincinnati I became what I call a landless gardener. I have had many gardens at Ault Park and now do a considerable amount of gardening at the Bettman Nature Center. I garden in public spaces, in great part, because it's the only way I can garden. Here’s five reasons why every gardener should garden in public spaces.

Break out of Your Routine You know every inch of your garden: the plants, the critters, as well as the wet and dry spots. Your garden has become an extension of yourself. If you want to grow as a gardener, you need to challenge yourself. There is no better place to take on such a garden challenge than a public spot of earth someone else assigns to you.

Social Gardeners are social creatures by nature. We want to share what we know about our plants and learn from others about what they are growing. I can promise you, there is nothing more enjoyable as a gardener than talking garden shop with new people every day.

Education There is always something new to learn with gardening and the best way to learn is hands-on. Don't look for a garden like what you already have, go for the extreme opposite. If you love shade gardening, build a prairie garden. If you are most comfortable with edibles, try a dwarf conifer garden. Challenge yourself, expand your garden know-how.

Add Beauty to Your Community It’s too easy, and quite simply an excuse to say, the city, the government should take care of that. Yes, perhaps, but if they won't or can't, what's stopping you? I have found it to be a great honor and privilege to be entrusted with public land and allowed to create my vision for the space for everyone to enjoy.
More than a Garden Often I would be tending a garden at Ault Park and a visitor would walk by several times. When I would stop, make eye contact and say, hello, that person would engage me in conversation. I have learned over the years of gardening in public spaces that many people just need someone to talk to, tell their story to. They need to connect with another person.

UNDER THE RADAR: THREE PLANTS THAT SHOULD BE ON YOUR MUST-HAVE LIST Three must-have plants sounded like a good idea for a column, but how can I possibly pick just three? That’s like saying you can only have three pieces of accessories for your wardrobe or three places to dine for dinner. So instead I shall share my three must-have, underused plants for the butterfly and hummingbird garden.

Also known as cigar or firecracker plant, cuphea is a real show stopper. Glossy green leaves, brilliant orange flowers and spring through fall blooming makes this a desirable garden annual. This plant can get bushy, if you treat it well. Once the hummingbirds find it, your garden will be alive with their hyper chatter and boundless energy.

The bees, especially the bumble bees, come to this in droves. On quiet, still days I can hear their hum as I approach the garden- it’s magical. Very easy to grow, it prefers a lot of sun and can take hard pruning when done blooming. This perennial is a must for any pollinator garden.

This may be cheating to say salvia because there are countless varieties. You could create a stunning garden using only this plant that comes in a variety of colors. I am smitten with Black and Blue Salvia with its upright habit that is strong and can reach three by three feet. I add it to my garden and forget about it. It requires no special attention beyond watering. The hummingbirds love it. It may return in our Cincinnati gardens, but I treat it as an annual, assuming I have to replace it each season.

Are you interested in adding a butterfly or hummingbird garden to your landscape?
Call us! We will evaluate your garden space and create a design that's a perfect fit for you
and your garden. 271.2332

ONE-ON-ONE WITH JENNIFER SMITH A little garden chat with Jennifer Smith, Horticulturist, client services and garden writer and photographer for Wimberg Landscaping.

You started gardening in northern Wisconsin. How did gardening in that region of the country differ from Cincinnati?
The days were cooler, little humidity, free black soil and mulch from my yard waste center and my own well for water. But what made the biggest impression on me when I returned to Cincinnati and tried to plant my first garden was the soil! So much clay! No more digging a pond before lunch: gardening with clay takes a bit more time.

Did the gardening zone and soil composition in Cincinnati change how you designed your gardens?
No. When I learned to garden, I was spending a lot of time in the woods on botanical hikes. I was taking what I observed in nature and replicating that in my own garden. I was teaching myself to plant native and to pick the best plants for the location- the soil, light and juxtaposition with other plants. I simply applied that lesson here, in Cincinnati. Instead of forcing what I knew plant-wise, I studied what grew well here and planted the best plants for my new Cincinnati gardens.

You do a lot of gardening in public spaces, why? Is this something other gardeners should consider?
I do all my gardening in public spaces. I live in a condo and the parks have become my gardens. If it were not for the time made available with condo living I could never manage my own gardens and gardens in parks. And for now, I can't imagine not gardening in the parks. Does someone have to take on the amount I have, certainly not. But I do suggest every gardener tend a public garden, if only for a year or two. I share more in a recent post, here. The public spaces I have the honor to garden are beyond beautiful. One stroll around Ault Park and you will know why I had, at one time, five plus gardens there. I couldn't stay away from the park. The gardens I am working on at Bettman have features I would never have the ability to replicate on my own. But what I enjoy most is talking with the park goers. Gardeners want to share what we have learned with others- it’s in our nature. Gardening in parks, I spend a lot of time fielding garden and landscape questions and I love that.

How do your past garden experiences translate to working with Wimberg Landscaping?
I have been writing about and photographing gardens for years and we are making a big push to increase our online presences via blogs and newsletters as well as increase our contribution to regional publications. I also spend time with our clients fielding garden and design questions and hearing what clients want to get out of their landscape, be it as simple as a new tree to a complete overhaul of the landscape. I make certain that what we say we will do as a company, in particular when it comes to ongoing maintenance of the landscape, we are delivering in a way to meet our clients’ expectations. I’m a second set of eyes for our maintenance team as it relates to what to do in the landscape, identifying potential issues such as pests and diseases and seeing what we will need to address later in the season to a few years from now.

Are you working with new Wimberg clients?
Yes! I encourage anyone who is determining if a company such as ours is a good fit to schedule a free garden walkabout. We can evaluate the landscape together so that I may have a good understanding of what Wimberg Landscaping can do to make what your vision a reality.
You can reach Jennifer, here.

LESSER CELANDINE Take a walk around a park, nature preserve, or your neighborhood and you are apt to see a plant that was introduced with good intentions that has now become wildly invasive and unbelievably difficult to control. Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) was introduced to the United States in 1800’s as an ornamental plant. However, due to no known pests or diseases, coupled with its ability to flourish in just about any growing condition, the plant thrived and has since been listed as an invasive plant.

Lesser celandine creates a short, thick mat that becomes impenetrable by other plants. Native spring ephemeral are quickly choked out. Left unchecked it can easily destroy a native ecosystem in a few years.

A homeowner may have a small clump of lesser celandine in the garden and be attracted to it. It appears tidy, has glossy green leaves, and emerges very early in the spring and delights us with cheery yellow flowers. One can’t find a reason to be alarmed or inspired to remove the plant. However, in a short period of time, the tidy clump has transformed into a thick carpet, escaping all boundaries and invading every corner of the garden and lawn.

Hand digging is futile in most cases. If even a tiny part of the tuberous root is left behind the plant will rebound with ease. Deep digging is one method. All the soil is removed from the bed, sifted and replaced. Follow-up care is required to ensure remnant pieces that were inadvertently left behind to rejuvenate can be addressed. Another alternative is chemical treatments. Whichever method of eradication is selected, it’s a slow trudge to success.

Compounding the issue is the neighbor’s yard. “If you take every measure to ensure your lesser celandine is eradicated, your work may be for naught if the neighbor has left their celandine to its own devices,” laments Peter Wimberg. “This is why it's imperative for companies such as ours, nurseries, big box stores and everyone who has input regarding what is planted in the landscape, to be keenly aware of what plants are damaging to the environment. Every invasive plant is not on par with lesser celandine, but it only takes one invasive plant to do great harm to an environment.”

WHY DESIGNERS SEE THE FUTURE “When we look at a landscape, we see how it could be this year as well as what it will become three, five even 10 years out,” shares Peter Wimberg. “We have to because the landscape is ever changing. What we put on paper as a design is simply day one: it’s our starting point. The real magic happens over the years.”

When you meet with garden designer to discuss your new landscape, a plan is presented showing what we will do now in your landscape. A design will often include new trees and shrubs and possibly hardscapes, such as a patio or fireplace. We then talk about what will happen in three years. Three is a magic number with landscape designers. Consider a garden dedicated solely to sun perennials, not a tree or shrub in the mix. Even this garden will evolve greatly over three years. Year one it sits, year two it creeps and year three it bolts. At the end of year three we see the design come to fruition. By year four, depending on the plants selected, spaces in the garden have filled in nicely and it may be time to divide the perennials, otherwise the garden will appear overgrown and unkempt the next season. A designer sees this in their plans. They can see day one and day 900 in the garden.

The longer view of the garden comes into play when we add trees and shrubs. With many shrubs we can simply leave space in the landscape to accommodate its growth. A homeowner will see the garden fill in with the perennials and annuals gradually meeting with the maturing shrubs. Trees are a different though. With trees we see how its growth will transform a sunny spot into a shady one. We also plan for how the expanding root system will dictate understory planting. In some cases we see that a small understory tree will have a subtle impact on the existing landscape and we will design accordingly. Other times, such as when a client wants to plant oaks and maples in an open space, we see how over the years, a once full sun landscape may mature into a woodland garden.

“In a way, designers see the future,” Peter explains. If you are having a difficult time seeing how your landscape can look now, not to mention five years from now, worry not. Our professional designers will develop a plan for year one and help you see and understand how your landscape will evolve over time. Call us. 513.271.2332.

WHEN STONES PREVAIL We mentioned before how design plans are mere snapshots in the landscape’s evolution. We show clients what the gardens will look like in a year and a few years out, but being that a garden is a living design and is ever evolving, it will not appear as we depict on paper indefinitely. The trees will grow, shrubs reach their life expectancy and plants will fall in and out of favor by the homeowners, or series of homeowners. But what will remain the same, at least for many years to come, is the stonework.

Natural stones have permanence, even if the walls start to crumble or patios pull apart decades down the road. There is romance and historic intrigue stirred when viewing dry stacked stone walls along Kentucky back roads. Hardscaping, likes walls and patios, remind us of those who have come before: those that lived and worked the landscape. Stones have a permamance to them, even when everything else around has fallen into disarray, they are still the keystone to the landscape’s design.

“When you come across an old, natural stone element, it immediately becomes the focal point, the launching pad for redesigning a garden that has fallen into decay from years of neglect,” shares Jennifer Smith. “Old stone remnants can be preserved as is, a nod in a way to the garden’s past, or refurbished. Either way, the stones continue on from one generation of a garden to the next.”

There are many practical reasons why we design with hardscapes. A stone wall is a far better retention material than timbers, a stone surface transforms a lawn to a dining area, even an outdoor kitchen, and a stone wall can be a wonderful garden design element in its own right.

“Adding a natural stone feature to a landscape shows a commitment to that landscape’s long term integrity,” says Peter Wimberg. “Stone work, be it a fireplace, an ornamental element, even a path meandering around a garden, is a sign of permanence.”

In Peter’s own landscape, massive stones act as steps and the front walk in his nature-inspired garden. When the plants have ceased for the season, the stones carry the design. “That hardscape feature is the difference between a blank winter yard and a thoughtful design with winter interest,” explains Peter. And, because gardens and gardeners change over the years, should Peter opt for a more formal garden, even one with a lawn, the stones will remain and carry that new planting design forward.

If you would like to explore stone options for your landscape, give us a call. We will evaluate your landscape, design an option that is perfect for you and handle the installation. 271.2332

NO NEED TO PANIC I don't want to set off alarm bells, but Sunday, before this most recent snowfall, I saw bulbs emerging in the gardens. No worries, all is well, thanks to this snow!

It’s not uncommon to see little green blades poking out from the soil long before we are prepared to see our spring bulbs coming to life. They often emerge well before the predicted time and without fail, this throws some gardeners into a state of panic.Truth is, as soon as you planted those bulbs in the fall, and the soil was still warm, they were growing. As they were nestled snug under the soil’s surface they were busy pushing out roots and starting to sprout. If the weather is warm, or we experience a break in winter with unseasonably warmer days, these sprouts may break the surface. Then the cold winter days return that may damage the foliage. This will not harm the plant’s flowers, though.

If you see bulb sprouts emerging you can cover them with a light layer of leaf litter or pinefines. Fortunately, this last snowfall may serve as the best insulator of all.

The only true cause of alarm is when flower buds emerge too soon and are left susceptible to a late cold snap. For now, rest easy. Do not go into the garden and pull back your mulch looking for premature spouts, let the protective layer be. You are apt to do more harm than good poking around in the gardens.

FIVE GRASSES WE ADORE Grasses are a staple design element for any garden theme from prairie to conifer garden. Grasses add movement, they are soft and structural at the same time, and they transition with ease from spring to late fall and into winter. And, because we selected grasses that don't take over the world with their height and spreading nature, they are easy to clean-up at the end of their season.

Hakonechloa or Japanese forest grass is making us smile each time we go to a shade garden. The golden tones of the grass cascading over a hard edge is brilliant. We like how the color of the grass lightens a darker garden and how the form of the plant softens a garden often dominated with boldly structured plants.

Karl Foerster reed grass has been a mainstay in the landscape for years, and for good reason. It’s tidy, it’s well behaved and it’s easy to cut back come late winter. Often used in simple designs and with just a few plants, we believe this grass really shines when planted in large swathes in a garden, making a bold statement.

Shenandoah Switch Grass has been earning its place in the landscape in several of our gardens. In full sun it forms tight, strong stands that transition from reds to soft browns. It’s large enough to anchor a garden, act as a privacy barrier and pull large gardens together. However, it never gets out of control or too large. It makes a statement in the sun garden without dominating.

Japanese blood grass was not always on the top of my list until I started designing with it in clean, contemporary gardens. Truth be told, it’s considered a weed and a thug in some gardening circles. But imagine it planted within a long trough, made of copper running down a tightly clipped lawn. If you contain it, it will shine. If you drop in a few clumps here and there, you will regret it. Rubra tends to be a bit more behaved, but as a design element, we still prefer it in tightly regimented areas of the garden.

And last, but definitely not least, Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln,’ a most versatile plant that looks great in a formal garden, a prairie garden and in a I-love-to-collect-it-all garden. It does well in sun and part sun, has a lovely round habit, fuzzy, soft looking seeds and it’s tough. Pair it with upright verbena and you will never go wrong!

Are you ready to incorporate grasses into your landscape? We can design something unique to your setting. Schedule a consultation, today. 271.2332

THE LANDLESS GARDENER RETURNS! Wimberg Landscaping is pleased to share that our very own Jennifer Smith is once again penning her popular blog, Adventures of a Landless Gardener for Horticulture magazine’s website. “I began this series in 2010 as a way to share my garden adventures. I had left my large garden in northern Wisconsin behind, moved to a condo in Cincinnati and was gardening in a park. The blog was a way to share with fellow garden enthusiasts that they didn't need a yard to be a gardener, they could be landless gardeners,” reflects Jennifer.

After meeting the publisher of Horticulture, Patty Craft, Adventures of Landless Gardener was born. Jennifer later worked for the publication and its sister publications in a variety of roles before joining Wimberg Landscaping. “I’ve always had garden related blogs, and with my continued work at Bettman, a park I adopted, it was time to bring back Adventures of Landless Gardener. I was pleased to learn that the magazine thought the same,” she shares.

You can follow Jennifer's writing for Horticulture, here. She is also the author of the Wimberg Landscaping blog.

NATURAL STONE IN THE GARDEN A popular and quite versatile design element for the garden is natural stone. When you think of stonework you’re apt to envision stone walls for retaining a hillside, or perhaps used for patios and stairs. But what if we approached stones as purely design elements, a way to incorporate the most natural of elements into our gardens?

Cairns: I saw this cairn many years back, perhaps it was at the famous Philadelphia Flower Show, and I have been intrigued by them ever since. I have stacked stones before in my gardens: usually to get them out of the way as I planted. They were stacked for practicality first, design second. But now that I have more years in the garden I see the simple beauty of stacked stones. To secure the stones in place, add a dollop of cement between each stone or have a professional drill a hole through the center of each stone and run a length of rebar through the stack. The rebar can be anchored in place, below grade, with cement for added stability. Or should you wish to introduce a water feature to the garden, consider placing the stones over a water reservoir and run a pipe through the stones. The water will travel up the pipe, cascade over the stones, spill into the water reservoir to repeat the journey once again.

Benches: A bench is always a nice addition to a garden and can take on a sculptural look and feel when made of natural stone. This bench along a bike path in Ohio is useful and attractive. Stone was an obvious choice for a place with countless visitors- it is unlikely to fail or need repairs.

Stone Gardens: Artfully arranged stones create nooks and crannies in which you can tuck in small plants like herbs and succulents. This rock garden is in a local park and has had a succession of caretakers, each arranging the stones here and there and adding small plants that do well in the hot sun and in exceptionally well-draining soil.

Zen Garden: You certainly do not need to create a Japanese garden as majestic as this one located in the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington, but it can serve as your inspiration. With this design, rocks are set on a bed of pea gravel or sand that is raked to create flowing patterns.

If you would like to explore options for adding natural stone to your landscape, call us, we would love to work with you. 513.271.2332

WHY ANNUALS Savvy gardeners and professional garden designers are already in the throes of designing their spring gardens. They know that without a plan things can get crazy and behind schedule once Mother's Day arrives. As we review our plans, examine photos from the past year and delve into garden books and magazines for new plant ideas, one thing is on the top of our mind- annuals!

Here are reasons why you, too, should be planning with annuals.

Fill in the Blanks
Most of the landscapes we design have a strong focus on trees, shrubs and perennials. Our landscapes are designed for longevity as well as year-round interest. But, even with a strong perennial garden plan, annuals are often called upon to fill in the spaces left open for foundation plants to mature. Rather than simply mulch these open areas, we opt to fill in with annuals for a more lush, colorful garden.

Speaking of Color
Annuals give us what we want, instant gratification. Blooming from day one to first fall frost, and often times beyond, annuals provide the landscape with continuous, often carefree, color.
Even established perennial gardens can benefit from strategically placed annuals to draw out the perennials’ foliage color, add brightness to a shady spot in the garden or mirror the color of the yet-to-bloom perennial flowers.

A New Look
For those clients who appreciate a well established garden, but still like the idea of something fresh and new each year, we call in the annuals! By leaving an extended area for annuals, such as a deep front border along a garden bed, we can add different annuals with new colors and textures each year. The foundation of the garden remains the same but each new garden season is ushered in with a new color palette.

Uncontained Possibilities
Container gardening with annuals is a pure joy. These miniature self-contained gardens allow us to work with countless container options such as terracotta, lead and copper pots to wooden barrels and even wicker baskets. If it holds soil, we can plant in it. Containers dress up a front porch or patio, and can be tucked into the garden for splashes of color and design interest They can also be replanted throughout the year to reflect the changing seasons- spring, summer and fall.

To ensure the best selection of annuals are available and to get on our early planting schedule, call us today. Plan now for a beautiful spring! 513.271.2332

BEFORE YOU KNOCK THAT SNOW OFF, READ THIS! Snow accumulation on your trees and shrubs may not be an issue. It all depends on the type of snow that’s blanketing the branches. It’s difficult to resist the urge to take a whack at a snow covered branch and watch it spring up after the weight has been lifted and see the snow fly, but this may do your valuable plants harm.

If it’s a light, fluffy snow, relax, sit back and enjoy the beauty of it all. This is Cincinnati after all, and in a day or two the snow will most likely be melted. If we are hit with a wet, heavy snow, that’s pulling branches down, use care when removing the snow. Gently push the limbs up, using a broom works well, to displace the snow. Brushing the snow off in a downward motion may only further stress the limbs and cause them to break.

If it’s ice, let it be. You are likely to snap or rip branches off as you try to dislodge the ice.

As for snow on the garden- great! Snow is a wonderful insulator and will protect the soil and plants’ crowns from cold air and ice.

So, how do you like shoveling snow? Ridiculous question, I know! We offer snow removal services. So stay in and stay warm and safe and let us clear your drives and paths this winter season. Call 271.2332

NOTES FROM THE GARDEN - BETTMAN This may be the first day I am not tempted to work at Bettman. It’s well below freezing and even I don't find that appealing. But up until last week I was popping over to work on the grounds. Those of you who are new to gardening may be wondering what could I possibly be doing in my Zone 6 garden in December. Those who garden know that answer- I'm now doing all the tasks I put off to free up time for more enjoyable garden work.

I am working on English Ivy eradication. Ivy is everywhere in the grounds. It's on the brick wall, in what I call the upper woodland garden as well as on the back woodland garden. There is way too much for me to remove, but I am removing it from the brick wall. This feature is too fabulous to have ivy smothering it and, as I pull the ivy away from the base of the wall, I’m able to gather large batches from the ground as well- freeing up space for more appropriate plants. Here’s the before- stay tuned for spring after pictures!

The viburnums have water sprouts that need to be removed as well as crossing branches and low hanging branches. Now that the leaves are down I can more easily see where I’m working and should l step in the beds, I’m far less likely to damage any plants since the perennials are dormant at this time.

If the ground isn't frozen, I will plant. I am creating a sensory garden where diseased trees were removed. I just planted three Viburnum × juddii which have a very pleasing scent. These are planted along side Syringa reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac) and yet to be planted lilac shrubs.

I have written about this before, the importance of studying photos of the gardens to see what is missing and what needs to be edited. I’m using this time to review photos, study my books and magazines and get my design ideas down on paper. This allows me to jump on opportunities to buy plants, and when weather permits, install them without having to wonder what needs to be done in the garden. I have an action plan and I’m ready to garden, even if it is December in Zone 6.

THREE WHITE PLANTS FOR THE SHADE Think back on your shade garden. Better, yet, if you have photos pull them up. Is your eye drawn to the back of the garden, to the far corners? Shade gardens are center-stage for textures, green and exquisite leaf margins (coleus has us in awe with all its shapes). But what a shade garden may be lacking is a bit of brightness.

Pulmonaria has great variegated varieties that brighten a shady spot, are deer resistant and have the most charming spring flowers that transition from pink to blue to purple.

Japanese Anemone Mount Everest has white, fluffy, luxurious flowers that balance upon thin elegant stems. Their subtle movement in the garden with a soft breeze is charming and the white petals contrast beautifully with the green foliage dominating a shade garden.

And of course, hostas. Many hostas have white in their leaves. I may be going against the common thread of thought, but I enjoy hosta flowers. Some are quite substantial. A few very aromatic, and their white blooms draw you in.

There are so many plant selections and combinations to liven up a dark shade garden that it can be overwhelming. We can help you single out the plants that will have the greatest impact on your shade garden. Call us! 271.2332

ONE-ON-ONE WITH TIM GRUBBS Tim Grubbs - Operations Manager

Tim Grubbs
Tim is a member of our team that walks the line between behind the scenes and in the field hands-on work. If you are an installation client, chances are you will see him touching base with our crew, reviewing design plans and fielding questions. But much of what he does is not witnessed by our clients and this is why we would like for you to know a bit more about the man who takes our designers’ masterful plans and makes them a reality. It’s no small task, but Tim’s 10 plus years of experience in landscaping makes him the ideal person to direct our installation teams.

What attracted you to working at Wimberg Landscaping?
Wimberg is a long standing business with a great reputation both in the community as well as in the industry. This made Wimberg a great choice for me.

As the Wimberg Operations Manager you need a solid understanding of everything from plants and plant installation to how to build decks and hardscapes and everything in between. To the average person, this seems overwhelming.
There are a lot of variables in a job, that is for certain. We build everything from straightforward garden beds to tiered gardens with stone walls and terraces and pool-side decks. Plus we handle lighting and irrigation. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to build just about everything in the landscape including fireplaces and water features. I use this experience to direct the crews on our projects.

Efficiency is very important from a business standpoint, but also to our clients. Once a client sees Julia’s or Natalie’s plan, they want that new landscape now. We need to be efficient and smart about how we work without jeopardizing quality of work. How do you achieve that?
The first thing a client needs to know is our teams are very qualified. Each install team has a strong leader with a lot of knowledge, and his or her teammate has exhibited quality technical skills and the ability to learn quickly. That alone makes our jobs very efficient. For my part, I secure the efficiency of the teams by organizing the install calendar, making sure the teams have the tools needed for every project, ensuring their materials are here and ready for the job, and offering step-by-step advice regarding the best order of events for each project so that it runs smoothly for Wimberg and for our clients.

You play a significant role in our work, from design interpretation for installation to final sign-off on a project. What aspects of you work mosts intrigues you?
I love seeing the finished product, a job well done, started off by an idea or discussion with one of our designers, to a final product that can be enjoyed for years to come.

What differentiates Wimberg Landscaping from our competition?
We do everything at Wimberg. I love the versatility of every project, no two jobs are the same. We install small gardens, to decks, patios, and walls, and everything in between. The variety of jobs I get to oversee keeps things interesting on a regular basis. But most importantly we do all this work with the utmost attention to detail and consideration of the client’s expectations.

WHEN TREES STAND ALONE We often talk about incorporating trees in the home’s landscape and we are, for the most part, looking at the tree as part of a cohesive garden plan. The tree anchors the garden, is the foundation for the forthcoming garden and sets the tone for how the garden will evolve over time. But sometimes, when space permits, the tree can stand alone.

Drive along a country road and you will see a lone tree, out in a field or along an old fence row. Sometimes these trees are the survivors of a pest or disease that decimated a species but the tree’s isolation acted as a barrier, sparing the tree from death. Viewed from a distance, an Oak or Elm tree, on its own is stunning. It needs no garden, planned underplanting or mulch. It’s simply a tree set in a natural prairie, farm field or even a lawn. The English garden is noted for vast open spaces, rolling lawns, controlled lakes and ponds punctuated by carefully positioned trees. A gardenless landscape. And while there is very little that is natural about such a landscape it does offer us one wonderful advantage: the ability to see a tree, completely and on its own. It’s stunning.

In the traditional homeowner’s landscape, having that much room is a luxury. We should and still do plant large trees such as oaks and maples, often we cannot view them from afar as we would in the country. But, what we can do to create a landscaped focused on trees is plant smaller trees, such as dwarf conifers, Carolina Silver Bells and dogwoods. Select a tree that has a shape you admire as well as great bark and foliage- as the centerpiece, the tree has a lot of design weight to carry. Now, working with a designer, create a non-garden space.

For example, consider a long rectangular backyard, not that uncommon in the city. The perimeter is a raised bed made of stone walls and lushly planted. The remaining space is lawn with a single specimen tree planted, off center. The tree is now more than a tree, it’s a unique design feature, a sculptural element even. No mulch and no understory garden. Just a simple lawn. If a lawn is not to your liking, consider a sod path around the perimeter of our imagined raised stone garden bed, and the remaining space filled with pea gravel or if you prefer vegetation, epimedium. The tree is still a solitary design element, to be viewed without distraction.

Creating a gardenless landscape to highlight a tree is something we can create for you. Give us a call and one of our designers will work with you to create a design custom to your landscape.

NOTES FROM THE GARDENS - BETTMAN There is still a lot of activity at Bettman. New trees and shrubs are being planted, leaf removal is underway and tree and shrub pruning is taking place. In between tasks I like to take stock of the gardens: what worked, what didn't, identify what the gardens are lacking and perhaps what needs to be edited. What's really standing out to me in the shady courtyard are the ferns, two in particular, that withstood hot, humid days as well as days when I was less than an ideal caretaker. These ferns looked smart all year, one is still showing off, despite the wicked cold that is settling in and both maintained a clean, crisp appearance when other ferns had flopped or showed signs of heat stress. They are ..drum roll, please ....

Japanese Beech Fern
I planted this fern three years ago and it has performed without fail. Last year I added St John's Wart ground cover, and this year a deep purple huchera. The fern has maintained its tidy clump, and looked as fresh as it did in early summer until just a few weeks back- perhaps the end of November. I was so impressed with this fern I added six more to the gardens.

Autumn Fern
I wasn't too surprised to see how well this fern performed because I have been growing it for years in my Ault Park garden and it did superbly there for years. Therefore it was without hesitation that I planted six in the courtyard garden this year. What attracts most gardeners, myself included, to this fern is that it emerges in early spring to showoff a gorgeous burnt orange to copper color. Then, over the summer, it transitions to green. It's wonderful twist on our expected green in the spring to fall colors in autumn.

How Do You Know?
How do you know what you need to test with a single plant and what you can add multiples of in a garden? Experience, plain and simple. I have been gardening for over 20 years and in those years I've worked with a wide variety of plants, as have the designers our company. Should l come across a plant I have no personal experience with I turn to the other two designers or if need be my extended network of horticultural professionals for advice.
That's why even experienced gardeners call us- for the insight and expertise that comes from working with the plants, not just reading about them.

Call us today for a garden walkabout to explore all the possibilities in your landscape. ~Jennifer

FALLING INTO WINTER AT THE GARDENS When the Muhly grass was in full color earlier this summer, the gardens were glowing pink and I thought to myself, It won't get much better than this. Then yesterday, as I walked about the gardens, I noticed that the pink had faded to a soft golden tan. I was smitten, again.

After a summer of riotous color followed by autumn with its brilliant color palette, the calm earth tones of the gardens were exactly what I needed. This is why, my friends, we add grasses, shrubs and trees to the gardens. As the seasons transition so do our thoughtfully selected plants. We plant trees with exfoliating bark to add incredible interest to the winter garden, shrubs that come into full glory in the fall with purple or bright orange berries and of course, shrubs that drop their summer foliage to reveal twigs blazing red and orange.

Carefully selected plants, just like this Muhly grass can carry us from season to season.
Call us, and we can help you add plants with four season interest.
P.S.- Now is the perfect time to plant trees. There is less stress on the plant and there is minimal maintenance/care involved with a fall planted tree. Call us, we'd love to hear from you! 271-2332


4 REASONS WHY WE LOVE WINTER TREE PLANTING Planting trees now, in the late fall and into winter, is a wonderful idea. The timing is perfect and a new tree adds value and visual interest to your landscape.

Here are four reasons why we love planting trees now.

Less Stress
In the cool of winter, trees and shrubs are under far less stress. This makes now the ideal time to install them in the landscape. Deciduous trees may have already dropped their leaves, making it easier to apply the light pruning that often accompanies a planting. And while some water is needed, far less is required in the fall during root production than in the spring when the tree is producing roots as well as leaves.

Improving Winter Interest
The best time to improve upon your landscape’s winter interest is, well, when it’s winter. A design consultant will evaluate the landscape to find the ideal locations in which the addition of a tree or shrub will have the greatest impact in the winter as well as the summer garden.

Fewer Hazards Underfoot
Don’t step there! How many times have we said that as gardeners? In the growing season, especially early spring when new plants are just below the surface, making it impossible to see their new growth, it’s easy to cause damage in the garden when installing new shrubs and trees. In the winter, however, when perennials have been cut back and plants are dormant, it’s far easier to walk about an established bed to plant a new tree.

Jump On Spring
When starting a new garden bed, it’s important to focus on the structure, the bones of the garden. By planting the trees and shrubs in the winter- the structure is set and waiting, come spring, for the supporting characters- your perennials and annuals.

Call us to schedule a free Garden Walkabout where we can help you find the perfect tree to add to your landscape, now.

ONE-ON-ONE - CONNIE BRASINGTON Connie Brasington - Office Manager
Connie has been part of our team since 1996. She started as a part time employee answering phones and typing estimates. In 1997 she accepted the Office Manager position. She manages our daily office operations, from customer service, accounts payable/receivables and even playing chef at our company lunches.

It’s difficult to imagine that any day is typical at Wimberg Landscaping.
You’re correct about that, and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy what I do so much. My day starts early: sometimes before the sun is up to help get the crews out the door and to the clients’ homes. Purchase Orders are needed, special instructions, equipment, supplies: all are distributed as needed to start the new work day. Then it’s to the phones. I’m certain that one of the reasons we have so many long-term customers is that we talk to our clients in person or on the phone. We try to handle all the calls as they come in rather then direct them to a voicemail maze. In between phone calls I’m working on our billing, posting accounts payable, filing, handling special orders and special projects and on and on. We are very busy in the office but we still find time to drink a cup of coffee and share a funny story or two.

While you don't spend a lot of time at the job sites, do you get a feel for the projects we install, including the plants?
Most definitely. We see plans and pictures and hear conversations about the projects. When billing a project we see the plant list and I’m often enticed to research the plants online. I’m always learning about new plant material from the designs as well as popping out to the hoop house to see what’s being staged for installation. In the spring, the yard is full of plants, it’s just beautiful!

Does this inspiration and interest in plants spill into your own landscape?
In the twenty years of working with Wimberg Landscaping I've learned so much about plants, where and how to grow them, hardscapes, the different designs and different materials used as well as irrigation. Peter once invited an arborist to attend our weekly meeting and demonstrate the proper way to prune shrubs and trees. I was able to use that information in my own garden. I've had the opportunity of speaking to a designer on a daily basis, and had one of our designers redesign my front landscape beds. I also plant a vegetable garden.

What do you enjoy most about working at Wimberg Landscaping?
My co-workers are wonderful and our leadership team is great! I love the friendly and fun atmosphere. At our weekly company meeting Peter is always challenging us to go above and beyond with our work. Leadership tries to do things that are out of the ordinary, I believe, for a typical company such as company lunches, group outings to Reds games and acknowledging each employee's achievements.

What separates us from the competition?
I am still surprised at how often we are the only landscaping firm to return a potential client’s call. Needless to say, they soon become our client. New clients share that our professionalism is above par, our service is very good and we simply have far more knowledge than other companies. Therefore, it’s not surprising to have customers that have retained our services for over 20 years. Speaking with them over the phone I feel like we are old friends, although we have never met face-to-face. Keeping a relationship with people we serve is what Wimberg is all about.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I relax in the evenings by working in my garden or weeding my flower beds, volunteering at church and spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren.

IN THE WINTER GARDEN Most of us, when we are looking for plants to add to our gardens, consider a plant's leaves, flowers and texture. Then we determine if it's well suite for our site and will enhance what we already have planted. But what if we added winter interest to that list?

Does the plant have an interesting shape revealed when its leaves fall after the first cold snap? Are the spent flowers attractive? Do seed heads give the plant a new second life of visual interest in the garden?

I came upon these plants in the gardens yesterday. I'm sure few gardeners planted Ligularias for their spent flowers, but maybe they should. Also offering wonderful winter interest in the gardens are hostas and Japanese Iris.

Maybe we shouldn't be so eager to cut it all back come fall. Let our pruners rest a little bit longer.

~~ Jennifer
Do you have garden questions or would you like a consultation? Contact me at Wimberg Landscaping. jsmith@wimbergco.com or call us.

ONE-ON-ONE WITH JOHN WIMBERG Tell us about how you came to work with Wimberg Landscaping and your ongoing career with the company.

I started working with Wimberg Landscaping in high school and continued through college. Wimberg Landscaping was growing, becoming a solid company and one that I saw could be a long-term possibility for me. I rather enjoyed the work I was doing and Pete was committed to growing the company. As it turned out, I never have had another job, or perhaps I should say, I have never worked for another company. In fact, I never even interviewed for a different job when I graduated with a finance degree from Xavier University.

Pete and I settled into our respective roles with ease. I always handled the lawn end and Pete took the landscaping side. I was out mowing lawns until about 1990. Once we started running multiple crews it became necessary to move into a supervisory role. I have also handled running the snow service.

What changes have you seen in the landscaping industry over the years?
Computers have made the biggest difference in running the company. We used to do everything manually. The mowers are generally the same as they were 20 years ago other than the hydraulic drive which makes them a lot easier to handle.

There are a lot of fly-by-night companies in this industry- how does Wimberg Landscaping continue to grow and maintain a stellar reputation in the community?
We separate ourselves from other companies through extra attention to customer service, reliability and a professional appearance.

When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy golfing, playing the guitar, biking, listening to music, watching sports- especially Xavier basketball- and spending time with my family including our four grandchildren.


Get a jump on spring with a pinefine amendments and pine straw mulching. “There is a bit of a science to mulching,” explains Pete Wimberg. “We don't want to smother the garden and trap in the extra water it receives in the the winter, but we do want to amend the soil, take measures to suppress weed germination and protect exposed soil and plants from winter winds and the cold.”

The solution- pinefine amendments to enrich the soil topped with pine straw.

The amendments will enrich the soil, naturally, while the pine straw prevents rains and melting snow (should we have snow this year) from washing away the top layer of organic-rich soil. The pines straw locks into place so it doesn't wash away, and is light enough to allow for air and water circulation. Come spring, unlike hardwood mulch which can form an impermeable barrier to the spring’s warmer temperatures, pine straw allows the soil to dry out and warm up while still suppressing weed germination.

“In landscapes such as mine, the plants easily grow through the pine straw in the spring. I plant thick, so there is no need to replenish the mulch come spring,” Pete shares.

Now is the perfect time for our teams to set a layer of pinefine amendments and pine straw in your gardens. Schedule today, before snow blankets the gardens.


An ornamental tree in the landscape can be a great value or a liability, depending on how well it is cared for. Many ornamental trees are selected for their architectural value being that the shape of the tree, from its trunk to its branches has more visual appeal than perhaps even its foliage. The form of such a tree can be easily lost if it's left to its own devices.

When we evaluate a tree for trimming we look at its overall shape and form. We then look to ensure it’s not encroaching on the home. We also look for growth that may jeopardize the health of the plant, such as crossing branches, branches that are rubbing, water sprouts and damage from storms and insects that may have gone unnoticed in the summer.

Is you landscape lacking such a tree? Here are a few favorites to add winter interest to the garden.
Exfoliating bark - Paperbark Maple
Contorted branches- Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Exaggerated catkins- Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Great architectural shape- Japanese Maple
Bright color- Red twig dogwood (shrub)
Light, airy feel - Sweetbay magnolia

Gorgeous berries - more of a shrub, but a must-have in the garden, Pyracantha, Firethornbush

Trees are an investment in our landscape and the value of our property. We can help you ensure they are healthy and attractive. Call today to meet with an consultant or to schedule a tree pruning.


If there was ever a poster plant for invasive, thuggish, regrettable plants introduced into the landscape, honeysuckle would be it. It leafs out early and blocks the sun's light from spring ephemerals, its low-nutrient berries are consumed by birds that distribute the seeds, and it holds its leaves later than any other plant, again choking out light to desirable plants. And it’s not even attractive.

With so many attractive, beneficial trees and shrubs to incorporate into your garden, why not rid your landscape of this horrific invasive and add something that you will truly enjoy.

(Left) Callicarpa americana AKA Beautyberry is just that, a beauty.

Now is the perfect time to have us remove the honeysuckle shrubs and evaluate your landscape for more appropriate plants. Call us today.

NOTES FROM THE GARDEN - BETTMAN With my wheelbarrow rehabilitated, I was moving pinefine amendments with ease Sunday morning. The colors in the gardens were gorgeous- golds and burnt orange everywhere. The woods and gardens seemed to glow. It looked like fall, but felt like spring.

Like every gardener and every gardener's garden, I have spots within the Bettman gardens that have given me fits or have not inspired me. The raised bed is such a spot. The garden has been mulched into submission over the years. The first year I removed 'dead' mulch and tilled the soil a bit. The second year I added some plants but for the most part, things just sat there.

Your landscape designer will often recommend taking out a garden, saving plants if you like, amending the soil and planting fresh. What I am experiencing with this garden is the reason why. To set a garden on a path to success, sometimes you need to turn and amend the soil to create a solid foundation in which to grow your plants.

So, at last I’ve turned in 6 wheelbarrow loads of pinefine amendments. The only plants I left in were the Alliums and some Nepeta as well as some Lavenders that I treat as annuals along the edge. Before I plant I will work in some manure and more pine fines, if the slope of the garden can accommodate. You see, a garden such as this should have a slope to display the plants along the back, but not so much of a slope to cause erosion during a hard rain.

~ Jennifer

To learn more about Wimberg Landscaping and to schedule a time to meet with one of our garden professionals, visit out website, today.

THREE THINGS PROFESSIONAL GARDENERS ALWAYS NOTICE Garden professionals such as the Wimberg Landscaping maintenance teams, see the landscape differently. They have the ability to assess the condition of your property as it relates to what needs to be addressed today as well as what we need to plan for in the future. So what are the first things our maintenance professionals see?
The condition of the groundcover is one of the first things to catch a trained gardener’s attention. In Cincinnati, where hills dominate the landscape, groundcover is an oft-used plant material.

“When English Ivy is well manicured so it’s not obstructing walkways and staircases and the new growth is kept in check so not to diminish from the clean, almost carpet-like appearance of the ivy, it’s wonderful. When it’s left to do as it pleases, it can completely diminish the overall appearance of a landscape, no matter how well maintained the rest may be,” shares Mike Pringle, a maintenance team leader with Wimberg Landscaping.

The impact, for the good or detriment of a garden, that groundcover has is why our teams allocate time at each call for its maintenance.


Maintaining a clean, crisp distinction between a garden bed and a lawn is not an option, it’s a necessity for keeping a landscape looking good. “You don’t need to be a professional gardener to know when something is unkempt and ratty. A messy edge is an easy thing spot,” Lisa Knapp, maintenance expert shares.

The lines of a garden bed, whether they are straight or curved as well as beds abutting hardscapes, are thoughtfully designed. There's a reason why a bed is curved or straight; the lines of the beds are key design elements and once they are left to blur, with grass creeping in the the bed or weeds obscuring the once tidy edging, the design element is lost.

Neglected Pruning
Pruning is not a difficult garden task, but it’s certainly an intimidating one. Some trees and shrubs can be very forgiving when it comes to pruning, others demand a bit more thought before a cut is made. “Neglecting the pruning of trees and shrubs can go unnoticed for a year or two by many, but a trained gardener, such as myself, can immediately see the negative impact on the plant,” says Rob Garcia, maintenance team leader. “When maintenance pruning is skipped, branches may start to rub, causing injury to the plant, suckers and water sprouts emerge which destroy the aesthetics of a tree and what can be very concerning to a homeowner--trees and shrubs rubbing or growing over a a home.”

Autumn is great time to prune trees and shrubs. The plants are moving into hibernation, reducing stress on the plant when cuts are made. Also the architecture of a deciduous plant is completely revealed, making it easier to ascertain where cuts should be made for the health of the plant as well as its physical appearance in the landscape.

Do your trees and shrubs need pruning Not sure? Call us, we can help.

3 SHADE GARDEN DESIGN INSIGHTS Oftentimes, extra effort is taken in the design of a shade garden, especially one that is a bit removed from the house, to draw visitors in. The garden can showcase an excellent collection of plants of varying foliage and texture but the garden in its entirety can be easily overlooked when viewed from afar. Here are three design tips to draw attention to your shade garden.

Lighten Up!

Shade gardens rely heavily on foliage and texture and thus, the color green. Shade gardens are admired for their calming, soothing tones and sanctuary from the heat of summer. So how do you get your shade garden of tranquility noticed? Add white. White flowers and foliage in a shade garden pops, it almost glows. The contrast of white impatiens against hostas, astilbe foliage and ligularia leaves is striking. If your garden can’t support impatiens, consider planting them in recessed pots within soil that is replaced each year. If white is too much of a contrast, consider adding plants with pale to lime green foliage. The early foliage of Aralia cordata 'Sun King' lightens a dark shade garden as does the gently arching blades of Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'. Coleus is available in a dizzying array of colors with wildly imaginative leaf margins. A coleus with splashes of lime green will definitely pop in a shade garden and draw you in.

Call Them In
Sight is not the only sense that is triggered by a garden. Scents can draw us in and even have us stopping mid-stride to inhale an intoxicating aroma. Have you considered appealing to your sense of sound? The gentle gurgle or splash of a fountain is soothing and most attractive in any setting. If a water feature is not an option, consider the deeper tones of a wind chime: metal or bamboo.

Rest Easy
Successfully designed gardens, be it a large garden estate or a cozy balcony garden have vignettes: small areas of design to attract the eye and draw the visitor in. This can be as grand as a long, impeccably manicured yew alley ending at a statue or a cedar bench approached by a stone path of a lighter color. In both cases, the lines of the main elements- the yew hedge or the stone garden path- direct our eye to the final element we are compelled to examine more closely- the statue or bench.

Not sure which direction is best for your shade garden? No worries, we can help. Call today to schedule a garden walkabout. 513-271-2332

THE VERY WET GARDEN Take caution before you dig. With all the rain we had last night and Sunday the gardens may be exceptionally wet and a bit dangerous should your landscape have hills and steep slopes.

It’s tempting to inspect the gardens after the storm we had last night, to see what was damaged, if limbs dropped and to pull a few weeds: wet soil makes weeding a dream. However, if your garden is on the soggy, waterlogged side you may do more harm than good trekking about in your mud-caked boots.

Walking about overly wet soil can undo all your good work of amending and loosening the soil. If your garden soil is in tip-top shape, you don't want to compact it by stepping on it. First, grab a handful of soil and see if it’s sopping or just simply wet. If your soil has been cared for well, it will drain in short order and soon be ready for your garden chores.

If you soil is mucky and very wet, don't start digging until it’s had a chance to drain. And, since you can see how wet it remains, consider amending your soil so when the next big rain comes, your garden will be better prepared to handle the excess water.

NOTES FROM THE GARDENS - PETE'S GARDEN We are shifting gears quickly at the shop. We are still managing new landscape and hardscape installations, but we are also closing up gardens and handling leaf removal. The fall garden chore season is definitely upon us. In my gardens at home, it’s a bit of a different story.

As you know, my landscape is all gardens, very natural gardens, with no lawn in sight. I incorporate many native plants and allow all of my plants to do as they would naturally: there's very little control and regimented formation and communities. For the type of landscape I’m cultivating in my yard, I have to let nature takes its course as much as possible for it to be a successful nature-inspired garden. So, now is not the time to cut.

Jennifer, one of our horticulturalists, was out today for a tour. She works with our maintenance team and I could tell she wanted to clean up some of the spent ferns, maybe deadhead a few plants--it’s in her nature and part of her job. But this is one garden where I tell the maintenance teams to hold off a bit longer. Each fall I let the garden shut down on its own. The asters may be done blooming, but it’s quite interesting to see the form of the plants contrasted with others in the garden. The structure, or what we sometimes call architecture, can really be appreciated. No longer are leaves and flowers obscuring the view and distracting us. Now, only the bare bones of each plant, the garden itself, is finally on display to study and admire.

After a hard frost, then I will have it cut back and blanked with a fresh layer of pinestraw for the winter. Come spring, the straw is left as is and plants that were once slumbering, awaken and easily grow through the layer of needles, just as nature intended.

~ Pete Wimberg

LEAF REMOVAL It’s that time of year again! Fall has arrived and so have the colorful leaves covering every inch of our yards. Save yourself the energy, backache and time that could be spent with family and friends and let us tackle those leaves. Prompt leaf removal is crucial to the overall health of your landscape. Fallen leaves can smother a lawn and plants.

“Fall leaves are a balancing act,” Pete Wimberg shares. “A few in the garden can insulate plants susceptible to frost damage, or the harmful effects of heaving soil. But, too thick of a leaf covering can choke a garden and wreak havoc on a healthy lawn.”

Pete recommends clients schedule fall leaf removal to ensure leaf foliage doesn't become a liability in the landscape. Our maintenance teams can identify plants that need winter protection and deal with those accordingly. If the leaf litter is not too thick, our mowers can mulch the leaves; depositing them on the lawn as organic nutrients.

If you have not already, now is the time to schedule your leaf removal.

WHY MAINTENANCE MATTERS Wimberg Landscaping has four maintenance teams, each led by a seasoned professional whose years of experience makes them ideally suited to care for a landscape from maintaining its design integrity to identifying and treating potential hazards such as pests and diseases.

“Maintenance is more than weeding, even though that can be quite a chore, it’s understanding how a garden evolves and knowing how to care for it accordingly,” shares Jennifer Smith, Horticulturist and Client Services Representative. “Our maintenance teams look at the aesthetics of a garden as well as plant health, identifying when perennials need to be divided and when and how to trim trees and shrubs.” -Steve and Dan

"An often overlooked but just as important responsibility of the maintenance teams is looking at the big picture of a landscape,” Jennifer shares. And by that she means knowing how the garden will evolve such as when a tree matures and the somewhat sunny garden is now a shade garden, our how a yard once meant for kids is now ready to be transformed into a garden for adults. “Our maintenance teams become very familiar with the landscapes they maintain and build good relationships with our clients. That enables us to see what new projects need to be taken under advisement such as a new patio area, extending garden beds or overhauling a design that has served its purpose. We understand what the landscape needs and know the homeowners’ expectations for that landscape.” -B.J

Handing Off
"What makes our landscapes successful is our teams working together. A maintenance team will identify new projects in the garden and loop in a designer who works with the clients to set the new project in motion.
Our mowing teams alert us to beds that need hard edging, lawns that need weed and pest control and even trees that need limbing up or removed."-Rob

Where to Begin
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by your yard and don't know what should be tackled first- new gardens, tree maintenance or the addition of a new hardscape for a patio, grille or walkways, schedule a garden walkabout. “During the walkabout I learn what a homeowner would like their landscape to be in relationship to what is already there. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a good cleaning and tightening up of garden beds and other existing design elements. Other times, what a homeowner wants requires the expertise of one of our designers,” Jennifer shares. “In short, I help to find the solution in the chaos and organize the members of our teams that will create the landscape our clients desire.”-Nick

2 UNEXPECTED AND INVALUABLE GARDEN TOOLS Every gardener has a garden tool, or two, she can’t live without. Mine is my CobraHead and Felco Pruners. But this time of the year, as the gardens usher in their autumn colors and things start to slip into hibernation, I turn to my two must-have garden design tools: my camera and notebook.

I have faced enough spring days in the garden to know that I will not remember all I have planted, transplanted and grown in the gardens for years. I will forget the name of some plants, especially the variety, and I can promise you those plant tags will magically disappear over the winter.

Now that I am an older and wiser gardener, I bring my camera with me to the gardens just about every visit. With the advent of cell phone photography, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t be photographing your garden.

Here’s Why
It makes a record of your plants and their location. This is quite helpful when you want to start digging. And, on those winter days when we can’t tend to our gardens, we can study photos to decide what we can add, move and possibly edit.

Photos do a remarkable job of revealing what we can't see in person. In photos I notice where more plants should be added, where the greens are too similar and new textures and colors need to be interjected and where I need more height variations. I can see if plants are lost in the deep shade or if a color has taken over a garden.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to simply sit in the garden and think. I know it’s hard not to pull that weed or snip off a spent flower, but you need to be still to experience your garden. This is when I get the best ideas for new designs, additional gardens, new plants, sometimes even an art installation. But you have to give yourself time to let the ideas come and a notebook to record them in.

Record your ideas as well as your questions. When you meet with your landscape professional, you will want those questions handy to get the most out of your time together.

~~ Jennifer

3 KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL LANDSCAPE A successful landscape, meaning one that is healthy and attractive, comes down to three simple elements. No matter where you are gardening, your particular style or your experience level, a great garden is built on these three elements: soil, water and plant selection. These three elements do not work independently of each other. In fact, it’s how these three work, or don’t work, together that determines if a garden plan is a success or doomed to fail.

Soil is the foundation of the garden. Poor soil is a weak foundation leaving the gardener with a constant battle. Healthy soil, be it acidic, alkaline, clay- or sand-based is at the root (excuse the pun) of a thriving garden. We talked earlier about amending a clay-dominant, waterlogged garden. (See this post). The goal in making this soil viable was not to transform it to a different soil structure such as clay-rich to a sharply draining sandy soil, but to amend and improve upon what was there to begin with.

No garden can survive without water. We have used the term drought tolerant to such a degree in garden magazines and books that we may have led gardeners to believe that to mean water-free. Even the desert gardens of the West have some water, but they also have the soil, see above, and the plants, yet to come, that are ideally suited for such an environment. In Cincinnati, this is not us. We get rain, sometimes not a lot, but it rains. When we design according to the amended soil at hand, we will be using plants that require some amount of watering. This is why landscape professionals such as ourselves, stress to our homeowners the importance of built-in irrigation. Today’s systems allow us to divide the landscape into zones and set the amount of water going to said zones accordingly. As a result each area gets the exact amount of water it needs: no more, no less. If your landscape calls for a moist, shade garden, we can set the system for more water. Conversely, if your sunny, raised rock garden only needs a little drink now and again, the system will accommodate. Now that we have married the soil structure with reasonable watering amounts, we can select the plants.

The right plant for the location is key! Let’s say we have amended our wet, clay soil to create an organically rich soil, and our irrigation is set to ensure the moisture level remains consistent. Now we can select our plants. Ligularias will thrive if tucked in the shade as will ferns and hostas. In a sunny, raised rock garden with minimal watering, our lantanas, sedums and lavenders will thrive. Beyond water and soil requirements, we must also consider the growth habit of a plant- will it reach 50 plus feet, or will it create a marvelous mound with long weeping branches?

Understanding a plant at its maturity as well as its water and soil requirements makes it possible to create a successful garden.

Stumped? Not sure where to begin? Call us to schedule a garden walkabout. We will evaluate your property and set you on the path to success.

~ Jennifer

NOTES FROM THE GARDENS - 5 WINNING PLANTS FROM BETTMAN Bettman has been an interesting place to garden these past three years. I head to the garden as often as I can, admittedly far more often at the first signs of spring and less often as autumn settles in. I have to hand water, which is less than ideal. Since it’s located in a nature preserve I have my fair share of deer to deter. I inherited some plants, brought in some from my gardens at Ault Park and of course, spent all my lunch money on new plants. Where I could, I’ve amended the soil with ample helpings of pinefines.

Here are the 5 plants that have caught my attention not only because they are fabulous to look at, but have thrived under less than ideal circumstances.

Ligularias As a co-worker pointed out this morning, I have a thing for this plant. True. The garden had a stand growing in clay, in a rather sunny area of the garden. Yet they carried on, without a lot of attention for many years. Over the past three years I have relocated many, first amending the soil to loosen the mucky, stinky, sopping soil (did I mention the garden was a bit wet?) and spot-watered whenever I came to visit or work. The Ligularias look fabulous, have gorgeous leaves and interesting flowers and seed-heads.

Pulmonarias The courtyard garden had an abundance of pulmonarias when I adopted it three years ago. Over the years I have transplanted a few, dispersing them throughout the garden without fail. They settle into their new spot in the courtyard and carry on as if nothing has happened. Their purple and pink blooms in early spring are a very welcome sight after our gray winters and their variegated leaves do a remarkable job of brightening shady spots in the garden. And, they are deer resistant.

Aralia Sun King I plan to add more, many more. I don’t see this plant in many gardens, which I like. It starts a golden color that pops against the expected green hues of a shade garden. As autumn approached, the leaves turned a deeper green. In late summer tiny white flowers bloom and give way to clusters of berries for the birds’ enjoyment. It’s deer resistant, never looks stressed, raggedy or wilted and has a substantial enough form to add much needed visual weight to the garden.

Oakleaf Hydrangea How do you get visitors to look way to the back corner of the garden? You plant an Oakleaf. It has been nibbled a few times by the deer- they seem to relish the younger shoots. But the plant has withstood the grazing and is turning into a lovely specimen. It looks fine against the brick wall and anchors the back area of the courtyard nicely. As it matures, its leaves will increase in size and add a splash of copper, rust and red to the autumn garden.

Japanese Beech Fern I planted one three years ago and it was beyond stellar. It is thick, lush, upright, clean, never looks burned or stressed in the summer and came back in full force the third year. So, this year I added six more!

3 TIPS FOR DIVIDING PERENNIALS This time of year many gardeners are asking: Do I need to divide my perennials? How do I divide my perennials? And the most honest question of all- so what’s the worst thing that will happen if I don’t divide them?

Why we divide perennials is as important as when we divide them. Dividing perennials goes a long way to ensuring their longevity. Tight clumps can become weak or unsightly. Flag iris, for example, will form a large mass of plants and over time, develop a void in the middle, an area of no vegetation. Some plants, such as hostas can simply outgrow their allotted space or become too dominant in the landscape. Lily of the Valley can take over an area, and worse, escape into the lawn or area of a garden where ground cover is not desired.

Simply put, dividing perennials helps us to manage the plants' growth, maintain the aesthetics of our landscape and provide plants for new gardens or to swap with other gardeners to expand our plant collection.

What To Divide
You can divide just about anything. Plants with exceptionally deep, substantial root systems do not like to be divided, such as Baptisia. If you are uncertain, call a professional or do as many of us did when we were cutting our garden teeth- experiment.

Divide plants that are cramped, showing signs of stress, are jumping their boundaries or are developing bald spots in the middle of the clump. Another rule of thumb, when the plants look perfect- it's time to divide. If it looks great now, next season the plants may be too large for the garden plan.

Don't divide as winter is knocking on the garden gate- your newly divided plants won't have time to establish themselves in their new location.
Avoid the hot days of summer when there is already enough stress on the plants.
If it’s blooming, let it be!

Using a clean, sharp shovel dig around the drip-line of the plant.
If the plant has an exceptionally tight root clump, slice it with a shovel or use a saw. I have taken saws to massively overgrown hostas. As long as I left enough roots for each eye, the hostas came back without worry.
Some plants you can see a tangle of roots. Here’s a good time to use two clean garden forks to pry apart the mass.
Other plants you will see have developed individual plants and root systems that can be easily pulled apart.

Have your planting area prepped and waiting for the new divisions, water in well and don't let it dry out!

PLANTS OF NOTE - MUHLY GRASS The first time I planted Muhlenbergia capillaris, AKA Muhly Grass was in the Adopt-a-Plot Focal Garden in Ault Park. I was already smitten with this tidy clumping grass, but it wasn't until I saw it in the garden that I knew this was a stellar plant.

When you approach the garden from the street or across the Great Lawn and down the stairs, this grass appears to glow in the morning and evening sun. It's one of the handful of plants in the gardens that makes people stop and ask, What is this!?

Unlike many perennials and shrubs that we rely on for gorgeous fall colors of rust, copper and burgundy, Muhly grass delivers colors of pink. In the Wimberg Focal Garden, the pink plumes of the Muhly grass is an excellent complement to the purple of the 'Little Spire' Russian Sage, the silvery white of the Lambs' ears and the burgundy of the Shenandoah Switch Grass.

Thoughtful Planting Required
To help your Muhly Grass perform at its best, there are a few steps you should take.
- Plant in full sun. It will tolerate part sun, but it's at its best in full sun.
- Well draining soil. This grass doesn't like cold, wet feet in the winter. A surefire way to turn this perennial into an annual is to plant it in heavy, poorly draining soil that's too wet, especially in the winter.
- Muhly Grass tolerates drought and prefers to dry out in-between watering, especially if it's grown in a container.

More Facts
Height and width: 2-3 feet
Planting time: Ideally, early spring
Great for winter interest, naturalizing and tolerating dry spells in the landscape. Cut back in early spring, once the blades look tattered and worn. Propagate by division.
USDA Zones: 5-9

Personal Observations
I treat this perennial grass as an annual. It has been returning year-after-year in the Focal Garden, but I am also replacing a few here and there. Reason may simply be the soil needs more amendments or it gets too much water in the summer. When I balance how amazing this specimen looks this time of the year and that I may need to replace a few come spring it's easily worth it.

ARE YOU WATERING ENOUGH? Walks around the neighborhood and trips to my gardens have proven one thing, you are not watering enough. Is she talking about watering again? Yes! Because it's that important

Watering By Hand- Why I Love and Hate It
I water by hand. Do I enjoy it, sometimes. Is it a good idea? Most of the time, no. I love hand watering because it gives me an excuse to go to the gardens to "work." I also like hand watering for new gardeners because if you really look at how you water, how the water reacts to the soil and then evaluate your watering with test digs, you see first-hand what it takes to water a garden well.

I do not like hand watering for those who hire professionals to manage their landscapes. Chances are, if you have a company caring for your yard, you don't have the time, consistently, to care for your yard including watering, as it needs to be watered all season long. Proper watering for the trees, shrubs, lawn gardens, even the home's foundation is in jeopardy if left to hand watering by a busy family.

Your landscape needs 1-2 inches of water a week. Of course if it's hot, dry, windy, you have a young landscape, new trees and shrubs, you may need more water.

My Watering Tests
With a rain head attachment, water a spot in your garden until you feel like it's enough. While watering, look to see if water is soaking in immediately or running off and pooling in areas around the garden.
When I hand water most parts of the courtyard in my garden, the water immediately soaks in because I spent a lot of time amending the soil. The mulch never gets tight and dry, impeding the absorption of water, and the soil is amended to easily accept new water.
Test dig. How far has the water saturated the soil? The deeper the better. We want roots, especially of trees, shrubs and perennials to penetrate deep into the soil where they are less likely to dry out. If you water too little, roots grow shallow, close to the surface putting undue stress on the plant and may lead to its death.

The Sprinkler
Turn it on as long as you normally would but place a water gauge in the area, first. After you are done with your normal watering protocol, check the amount of water in the gauge. Now, do a few test digs. Did the amount of water recorded by the gauge actually soak into the ground or did it run off? Did you water long enough to distribute enough water into the gardens?

What To Do
Care for your soil. Amend it, loosen it, create a soil structure that allows for excellent drainage and air circulation.
Fluff your mulch, use pine straw or, if the topography is flat, use pine fines.
Consider built-in irrigation. We will create zones within the landscape so each area is watered as it should be, no more no less.

NOTES FROM THE GARDENS- YUCCAS!! There are not many times you will hear gardeners say they love yuccas. Unless, perhaps it's a variety like Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard'. Reason being, yuccas can be a bit thuggish in the landscape. I wouldn't say they take over and run rampant, but they definitely hold their ground and then some. If you want to change your mind about having a yucca, or just want to move it, it will leave its calling card behind and you will likely find more yuccas popping up in short order. On the other hand, if you plant a variegated yucca, like 'Color Gaurd' you may find yourself a bit smitten. I added some to the Wimberg Focal Garden at Ault Park as well as the Bettman gardens. I've had quite a few visitors say something to the effect of, "I'm not a fan of yuccas, but these I like!"

The gold and green foliage adds light to the garden. When the sun shines on them it's almost like stained glass. There are few plants that have their unique erect, orderly architectural look. Their shape contrast quite well with cascading plants or those that sway in the breeze.

They love the sun, will tolerate some shade and they are not fickle about soil, just make sure it drains well.

Just the Facts
USDA Zones: 4-10
Height: 3-6 feet
Spread: 2-3 feet
Creamy white blooms on tall stalks come June and July
Evergreen and attracts butterflies, which is lovely.

CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE There are garden trends and then there are garden movements. Trends are hot for a moment then slip out of the spotlight when something new comes around. Movements take root (excuse the garden pun) and slowly establish a strong following of thoughtful gardeners and landscape designers working to improve our garden experience. More recent movements have gardens becoming more align with nature.

One such movement is the transition of lawns to gardens, often times, edible gardens. Extreme adopters of the movement have taken the stance that all lawns are bad and should be eliminated. But that may not be an obtainable goal according to many landscape professionals. “I often find in landscape movements, as with just about anything in life, the extreme is never realistic,” explains Pete Wimberg. “Somewhere in the middle is where most homeowners will fall; between being solely driven by our lawns and a desire to create a more natural landscape.”

In Defense of the Lawn
In full disclosure Wimebrg Landscaping offers a lawn care service. This business track is driven not by the company, but by a realistic, practical desire of their clients to have a place to play with their kids, have a picnic, let their pets roam or just enjoy the feeling of grass on their bare feet. “From a design point of view, a lawn does a remarkable job of accentuating a garden. Curved, neatly edged lawns lead us around a landscape taking us from point to point within the landscape,” Pete explains. “Or, as often seen in British gardens, a lawn balances out the lushly planted, very generously sized border gardens. When done well, the lawn and garden balance each other.”

Moving Beyond the Lawn
There are clear signs a homeowner is ready to move away from the lawn. If the time and cost of maintaining the lawn is not in balance with the enjoyment created by the lawn, it’s time to rethink the landscape. Or when homeowners are battling a steep hill, quite common in Cincinnati, the lawn isn’t used for play as it was in the past, or they are simply looking for something new, the lawn can go. Such was the case for Pete, who transformed his front lawn into a naturalistic landscape.

A desire to do something different, beyond the norm that he saw on his daily commute, motivated Pete to abandon his front lawn for a naturalistic garden planting. “I wanted something that stood out when people drove by.” He wanted to stand out against the landscapes he likens to a making a living: very planned, always the same and not a reflection of the people living there. As he sees it, “The great landscapes stand out when you find them.” It was more than a desire to ‘be different’ that drove Pete to ditch the lawn, “I simply like plants more than I like lawns,” he shares. “I like to try different plants in my garden. If they make it, great, if not, I move on to something else. I wish I had 10 times the space to try more. I see many plants I wish I could have.”

Naturally Inspired
Pete’s love of plants, particularly native plants, is nurtured by his time in the woods. Be it on his bike, exploring trails in the Smokey Mountains or walking around the local park, being close to native habitats inspires his plant selection for his own garden’s design. “I think it's almost impossible to replicate what we see in nature in a residential landscape by purposefully planting it,” Pete is quick to admit. “Nature just does a better job of dispersing the plants but we can get close and have fun doing it.” And what does he like to plant when he’s pulling inspiration from nature? “I want ferns and wild flowers and grasses and flowering shrubs, and lots of them. I'd rather prune and pull weeds and divide plants than mow a lawn. It’s just more fun and peaceful.”

Degrees of Nature
A designer must ascertain to what degree a client wants and understands a natural garden to be. A garden can be seeded with wildflowers and left to fend for itself or a far more formal design is adopted employing native plants. Somewhere in the middle is where most people desiring a natural garden settle. An intermingled garden gives the illusion of a naturally occurring landscape, but it’s actually very thoughtfully designed and maintained. “The intermingled garden allows for generous plant communities somewhat mixing without looking like a garden has been abandoned,” explains Pete. “I think it’s natural for people to want a bit of order in their gardens.”

As for Pete’s garden, it leans a bit more towards the natural garden. “My weekly tinkering in the garden keeps things mostly in check, and I’m able to remove obnoxious weeds and interlopers. But for the most part, the garden is dictating the terms of the arrangement and I’m simply along for the ride.”

Unlike a traditional foundation planting bed that maintains a steady note throughout the year, a nature-inspired garden is constantly evolving throughout the season and over the years. “I like how mine changes from spring to summer to fall to winter, from nothing to everything and back to nothing,” Pete shares. “I like that it's big! Big groups of plants. Tall plants. Plants that could take over. I like that it's not perfect and never will be. It will always be a work in progress and there is always something to do. It's not just a lot of mulch. Almost every space is filled. I like that.”

PLANTS OF NOTE: CALLICARPA AMERICANA Every year gardeners stand with hands on hips wondering to themselves, "Why did I add this shrub to the garden?"
It's a bit boring in the spring and summer. It has clean green leaves, a nice cascading shape, but it gets lost, quite easily, in the garden. It makes us wonder if we wasted valuable garden real estate. Then this happens. The purple berries of Callicarpa americana are gorgeous. Just as other plants are turning brown or golds and copper tones, this summer shy shrub takes the spotlight with its stems bejeweled in purple berries.

This is why we study garden books and magazines, tour gardens or hire professionals- so we don't overlook a lackluster summer shrub that is, in fact, a real gem in the fall. A professional designer will place a plant like this in the ideal space in your landscape so that come fall you can enjoy its true beauty.

TO DEADHEAD OR NOT, THAT IS THE QUESTION I was at the gardens the other day with someone who wanted to cut back all the spent coneflowers. Some stems were a bit ratty and spent, but most were still nice looking with tight clusters of seeds. Others didn't have seeds but were still attractive to this gardener. But he wanted more order: no plants touching, nothing on the walk or hanging over the walk and no spent flowers.

So is he correct? Of course! ...NOT!

Hold Back on the Deadheading
Many plants have a second life of sorts with their spent flowers. What remains when a coneflower is done blooming is first, food for the birds and second winter interest. Gardens with winter interest rely heavily on spent flowers and stems, grasses (even if they start to fall a bit) as well as evergreen plants and ornamental elements.

The more natural garden look is tempting more gardeners to keep their perennials as-is until early spring. There is solid design reasoning behind not deadheading a garden as well as the added benefit of feeding the birds.

But what about this garden visitor?
Not everyone finds intermingled gardens attractive, especially one that has not been carefully groomed. Most likely this type of garden is more attractive to them when viewed from a distance, so they see the garden's textures, shapes and movement, not spent flowers.

If this sounds like you, we can design a more manicured garden around your home's entrance and outdoor living areas and incorporate a more naturalistic garden a bit removed from the house. This way, you can have both- your desire for order in the garden and a gorgeous winter garden that is a magnet for the birds

THREE THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU MEET YOUR LANDSCAPE DESIGNER Hiring a landscape designer is an exciting step. You are ready to bring your landscape to its full potential and you have an expert to guide you every step of the way. To make the experience a positive and successful one, there are few things you can do before you have your first meeting.

1) A skilled designer can create dozens of options for your landscape. The question is, what style are you desiring for your property? Do you prefer formal or relaxed? Manicured or more organic? Do you want to see a riot of color year-round or more of a tranquil setting of greens and distinct foliage? Find pictures of what you like and don't like- even if you don't know the reasoning behind the choices. Your designer will find the common thread of what you desire to create a plan that is ideal for you.

2) How do you see yourself using your property? Reading books or large family gatherings? Weekly neighborhood parties? Do your children need a place to play, dogs room to roam or is the goal minimal lawn and more gardens?

3) The Budget. Be open and honest. It's impossible to create a design without a budget in mind. Not knowing a budget could have a designer creating a plan that is less than impressive, thus disappointing the client or worse, presenting something that is beyond financially achievable and leaving the client frustrated. Your designer can not create a viable plan if she doesn't know what tools and resources she will have at her disposal such as plant and hardscape materials.

Trust your designer to use your budget wisely and efficiently.

PLANTS OF NOTE- PYRACANTHA, FIRETHORN BUSH Put on your toughest gloves and long sleeves, today we are taking a closer look at Pyracantha, also known as Firethorn Bush. What do we all crave in our landscape this time of year? Fall color, of course. Firethorn Bush has it with its vibrant orange berries. This handsome, underused plant sports glossy green leaves, wicked thorns and orange berries that are attractive in the landscape and to the birds.

While those oh-so-sharp thorns may make pruning a scary chore, when placed in the correct site, it can be left to grow as it likes: eliminating the need for pruning.

Pyracantha tolerates clay soils, a welcome quality in our area. For best results, plant in full to part sun and give it room to grow, if you want to avoid battling thorns. It prefers fertile, sharp-draining soil but as noted, will tolerate clay and drought.

Why We Love It
This shrub of year-round interest is great when planted en masse on a hillside or as an impenetrable barrier. It's also excellent when trained as an espalier on a wall or fence.

Just the Facts
Will reach 6-18 feet tall and wide
Spring blooms emerge on old growth
Year-round interest
Showy, fragrant flowers
Deer resistant
Drought resistant once established
Easy to care for
Grows well- good workhorse for the garden
Attracts birds
Cutting looks good in seasonal flower displays

NOTES FROM THE GARDENS From time-to-time we will share notes from our personal gardens such as plants we are finding to be invaluable, tips for helping the garden thrive as well as design tips. Today, Jennifer Smith shares her Notes From the Gardens. Perhaps the greatest lesson I've learned over the years is to take the time to prepare your soil. The foundation of any successful garden is its soil- it's the garden's lifeblood. A garden with carefully amended soil is far more forgiving of busy, absent-minded gardeners than a garden that has its roots in hard, dry, lifeless soil. Or, perhaps worse yet, soil that is sopping wet and cold. Case in point, my gardens at the Bettman Nature Preserve. For reasons I shall not bore you with, the courtyard garden has an area that was wet. No, it was beyond wet, it smelled like a bog. Fortunately the park provides me with a constant stream of pine fine amendments. I have come to love the sight of stacks of pine fine bags awaiting me in the parking lot. It's a lot of work, turning in the amendment, but the results speak for themselves.After turning in bags upon bags of pine fines, I started to install new plants. Immediately I noticed the impatiens added to the newly altered soil thrived. The same plants, from the same nursery planted the same day in the garden's original soil languished. The reason- the soil that was not altered was too wet and lacked air circulation and life. The amended soil drains much more freely and is teaming with worms. I even have more birds in the garden this year.

Take Away Put in the time and effort to prepare your garden's soil. If you don't have the time or energy to handle such a task, call us. I know it's not the most exciting part of a garden project, but you will be rewarded in spades with healthy, thriving plants. This is simply a step you can't afford to skip!

~ Jennifer Smith

THREE SIGNS IT'S TIME TO CALL THE PROFESSIONALS There comes a time in many dedicated gardeners' lives when we realize it's time to call in the professionals. We may have a wealth of knowledge acquired from years working in the soil, books and magazine read and classes attended, but one day, we look out at our landscape and sigh. A sigh that asks, Do I have the energy? The Lawn Who doesn't love a lush lawn with clean lines accentuating garden beds? However, not too many people say they love, utterly relish the idea of mowing, raking and feeding their lawns year-after-year. Many of our clients who enjoy spending time in their gardens are ready to hand over the lawn maintenance baton to us.

New Beds Let's be honest, removing sod, bringing in amended soil and prepping a space for a new garden is hard work. You need the correct equipment as well as time and physical strength. What is fun is planning a new garden, shopping for plants and installing them in your new light, organically rich soil.

More and more, homeowners are turning to professionals like Wimberg Landscaping to help with the heavy lifting. Working with a professional frees up more time and energy for what homeowners really love, working with their plants.

Watering Many gardeners start with hoses, sprinklers and watering cans. Hand watering is an excellent way for new gardeners to learn about their gardens and plants. But as the learning curve flattens, the time spent hand-watering becomes more of a chore than than a joy.

Professionally installed irrigation ensures your landscape is properly watered, saves time and money as well as conserves water all while letting you relax and enjoy the gardens without worry. We can help!

QUICK TIP- CLEANING DAYLILIES Here's a quick and easy way to keep your daylilies looking clean and healthy this fall.

Daylilies are a favorite amongst gardeners. Many bloom throughout the summer (with proper deadheading), their foliage looks soft and lush and they are pretty tough plants. They are more apt to forgive neglectful or absent-minded gardeners than other perennials.

However, this time of the year they can look a bit rough. After putting out fresh foliage and flowers all season, spent foliage is starting to become more prominent. Instead of cutting them back or just letting the plants become more unkempt, treat them to a little grooming

Stick your hands into the base of the plant and simple rake your finger up and through the foliage. Dead and dying leaves will pull out easily. Flower stems will also release with ease if they are sufficiently dry.

PLANTS OF NOTE - PRUNUS LAUROCERASUS, CHERRY LAUREL This plant of note is often called Cherry Laurel in Cincinnati, and is also referred to as English Laurel. Call it what you may, this shrub is finding a home in the Queen City landscape, and for good reason.

Cherry Laurel is a hardy, evergreen shrub that's at home in sun to part shade sites, but has been known to do well in full shade. It lends itself to just about any landscape style. Often used as a hedge on its own or as multi-specimen hedge row, the plant makes an excellent backdrop for a vignette. It's also used to mark the transition from one area of the garden into another.

Great Features
Gorgeous glossy, evergreen foliage.
Showy, fragrant flowers in the spring.
Berries come mid-summer that the birds adore

It gets how big?
Prunus laurocerasus: Mature size is 10-18’ tall with a spread to 20-25’, making it ideal as a hedge, screen or garden room wall.
Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken' is a bit more flexible in its design applications with a mature size of 3-4' tall and 6-8' wide.

FIVE RULES FOR MULCH Mulch is a valuable asset to the garden. When used correctly, it suppresses weeds, helps to keep the soil cool and promotes water retention. To benefit from its positive attributes it must be well maintained and used properly.

1) A Little is Good, a Lot is Not Mulch that is too thick can smother your garden's plants, trap too much moisture, especially during the spring thaw, and prevent valuable summer rains from penetrating into the soil. 3 inches is plenty.

2) Keep it Natural I once saw a pile of black mulch (why, why, why black?) and as a sprinkler soaked the pile, a black stream of water began draining from the base of the pile. While most dyes are safe, there are some sites claiming smaller batch companies may not be using non-toxic dyes. Safety aside, why introduce a dye to your garden? Consider pine fines or pine straw in lieu of mulch dyed black, red, or whatever color they come up with next.

3) Volcano Mulching You've seen it, the pile of mulch up the base of a tree. This excessive mulch traps water against the tree, potentially rotting the bark and leaving the tree susceptible to disease and pests. Over mulching can also starve the tree of oxygen. Too much mulch traps moisture which fills what would have been air cavities, essential for healthy roots. When oxygen levels drop, the plants suffer.

4) Hard Way to Go If you do anything in the garden, fluff your mulch! Hard, compact mulch does nothing for your garden. Rain will bead off like water on a duck's back, air circulation will be reduced and fungus and molds will be apt to develop. Simply loosening the mulch will do wonders for improved air and water circulation while giving you a true account of how much, if any, additional mulch is needed come spring and late fall.

5) Mulch Gardens Mulch is not the centerpiece of your landscape. If anything, as your garden matures, you should require less and less of it as plants mature and cover the entire surface of the garden. Instead of paying for a mulch bed, invest in more plants that will benefit you for years to come.

Do you have garden questions? Are you in need of some expert care of your lawn and garden? Give us a call! 271.2332

THREE THINGS TO DO NOW The ushering in of autumn does not translate to fewer landscape chores. If anything, there's more to do in the gardens. We see a sharp up-tick in maintenance visits- hours planned with our existing clients and calls from homeowners looking to help us lighten their load.

1) Watering. We can't stress this enough, thus the multiple posts on watering. Trees, shrubs and perennials still need consistent watering to keep them healthy. The last thing we want is to put undue stress on our landscape before we slip into winter.
If watering is becoming too much to handle, call us. We can evaluate your yard for irrigation, determine where and how many zones will benefit your landscape and get everything in place for you.

2) Mulching leaves. Do not wait until the trees are bare to start cleaning up the leaves. Waiting too long allows thick piles of leaves to accumulate on the lawn which may cause dead spots. Leaves accumulating in garden beds may smother plants.
If you have a mulching mower, start mulching those leaves into the lawn. It may take a few passes to completely mulch the fallen leaves, so be patient. Leaving too large of pieces on the lawn does more harm than good. Remember, you don't want to trim the lawn each time, but simply mulch the leaves. Be certain your blade height is set according.

3) Sharpen your cutting tools. When trees and shrubs go dormant, it's time to trim. However, using a dull blade can inflict damage on the plant that may lead to pests and disease. Before you start trimming and pruning, sharpen your tools. Also, when trimming, sterilize your cutting instrument regularly to prevent the spread of disease from plant-to-plant. NOTE: Knowing when and how to prune is very important to maintaining a healthy and attractive landscape. When in doubt, call an expert.

PLANTS OF NOTE: EPIMEDIUM This ground cover has it all!

I admit I wasn't always a fan of this plant. When I saw it in the stores it was a bit more expensive than other options and tiny. An experienced gardener like myself knows that a plant's size in a nursery doesn't mean too much. Consider Aralia Sun King. It's small when potted, but by the end of the season easily reaches 3-feet.
It wasn't until I started working in a local park that I appreciated Epimedium for the beautiful workhorse that it is. Not a bad combination for a landscape plant.

Why Epimedium?
Its thick root system is pretty much impermeable to weeds and does a wonderful job of holding soil in place, which makes it a great option over other ground covers such as English Ivy. The foliage is clean and lush and come fall offers up fabulous color to the gardens.

Spring flowers- My garden has varieties sporting pink and yellow flowers. They are small, but not too small to make them obsolete. In fact, if you take the time to look at them, they are quite attractive.

Hardy! The epimedium in my park garden was a bit neglected. After two years of regular watering, removing spent foliage and fall leaf litter (some years more diligently than others- See Keep That Water Flowing) and giving it a bit of food, the stand has become as thick as carpet.

Just the Facts
USDA Zones 5 to 9
Height and Spread: 1-2 feet
Blooms: April to June yellow or pink with white inner sepals
Plant in part to full shade with dry to medium soil.
This is an easy-to-grow plant that is wonderful for naturalizing, soil retention and adding interest to a shady spot in the garden. As an added bonus, it's deer and rabbit resistant, too.


KEEP THAT WATER FLOWING We know it's temping to stop watering this time of year. It's been a long summer of hauling hoses, sprinklers and heavy watering cans. And, since we were fortunate to have a not-so hot and dry summer, many homeowners are lulled into a false sense of security that their landscape has adequate water to take their plants into the fall and through winter. We wish this were true.
It's easy to spot landscapes supplemented with an irrigation system - plants are still lush, ferns tall and green and the lawns are thriving. Truth is, now is as critical a time as ever to ensure your landscape is receiving adequate watering. Established plants need to set a healthy, strong foundation to pull them through fall and winter. Fall additions to the garden, such as trees, shrubs and perennials, most certainly need adequate watering to ensure their health.

Smart Watering: Last weekend, after a week of some nice rains, I poked around the gardens to discover that under the bed of epimedium the soil was bone dry. Earlier in the season, after two days of solid rain, I went to the gardens assuming planting was not an option only to discover soil that was dry. What was the reason behind this?

1) A carpet of leaves: Under the epimedium fall leaves that I had failed to completely remove had created an almost impervious water barrier. To rectify the situation, I removed the spent leves, broke up the soil where I could without damaging the roots and watered well.

2) Mulch. Oh so much mulch! This garden is often tended to by volunteers, and volunteers love to spread mulch. Unfortunately, the shredded mulch had become compacted and way too thick over the years. With a Cobrahead tool I pulled back a thick, heavy mat of compressed mulch to find soil that was bone dry. Even worse, after a bit of digging I discovered that it was also lifeless. Solution: Disposed of the mulch and turned the soil while adding pinefine amendments.

What you can do.
Fluff your mulch. If your mulch is compacted, what watering you do will most likely bead off the mulch like water off a duck's back.
Remove spent leaves from the gardens. Leaves may harbor pests and disease as well as block air and water circulation.
Do a few test digs to take the guess work out of knowing if your soil is dry or not.
Consider installing a professional irrigation system.

PLANTS OF NOTE - LITTLE SPIRE RUSSIAN SAGE Russian Sage has been a garden staple for years, and for good reason. Give it sharp soil and full sun and it will perform without fail. It's a magnet for bees and its generous blooming period makes it the perfect perennial to fill in the gaps in a continuously blooming garden.

It's long-lived, can, and should, be cut back to keep it in check and responds well to pruning during the growing season. Is this perhaps the perfect plant? Well, almost. It can be large and unruly- a great attribute in a more free-flowing garden design, but in tighter spots or in a more formal setting its exuberance makes it a bit daunting to work with.

But all is not lost. Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire' is the the slender, upright, tidy Russian Sage many garden designs have been longing for.

We incorporated several in our Ault Park Focal Garden and a few have been installed in a nearby park by our horticulturalist.
What we've learned: The more sun the better. Part sun can greatly impede the plant's performance as will compact, clay-heavy soil. Sources say it will tolerate clay, but we have found it does better in soil amended for sharper draining. In full sun, it's more tolerant of our clay conditions.

Just the facts
Perfect for our ares- prefers USDA zones 5-9, full sun, dry to medium soil, well draining soil in full sun (don't skimp on the sun!) More demure at 1.5 - 2 feet tall and wide. Blooms June to frost. Deer and rabbit tolerant.

PLANTS OF NOTE - RODGERSIA Several years back, Jennifer, our Horticulturalist, had this to say about Rodgersia in a post for Horticulture:

"My shade garden at the park has a stellar cast of characters, from a bold oakleaf hydrangea, to autumn fern, toad lilies and a variety of hostas. But this spring season, it is the rodgersia that is stealing the spotlight. The third year is the charm for this plant. It's boldly coming into itself, becoming a solid anchor and focal point in the garden with its upright form, leaves and stems with substance and weight and a unique texture that catches the eye. The plant has an “old” look to it, not so much heirloom but more pre-historic. As bold, and dare I say fierce, as this plant is becoming, it's displaying a soft, light and airy white late spring/early summer flowers that are adding a lovely new dimension to the shade garden."

I asked her if Rodgersia is still a favorite plant and her reply was yes, but with a few caveats. "I noticed over the years, as the Oakleaf has increased tremendously in size, the Rodgersia has suffered. This is a fail on my part for I should have been more vigorous with the pruning of the Oakleaf. Also since I am not at the park 4-7 days a week like I was in years past, the plant has shown decline. Of course not all perennials have the longevity of a peony or Baptisia, but know my absence has caused the plant to suffer.
The solution, water it deeply as often as you can, don't let it get crowded out and keep the soil rich- and for me that's as simple as adding pinefine amendments and generous amounts of Milorganite during the growing season."

When I see great stands of Rodgersia I always ask myself, why aren't we seeing more of it? In the proper setting it's stunning.

Growing rodgersia—The gardens are well watered at the park. I do spot water this plant in the heat of the summer. My garden tags have long since walked off so I am not certain if my rodgersia are Rodgersia aesculifolia (Zones 5-9) or R. pinnata ‘Elegans’ (Zones 4-9). Rodgersia likes full sun to part shade, moist, rich soil (thus the spot watering) and has no notable pests or diseases.

DESIGNED FOR ENTERTAINING Clients come to us for design inspiration and expertise for a variety of reasons. Quite often the question at hand is- How can I make my outdoor space into the perfect entertaining setting?

We love this question. Immediately we know the homeowner values their outdoor living space, and wants to make the most of their yard. Our design experts meet with clients to determine how they want to entertain in their space.
Are they hosting a lot of large parties or more intimate lunches with close friends?
Are there children about that need room to play?
Would they like a fire ring or perhaps a separate seating area within eyesight of the kids but a bit removed from their noise and chaos?

When we're afforded the opportunity to meet with new clients, spend time in their existing landscapes and develop a clear understanding of how they envision enjoying their renovated landscapes, we are able to design, install and maintain the perfect outdoor setting.


<p>Sometimes, a garden has served its purpose. I will admit, it's not always easy to look at a familiar old garden and say, time to go. That's exactly what happened with the Wimberg Landscaping Focal Garden in Ault Park. Jennifer Smith, then a gardener for the park and now our Horticulturalist, said, It's time for a new design. And it was. The shrubs had become too large for their space, the roses where starting to struggle and the perennials where more maintenance then they were worth. So, with a new plan drafted by Jennifer, we removed the existing plant material, turned the soil, installed new plants and topped with fresh mulch. We could have integrated some of the original elements into the new design, but it would have been to the final design's detriment. The design you see now is prairie inspired, designed to maximize butterfly and hummingbird traffic and very loose and free flowing. Any original material left in the new design would have looked forced and wildly out of place. The Design The focal garden is comprised of four rectangular beds in a slight arching shape and a circular bed in the center punctuated with an urn. To achieve the look of one continuous garden, not four separate gardens, we manipulated the rules of three. For example, Panicum, Shenandoah, the group of three is split between the two beds; with one plant in a bed and two in the adjoining bed- visually drawing the two beds together. We did the same with the butterfly bushes, breaking up the planting leaving one shrub in one bed and the rest of the group in the adjoining bed. Muhuly Grass was planted not at the top of the bed as tradition would dictate, but more in the center and bending down to the foreground of the beds. The focal garden is the one garden that visitors can walk into and see from all different angles. The adopt-a plot-beds, which one passes by on a paved walk are viewed from the front, as if looking at art hanging in a museum.</p>

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