It’s spring and the designers at Main Street are working long hours creating and installing beautiful landscapes and hardscapes for our clients. It’s hard to find time for other activities at this time of the year. But, Laura (our office manager) and I broke away for a couple of hours last Monday to go to Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg to see all of the wildflowers that are currently blooming. Laura is able to identify each wildflower, plus she has a great eye for finding them.
I fell in love with wildflowers as a teenager due to a fabulous teacher that I had in high school. He took our class on many walks through the grounds surrounding the school where we learned to identify the vegetation. The wildflowers were my favorite.
Isn’t this one amazing?
I think this one is my favorite.
To this day, I can identify many of the wildflowers that pop up in our back yards such as Yellow Wood Sorrel and Gill-over-the-ground,
Yellow Wood Sorrel
but I’ve forgotten the names of many of the woodland beauties. I’m thankful that I have Laura to remind me.
Pergolas, pavilions and porticos……do you know the difference? I’m a designer and I do know the difference, but even I get confused by the terminology. We utilize all three of these structures in designs for our clients, some more often than others.
A pergola is a structure on vertical posts or columns that usually support cross beams or trellis work of some kind. Climbing plants can be trained to grow on pergolas.
A pavilion is a decorative roofed structure used as a shelter in the landscape. These are very popular features with our clients today.
And, last but not least, a portico is also a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns or piers. However, rather than free standing, it’s attached to a building as a porch.
The snow was so pretty yesterday morning. I decided that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some nice pictures in our display at Main Street Landscape.
The daffodils are blooming……popping through the snow. And, no worries, they are fine when the snow falls. Most of our spring flowering bulbs are well adapted to the types of weather we experience in this region.
The trees were stunning. Here’s a Weeping Japanese Maple located right outside of our main entrance.
And, our Japanese Black Pine provided for some nice shots.
Look closely and you can see the Lenten Roses blooming beneath the snow.
Our water features, surrounded by snow covered foliage are pretty wintry sites as well.
Our plants are arriving day by day to fulfill orders that are already up on our schedule. It’s wise to plan your landscape as early as possible.
The snow was short lived, already but a memory……a reminder that spring is right around the corner.
Did you know that every year, millions of Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles from North America to the mountains of Mexico to stay for the winter?
Recently, our office manager Laura and her husband Liam, along with five others, traveled to Mexico City and from there up into the mountains of Mexico to visit the Monarch sanctuaries. At this particular sanctuary, El Rosario, the view of monarchs was so spectacular that some in the group were moved to tears.
The monarchs form cluster upon cluster on the branches of Oyamel fir trees by night.
As the temperatures rise in the morning, the monarchs take flight for the day traveling the mountains in search of nectar plants and water.
Here is a picture of Laura releasing a tagged butterfly.
Monarchs begin their long migration south in the late summer. They travel all the way to Mexico to stay for the winter and then come early spring, they begin to head back north. They migrate so that they can have better access to the milkweed plant, which is necessary for their food and their young. Asclepias Tuberosa, common name Butterfly Weed, is a beautiful member of the milkweed family. We have some growing in our display at Main Street.
Come next summer, monarch butterflies will be laying their eggs on the underside of the leaves of the Asclepias plants in our display. And, so the cycle begins again.
A very popular landscape option that we provide for our clients is the outdoor fire pit. Outdoor fire features extend the livability of the outdoor space into the evening as well as into the cooler seasons. Typically, we construct our fire pits out of stacked fieldstone.
Although stacked field stone is the most common choice, we also build masonry fire pits. This is one of Joan’s projects in Great Falls, Virginia. The fire pit is veneered with fieldstone. The seat wall with couch is a nice touch too!
We aren’t locked into the circle shape. Judy recently designed this uniquely shaped, brick veneered fire pit in Philomont, VA.
We also build fire pits out of segmental wall stone. This is one of Craig’s projects in Hamilton, VA.
Most of our clients choose to burn wood, but we install gas burning fire pits as well. With this option comes lots of choices….do you prefer fire glass or the more traditional gas logs or lava rocks? Fire glass is very popular and there are lots of colors to choose from. This gas fire pit is part of an installation we did in Falls Church, VA.
Here’s another wood burning, fieldstone fire pit.
All are perfect for enjoying with company on a cool evening…..also perfect for roasting marshmallows with all of the kids.
Color in the landscape is worthwhile considering while planning the winter garden. Red is what comes to my mind. Most berries are showiest in the fall when they first ripen, but others continue to brighten the landscape through the winter months. Hollies are typically the first plant we think of for red fruits.
But, there are other options……this Heavenly Bamboo is full of berries right now.
Besides brightening up the landscape, fruit-filled plants will lure beautiful birds to your yard through out fall and winter. This Cedar waxwing is enjoying the berries of a Winterberry holly.
photo by Laura McGranaghan
Winterberry hollies are native to our region and an excellent food source for birds through the winter months.
And, snow and berries…… such a pretty sight together.
These are just a small sampling of the vast array of berry producing plants that can be enjoyed in the fall and winter landscapes.
I like to call this my secret door project. From beginning to end, this landscape installation was a lot of fun and the clients were a pleasure to work with. Early in the process, they told me that they wanted a flagstone patio, a fire pit, some landscaping and a stucco garden wall with an arched door entering the patio area from the driveway…..not your typical request. But, I was intrigued by the possibilities and proceeded to create the design.
The stucco wall was built and we installed the flagstone patio and walkway.
We built a fieldstone fire pit and seat wall.
We installed 3 iron trellises and climbing clematis on the garage wall behind the seat wall.
We landscaped the surroundings…..
And the entrance from the driveway as well.
I plan to go back and get more pictures. Hopefully, by the time I return, there will be ivy growing on the wall……another aspect of my client’s vision.
A pristine 1960 Chevrolet Impalla with only 25,000 miles on it….that’s what I saw when invited to preview the inside of my clients’ newly installed carriage house in Leesburg.
The carriage house was built while we were landscaping the rest of the property. We took part in the construction process as well. We did all of the stone work on the new building and also installed the water ledge and pillar caps.
Once the carriage house was complete, we installed flagstone steps and a patio off of the front entrance. We landscaped the surroundings and finished off the driveway all the while being attentive to drainage issues.
I visited these wonderful clients recently. They showed me their newest addition to the carriage house, the 1960 Impalla. Their daughters had gifted them with this car, a replica of the vehicle that their wedding proposal took place in 50 years earlier. And take note of the floor – interlocking modular floor tiles – quite the compliment to a special car.
We love to incorporate natural stone into the landscapes that we design for our clients. Stone is beautiful as well as durable and it makes the perfect compliment for the plants surrounding it.
There are many options for stone in the landscape, from flagstone patios, to fieldstone retaining walls and seat walls, to boulder steps climbing up a hillside. Steps are often essential, but sometimes adding a fieldstone step or two as a decorative feature can add drama to the landscape.
Garden sections can be separated by stone, whether by a natural stone wall or by fieldstone steppers meandering through the space. And stone can provide a great place to sit in the form of a boulder or a bench. This particular stone bench (below) was in our display, but one of my clients fell in love with it, so it is now a part of their back yard landscape.
Intentionally placed boulders can add a nice decorative touch. And, river rock used in the form of a dry creek bed can provide a nice design element as well.
Yes, we have already experienced hard frosts this fall season. Many of our flowering favorites have succumbed to the cold, but not before producing a beautiful fall display.
Roses for fall color? Not something we typically think of having in our fall landscape…..but we should. Knock Out roses produce some of their best color in the fall when moisture is more abundant and the temperatures are cooler. You can typically count on your Knock Out roses to bloom through to the end of October each year, sometimes even into early November. It takes a hard frost to stop them for the season. Roses are just one of the great performing fall flowering shrubs. How about blue mist spireas or hydrangeas (my personal favorite)? Blue mist spireas provide a refreshing punch of blue color that’s typically scarce in the fall landscape.
And although most hydrangeas typically stopped blooming months earlier (unless you have a repeat bloomer like Endless Summer), their existing flowers change to darker, more intense colors in the fall season.
Some other shrubs that provide late blooms are glossy abelias, encore azaleas, fall blooming camellias and even butterfly bushes.