Friday, May 28, 2010

Horticultural House Calls

I started doing Horticultural House Calls about 15 years ago. It was a natural companion for my landscape design practice. Not everyone needs a full-on landscape plan, but lots of people need help with the basics of gardening and design. What are the names of the plants in your yard? How do you take care of them? What should you put in that bare spot over there? What are soil amendments and how do you use them? What's eating this tree? Where can we plant a vegetable garden? How big should a patio be? Should you use concrete or natural stone? What if you want an outdoor kitchen? And so on... 
The way a House Call works is that I come to your home and spend an hour, sometimes a little more, answering your questions. Some clients take notes, others record the session with a video camera (great for plant identification) or tape recorder. I have lots of handouts to suit various situations. We can cover a lot of information in just one hour! People are often surprised by how much they learn. And by eliminating trial and error, my clients save time, money and effort. There's a lot you can learn from books and TV shows, but it's not the same as having someone come to your house and explain what's going on.

I have over 30 years of experience as a gardener and horticulturalist. In the early 90s, I left a career in public relations to go back to school and get a degree in Environmental Horticulture and Landscape Design from South Seattle Community College. In addition to design and consulting, I have worked for a landscape contractor and at retail nurseries. As a volunteer, I have worked on and managed various parks and tree planting projects in West Seattle. I also served on the West Seattle Garden Tour Committee in its early years. 

The charge for a Horticultural House Call is $60/hour, plus $15/hour for drive time for calls outside West Seattle. (Sorry, gas prices and traffic make that necessary.) I make calls in the Seattle area only. For more information or to make an appointment, please email me. 

By the way, I no longer do formal landscape plans. I had a great run as a landscape designer, but don't feel an urge to return to that work. (Below is a concept sketch of my most dramatic before-and-after which was featured in Pacific Northwest Magazine.) For now, it will make me very happy to help Seattle residents get in touch with their inner gardeners. Let me know how I can help.