My focus now is on coaching new gardeners by providing them with a schematic design, detailed plant lists, container dimensions (where necessary), care guidelines, and then setting them loose - with guidance - to do their own shopping and implementation (although if you prefer the work to be done professionally, I can help project manage that aspect). I find working with people who want to be in their gardens, and who want to interact with them - rather than have them as an impersonal but perfect backdrop, like meaningless investment art - very rewarding.
And it is the garden that really rewards the gardener, giving back more than what we put in.
My gardens have ranged from the first, tiny 66 square feet that inspired this blog and my first book, to a roomy 1,000 square feet. They have seen morning sun, all-day blazing rooftop sun, wind, deep shade, building shade, and lead in the soil. They have thrived. Gardening is exhilarating, never dull, and always therapeutic.
When designing gardens for others, my personal and professional experience give me the insight and perspective to ask the right questions, to give informed answers, and to manage expectations. I know what plants work where. I don't know everything! That's not possible. Every garden situation is truly unique and the garden itself is usually the best teacher. There will be failures, and they will be instructive.
Cosmopolitan flower gardens, native woodland courtyards, and pollinator-friendly plantings, are all city possibilities.
Would you like to grow your own salads? Or unusual indigenous edibles? Perhaps you'd like a truly American kitchen garden. How about a serviceberry orchard on the 17th floor (and what is a serviceberry, anyway?)? Or do you prefer blueberries?
You may have full shade or full sun, or bits of both. High shade or deep shade. Dappled shade. It all makes a very big difference to what and how you can plant.
What I do: Assess your available space in terms of aspect and micro-climate: sun, shade, challenges specific to your site (such as deep shade pockets, orientation with regards to winter winds), and advise on which plants might do well, and where to find them.
Finally, I offer practical coaching: how to plant, how to water. It seems simplistic, but the number one cause of plant death is user error. Understand the plant and its needs, and the gardening battle is won.
Rates upon inquiry.
Please get in touch at myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com
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