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Stop Crape Murder!!

A question I get every spring is how do I prune my Crape myrtles to keep them healthy and bloom abundant.   The first thing to know is Crape myrtles do not have to be pruned at all. They will still bloom. In truth, a crape myrtle will forgive almost any pruning method. However, severe pruning leads to lush and rampant growth, which can exacerbate disease and insect problems.

Here are a few tips to prevent Crape Murder!!!

1. Remove sprouts near the ground and along the trunk(s).

2. Remove interior sprouts that travel “crosswise” inside the top of the “tree”. Most of those you leave should be vertical or leaning   towards the outside.

3. Shorten all long arching sprouts back to the point where they are one-half to one-fourth inch in diameter. You will have no dry flower heads left on the plant and it will have a nice “ice cream cone” shape – ready to bloom this summer.

4. If you have a shrub-form crape myrtle, simply shape it as desired. Remember that it grows vigorously in summer. If you want it to be six feet high, prune back to 4 – 5 feet in winter to allow for new growth.

Good Luck!!!

This is what we are shooting for.


Helpful Tips

Crape Murder!!!


Happy St. Pat’s, Washington DC!!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint– and another one

Cheers my fellow Washingtonians!!!

St. Enda's National Historical Park, Ireland

2010 Washington Home and Garden Show

If you are as ready as I am to get this winter over with and get into the spring spirit the Washington Home and Garden Show this weekend is your ticket.  Check-out the expansive demonstration gardens which will include outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, stylish outdoor furnishings and tons of trees and shrubs in full bloom.  I encourage you to walk around and soak in all the great ideas.  Spring is just around the corner!!

New Launch for the Outdoors

Restoration Hardware has just released their new outdoor concept, “Restoration Hardware Garden” a full spectrum of outdoor landscape furnishings, accessories, and lighting, with a broader collection of exclusive handcrafted items to enhance city dwellings and countryside cottages alike.  I am seeing a perfect pairings for the unique, classic, and compact urban outdoor spaces in andaround Washington DC.

Restoration Hardware's new outdoor line

Klismos Bench

Lutyens Bench

Del Mar Collection

La Jolla Collection

The Suffolk Bench

Reclaimed Wood Planters

Zinc Tapered Planters

Weathered Cast Stone Planters

Fiddler on a Green Roof

As the nation embraces sustainable design the new headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) puts its money where its mouth is. A new Green Roof Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, a nationally known landscape architect with offices in Cambridge and New York created the concept at 636 Eye St. NW, not far from the Capitol.

This roof is a far cry from the typical (There is life on the moon!!)  Green roof constructed of sparsely planted sedum mulched with attractive and inviting gravel.  This roof is three-dimensional. As you emerge from a stairway onto the roof, you find yourself standing between two green mounds, each about 8 feet high covered with plants including flame sumac, trumpet vine, pasture rose, purple lovegrass, nodding onion, and thread-leaved tickseed. Underfoot a light aluminum grating  floats over a field of, sedum, just inches from your feet this is truly a new visual perspective.  The roof is as much about sustainability as it is about an outdoor usable space, a space that on one of the hottest day in Washington last year was 30 degrees cooler then the little black roof top next door. 

Here are a few other Green Roof Projects in Washington to check out

Exploaded view of roof top

Asla's new green roof

One of the hillsides

The Artful Window Box

One of my favorite garden expression’s take place at that connection between the inside of the home and the outdoors, the window box.  These architecturally significant little highlights on the façade of a home can drastically add to the character and intimacy of the garden.  They are enjoyed both from inside the home and in the garden.  They often give insight into the style of the home owner, formal and evergreen or multi-colored and whimsical.  When planning to purchase a window box I suggest going for quality of construction and make sure they fit the style and scale of your home.  Window boxes can be broken down into two styles, “French” which is a frame that holds individuals flower pots and “Traditional” which is a planter where soils and plants are added as one complete element.   When selecting plant material use plants of different heights along with trailing plants to add depth and dimension. Mix herbs with your flowering plants to add fragrance and functionality.   Window boxes in the Washington DC area can be year round accents, Use pansies in the spring, summer annuals after May 1st, fall annuals in early October and evergreens in the winter. 

Here are a few great plants to make your window box a success

  • Lantana,  Creeping
  • Jenny
  • Sweet Potato Vine,
  • Impatiens
  • Coleus                                                  
  • Caladiums
  • Bacopa                                                
  •  Angelonia
  • Wave Petunias                                 
  • Vinca Vine
  • Verbena                                              
  • Swedish Ivy

    The Traditional Window Box


Use a planter as a window box!

Mix texture and color

Scale is important, this works!!


Snowdom 2010


As Washington DC emerges from the snowiest winter on record a war zone of landscape damage is surfacing.  Trees broken or leaning, plants flattened and topiaries toppled. What is one to do? Dry those eyes and look at the opportunity it has presented.   It’s time to re-design and construct the perfect outdoor living environments.  This is just the beginning of AvantGarden DC and what fitting time to get started. Welcome and enjoy!!

The Washington Monument

The US Capital

A Panda at the National Zoo. "ps. I helped build this exhibit"

Winter potted plants



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