Design Help & Coaching

60-90 Minute Site Visit $100

Does your garden make you smile? Take your breath away? Surprise you every day?

If not, it may be asking for a small tweak or a bold redesign. My own garden is continually evolving as I add, move and edit plantings. It's amazing how relocating a plant even a few feet away in the same border can make a huge difference in both the overall aesthetic and in the plant's ability to thrive.

I understand how difficult it can be to critique your own garden. You may know that something needs to change but just aren't sure of the best move. This is where I can help. Together we can assess what's currently working and what isn't, and decide the best time to make the change.

I used to stress over the thought of expanding a bed and the subsequent ripple effect in regard to time, effort and money. Now I savor it as a chance to test new plants or to give existing plants from other beds more elbow room. It's fun to realize that a plant in an Eastern exposure bed is really much happier in a Western exposure bed. I call this the old "plant switcheroo" and have had great success with this approach.

Often, I have elected to defer major edits in my own garden for a year or so. Sometimes I need to wait for additional financial resources. Sometimes I just can't muster the energy for a bold move, deciding to just live with what I have until "next year". Often, this is a wise decision as I then have time to really think through design adjustments that will have the best result over the long haul.

I invite you to inquire about my Garden Coaching services and to explore this website for ideas that you think may work on your property!

(click images below for a closeup view)

Plant Care Coaching

60-90 Minute Site Visit $100

Visitors to The Big Little Garden often comment on how healthy all of my plants are. In fact, they are so healthy that I am frequently thinning, dividing, pinching and pruning specimens to achieve a less "jungly" feel in some of my beds. I guess that's a good problem to have...If you find garden maintenance to be on the "relaxing" end of the continuum...Which I do.

Healthy gardens begin with selecting healthy specimens. But even healthy plants need the proper environment in order to thrive. The old axiom "right plant, right place" is a mantra to live by. In reality, it can sometimes take a couple attempts to find the perfect spot for a particular plant. Most of the sick plants that I've observed in my clients' gardens suffer from one or more of the following:

  • inadequate root ball preparation (photo above illustrates how to prep)

  • inadequate soil nutrients and organic matter

  • compacted soil and/or poor drainage

  • suffocation due to root ball being buried too deep

  • suffocation from too much mulch

  • inadequate (or too much) water and/or sun

  • infestation from insects and/or disease

  • desiccation from drying winds in current location

Most of these ailments are easy to diagnose and fix. Some require the expertise of an entomologist. Here in Southern NH, I rely on Gene & Judy Harrington at Nashua Farmers' Exchange for honest, reliable advise and counsel. They help guide me to the best product for the job - assuming a product is what's needed. What I particularly respect is their willingness to just say "let it be - it will pass", especially in the case of caterpillars feasting on their favorite perennials. In lieu of pushing a product that may be more detrimental in the long run, they offer wise counsel on the benefits of organic gardening and learning to live with a few munched upon leaves. If you do visit NFE, please tell Gene and Judy that "Barb Young sent me!"