Only the Best Plants

Wondrous gardens are crafted from truly wondrous plants. This does NOT include run of the mill plants quickly picked off the shelf at a big box store and popped into the ground an hour later.

Careful selection of each plant for your garden is an adventure that feeds off of the excitement created during the preliminary design process. Once we have your garden blueprint in hand, we’ll head to the hills, quite literally, in search of the best plants for your sanctuary.

now it’s getting really fun!

Sourcing your plants will likely involve multiple visits to four different New Hampshire wholesale nurseries. Each grower offers unique inventory, so it's not uncommon for us to source woody shrubs and evergreens from one location and herbaceous perennials, ornamental grasses and groundcovers from another.

As my guest, you will gain access to the MOST INCREDIBLE PLANTS that are:

  • native to our region of North America

  • grown without synthetic chemicals

  • beneficial to our native pollinators

shopping from spring until fall

Since spring can be slow to arrive in zone 5, we usually begin locating and purchasing plant specimens around the 3rd week in April. By this time, the potted plants (most of which have been wintered over at the nursery) will have broken through the soil surface to give us an idea of their future beauty. Follow-up shopping trips will occur through spring and summer, as plant availability changes, and even into the cooler months of fall.

The photo at the top of this page was taken in early June while plant shopping with a client and her granddaughter at Van Berkum Nursery in Deerfield, NH.

gardening with intention

As my co-pilot, you are vital to the process. You’ll find our excursions not only fun, but an occasion to embrace your role as Keeper of the Garden. You will learn how to choose the best specimens from a field of hundreds, and you’ll learn how to develop an eye for color and for texture. Before long, you’ll be able to quickly recognize plants that will offer the most biodiversity to your garden.

Just be prepared for a lot of walking, and be sure to bring sunscreen, water and comfy shoes, because we’ll shop till we drop!

Here are some of the fun places we’ll visit in our quest to create your magical garden:

Millican Nursery, Chichester, NH

Stone Post Nursery, Lee, NH

Van Berkum Nursery, Deerfield, NH

Countrybrook Farms, Hudson, NH

Delahunty’s, Windham, NH

Mahoney's Garden, Chelmsford, MA

sourcing day rate: $250 half/$500 full

Create the Perfect Home

You’ve just made an investment in truly extraordinary plants, and you want them to not only survive - but to THRIVE! It’s so easy to slack a bit on the next step - proper planting and soil prep.

Under my guidance, you’ll grow to appreciate the mystery and role of the soil beneath our feet and the power of millions of beneficial micro-organisms to produce gloriously healthy gardens. Even if your soil is thin and unable to support life, you have the power to heal!

dirt under our nails!

Soil prep may involve removal of turf grass, weeds, and old plant specimens that will either be discarded or relocated. We’ll take care to disturb as little soil as possible so as not to disrupt the important work being done by beneficial insects and micro-organisms below ground.

Rocks and tree stumps, if any, will need to be removed. Amendments, like compost, will be added in accordance with soil analysis recommendations. While soil is being prepped, each plant specimen will be pre-hydrated with a good soaking to minimize transplant shock. Yes, it’s hard work, but will be SO worth it in the long run!


Next, your glorious plants will each be laid out according to our design, adjusting placement as we go. Each plant will be perfectly situated according to its unique sun and water requirements. While weaving a tapestry of color and texture, we’ll determine the visual effect from both near and far.

Each plant's root ball will be properly, but gently, prepared, planted and watered in with essential organic nutrients. This process of joining the perfect plant with its new home is so rewarding - it’s akin to college “move in day” - exciting and overflowing with possibilities!

ensure long-term happiness

Of course, plants need water. In times of scant rain, we need to step in and assist. Unless we’re planting species that prefer dry, arid growing conditions, your garden installation will include placement of some sort of drip irrigation system.

Delivering water slowly, one drop at a time, directly to the plant’s root system is so much more beneficial to the plant AND saves precious resources. Sprinklers that spray from overhead are ineffective and promote the development and spread of disease, like the dreaded powdery mildew! Prevention of air, water and soil borne disease is vital to sustaining a healthy, bio-diverse garden.

The optimal approach for water delivery could be soaker hoses that we lay ourselves, or it could be a professionally installed system that is controlled with automatic timers. This decision is usually budget driven, and I can help you make the best choice for your situation.

After irrigation, a top layer of compost and high quality mulch will give your garden a professional “finished” look and will minimize moisture loss and maximize weed suppression.

At the end of the day, we’ll certainly be exhausted and covered in dirt. But we’ll toast to our accomplishments and revel in your new garden, ready to delight and amaze you daily!

installation day rate: $250 half/$500 full