Fine Gardeners Blog

Tune-Up Time

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, June 24, 2019
Fine Gardeners - Perennial Gardents, Brookline, Needham, Newton, MA

Your garden is an orchestra! Healthy gardens play to the eyes like a fine-tuned orchestra plays to a conductor’s ears. Not unlike a musical composition, the intricately woven notes of a successful garden involve a high level of behind-the-scene detail - much more than simply water and sun.

So, are you ready to become a conductor of plants?

Consider the Complexities:

It is important to recognize that the timing and technique for pruning ornamental trees and shrubs may vary significantly from one plant to another. The cookie-cutter approach used by many landscapers may not be conducive to your garden’s success. Any old landscaper may be great for routine maintenance, but they may not have the knowledge to apply the correct gardening principals to your more complex gardening needs.

Common pruning mistake! The uniform shearing of shrubs may be more pleasing to the eye for some but, as it turns out, this type of unnatural trimming creates a higher density of outer growth, causing the plant to weaken internally, thus shortening its life-span. In the end, it won’t look quite so pleasing! We often underestimate the long-term effects of “minor” garden alterations - think- how differently might your favorite song sound with the change of just one beat?

For more on proper pruning -
https://www.finegardeners.com/ornamental-pruning-of-trees-and-shrubs.htm

Perennial Garden Maintenance:

Perennial gardens are fun, but now that you have one, how do you make it last? The high level of detail required in maintaining a successful garden can become overwhelming once you start to consider the following factors:

Weeds - they aren’t all bad. After all, the man who invented Velcro was inspired by the Burdock weed (burrs)! While we may appreciate his invention, this doesn’t mean we want weeds growing amongst our gardens and suffocating our plants. Invasive plants can ruin a garden. The art of distinguishing desirable seedlings from weeds has been known to stump even the most seasoned gardeners; and trust me, the “wait and see” approach is not unlike unleashing a bunch of rambunctious 5 year olds into the symphony orchestra on opening night!

But how about desirable plants which outgrow their space? Dividing a plant may sound simple, but the integrity of the root and crown must be maintained in order to carry out a successful transplantation. The point? Do your research by consulting a professional before you dig.

Volcano Mounding - gardeners may be unaware as to the reason landscapers often do this. Why? Because there is no good reason! “Monkey see, monkey do” is not a wise gardening approach. Rather than planting your tree on a mound for aesthetics, think concave. Allowing the roots as well as the flare of the trunk to more easily receive necessary exposure to the elements will improve the health, and therefore the long-term aesthetics, of your trees and shrubs.

Plant Editing - plant health, thus longevity and quality of blooms, may deteriorate significantly when plants of a similar size are placed too closely together. Eager gardeners often incorporate many young plants into a small space because the area may otherwise appear too empty, but once these plants fill out they must ultimately compete with one another for survival, and placing such stress on your desirable plants will lead only to their demise. Do you want the tree you put there growing hidden monster seedlings in the beautiful shrub next to it? If you don’t have time to maintain it - ask yourself how it will look in 5 or 10 years. Many landscapers may be great at installing plants, but what’s the longer term plan of care? Unless you’re willing to micromanage your garden, it can turn into jungle when installed without prior knowledge of plant growth specifics.

To properly address these matters, it may be wise to consult with a professional before your lovely garden grows out of control and, essentially, commits PLANTICIDE!

https://www.finegardeners.com/garden-and-lawn-maintenance.htm

Last, but not least, what kind of dessert do all good gardeners have? Brown-knees! All kidding aside, this joke contains a simple truth - real gardeners and landscapers should be willing to use the real tools - their hands and knees. Fine-tuning the sounds of any orchestra requires a willingness to “plant” oneself smack in the middle of all the dirt.

To consult with a Massachusetts Certified Arborist, Horticulturist and Master Gardener, contact Fine Gardeners today!

Post written by Cilla Denham


Spring Bulbs

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, April 29, 2019
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

Where are my tulips!? A question many gardeners ask themselves every year, and although many different species are readily available, they all have one thing in common: a frustrated gardener.

Tulips are sensitive to many variables, such as changes to weather patterns, soil health, hungry deer, location and competition with nearby plants for necessary nutrients. Although some species may be “more likely” to bloom in future years, the strength of the bulb tends to deteriorate after the first year due to the bulb breaking down in attempt to reproduce. In this case the broken down bulb cannot store as much energy as necessary for growing a nice strong bloom the following year. It is also important to keep in mind that greenhouse bulbs are grown in “perfect” conditions which do not come close to mimicking “actual” conditions.

The fix? There are many other Spring bulbs available which are not only deer resistant, but will also multiply year after year, thus yielding a much greater return on investment when it comes to time, money and ultimately, enjoyment! For a consistent display of blooms, layering and mixing various bulbs can be a fun experiment, but not when they must be disturbed during the removal of those soon to be lackluster tulip bulbs.

Set yourself up for success! Tired of the excitement and letdown of seeing leaves come up with no blooms after spending hours planting bulbs? Baffled that the only tulip blooms are from bulbs buried in the woods by squirrels? There are always daffodils and crocuses, but why not try one of these fun options instead:

Chionodoxa

Beautiful, star-like flowers in blue, white, pink and lavender. An eye catcher in multiples.

Grape Hyacinth

A perfect mini purple/blue “bunch of grapes” with somewhat drooping leaves.

Fritillaria

Larger, bell-shaped flowers with a checkered pattern and various color options make these often overlooked bulbs intriguing to the eye.

Scilla

Petite, slightly drooping blue/purple flowers - a classic and reliable bloomer for years to come.

Allium

Taller than the average Spring flower, these large, globe like bright purple puffs really stand out.

Snowdrops

One of the first flowers to bloom in Spring. Very sweet, bright white, downward facing blooms.

Anemone

Many varieties in various colors that are lower growing and will make your garden pop with character.

For more information on spring gardening, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

Post written by Cilla Denham

Black Knot

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

If you have plum or cherry trees, beware of this unsightly growth!

Be on the lookout for hideous growths that could be infesting your precious plum or cherry tree and can also infect apricots and peaches. Now is the time to scout for Black Knot which is caused by the fungus Apiosporina morbosa. Say that backwards three times and ye will turn into a newt! The obvious hard black elongated swellings (knots) vary in length from 1 to 6 inches or more and can form anywhere along the branches. Knots can be scattered throughout the tree with numbers increasing each year if left untreated.

The spores of this fungus are spread to other branches and susceptible trees by wind and rain during warm spring weather. The disease can limit the production of fruit trees or ruin the esthetic value of ornamentals. Twig dieback is common and when the infestation becomes severe it can be fatal. It takes several years for symptoms of this disease to become obvious.

The best approach to control Black Knot is to prune and destroy all knotted branches during the dormant season before April 1st in the Northeast. Prune at least 6” below the knot into the healthy wood to remove all fungal material. Remove diseased branches from your property or you may burn them. Also, it’s best to remove any infected wild cherry or plum trees surrounding your property as they will infect the plum and cherry trees in your landscape. After pruning out the diseased material, it is often advisable to follow-up with several fungicide treatments.

If the infestation is severe, it is usually best to remove the tree. Since this is a very serious disease, it’s best to consult with a certified arborist to confirm the diagnosis and to prune the knots from the tree. In most cases, this is not a job for the homeowner. Removal must be thorough and needs to be done carefully to prevent contamination to healthy branches.

Contact Fine Gardeners for a consultation or a local certified arborist in your area.

Happy Holidays from Fine Gardeners

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Happy Holidays from Fine Gardeners

Our warmest Holiday wishes from the entire team here at Fine Gardeners. Calendar year 2018 was, and continues to be, a truly remarkable year and we take this moment to recognize the joy that each and every one of you has brought to our personal and professional lives. We exist because of your faith and trust in us.

As calendar year 2019 approaches, we reflect upon the foundational recognition that "your success is our success". Our New Year’s wish for 2019 is to nurture our positive and ever strengthening partnership and to deliver ever increasing value to you, your business, and your family through the entirety of 2019.

Throughout this Holiday season may you be blessed with health and surrounded by friends and family. All the best! Cheers!

Garden Center Impulse Buying, Resist The Temptation, Part II

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

For many of us, visiting the garden center in the Spring can be worse than a kid in a candy shop. The selection and choices are overwhelming. So shouldn’t it be an easy task to fill up your car with beautiful plants that are all flowering and plop them in your yard? It’s easy to purchase them, but is this the right approach?

The antithesis to impulse buying is designing a garden area before you go shopping or at least have a list of plants that are well-thought out as part of a plan. With this approach, you won’t be tempted to buy everything that is being marketed to you. The most common mistake most novice gardeners make is to do all the plant shopping in the Spring. They usually end up buying plants that are flowering without knowing how long they will bloom or what the plants will look like after they are through flowering. This will result in a garden that is full of color, perhaps too much color, in the Spring and not much going on the rest of the year.

It’s best to either consult with a designer or have a sketch and a list prepared by a designer before you go shopping. Your designer can choose a combination of plants that will provide color throughout the season and will complement each other while staying within specific color schemes. Of course, there will be an initial cost for this service, but it is a worthwhile investment. You will enjoy your garden while avoiding years of expensive mistakes and frustration.

Here is a short list of things to consider before you go shopping:

  • Prepare a plant list.
  • Stay within a specific color scheme.
  • Give your plants the appropriate space they need. It’s best to plant most perennials in groups of 3 or 5 or more.
  • If you have rabbits or deer, choose plants that are less appealing to them.
  • Consider what the plant will look like after it has flowered. Is the foliage attractive? Is the form pleasing? Does it go dormant during the summer? Is it invasive?
  • Do some research to find the best varieties for the type of plant you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for Penstemon, common name Beard Tongue, ‘Dark Towers’ is one of the best varieties available. Check it out and you will see what I mean.
  • Choose plants to provide color and interest throughout the year.
  • Consult a garden designer who can help you with this list. Experience and plant knowledge guides the designer to choose the best varieties for your garden.

Happy Shopping!

Garden Center Impulse Buying, Resist The Temptation

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, October 22, 2018
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

Have you ever gone to a garden center with a specific plant in mind that would look perfect in your garden only to come home with a bunch of pretty plants that were not on your list? To quote Andy Rooney, “Well, I have!” It’s important to know that garden centers are no different than any other retail store in that they market to the vulnerable shopper who cannot possibly pass by that pretty flowering plant which is at the peak of the season. This type of eye candy is usually displayed prominently at the entrance to the retail area or near the cash register where it will definitely be noticed and hopefully purchased.

The problem with buying these little gems is that they don’t always have a very long shelf life, or they may be annuals mistaken for perennials. A perfect example of this is a beautiful ornamental grass named Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’, common name Purple Fountain Grass. This is an annual grass which will not hold up to a frost in the Northeast. If I only had a dollar for every client I had to disappoint by telling them they purchased an annual grass and not a perennial. Beware of this plant for it is likely on display at a garden center near you this Fall. Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ is a great plant to purchase in late Spring/Early Summer where you can enjoy it all season, but if you purchase it now, it may only last a few weeks.

The same is true for many other annuals sold in the summer where the consumer hopes the plants will come back the following year only to be disappointed when they don’t reappear the next season. Always read the labels carefully and don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson at the garden center. The Spring season is the most popular time of year for impulse buying. Look for our next blog where we will discuss Spring impulse buying.

For more information on fall gardening, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

Fall Container Gardens: Creating Season Containers

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAContainer gardens offer four seasons of pleasure, fun and creativity. Fall is here and the holidays are fast approaching. Make use of this opportunity to be creative and plan on changing out the plants in your containers. Gorgeous containers bursting with colorful arrangements are a focal point and should always look their best.

The amount of time and money you want to spend on your containers will determine how many times each year you want to change the plantings or add additional plants. It may mean completely changing some pots with each season or just changing a few plants in each pot.

Fall

Fall color schemes revolve around oranges, deep golds and rich reds. Mums are the classic standby, but calendulas, pansies, ornamental kales, diascias, snapdragons and edibles such as beets and Swiss chard make great fall containers.

Winter

In winter, seasonal container gardens can be filled with boughs of evergreens. Some foliage plants, such as springerii, can be left to dry in the containers making a decorative display all winter. Hardy trailing plants including vinca and ivy can remain in the container all winter. Woody plants offer interesting textures in winter and broadleaf evergreens such as holly, daphnes, boxwood, ivy topiaries and small conifers offer interest all winter. Arrangements of red twig dogwood and evergreen branches make a delightful seasonal display in urns near entrances.

Containers with Foliage Plants

Foliage plants and woody plants will work best for containers and planters used as screens and space dividers.

For more information on seasonal containers for your home or business, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

extension.illinois.edu

Pruning Hydrangea Arborescens

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, August 09, 2018
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Hydrangea Arborescens
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Hydrangea Arborescens

Fine Gardeners - Pruning Hydrangea Arborescens
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Hydrangea Arborescens

Photo 1 is hydrangea arborescens before pruning which has become floppy and spread beyond its intended range. Many of the outer canes are bending and need to be removed. Photo 2 shows the same hydrangea after drastic reduction in height as well as diameter of the clump and thinning for appropriate spacing of canes. Many new basal shoots will emerge this season.

Photo 3 is a closeup shot from the other side before pruning. Notice the density of growth and the bent canes. Photo 4 is the same plant after pruning. The remaining canes are strong and straight. It should be noted that hydrangea arborescens will develop flower buds on this season's growth, so they can be pruned back as low as 6" and they will flower beautifully the same season. Some people cut them all the way to the ground, but I believe it's best to keep them at least 6" high for stronger cane development. Hydrangea macrophylla, comprised mainly of lacecap and mophead forms, cannot be pruned in this manner because they develop their flower buds on last year's growth.

For more information on pruning hydrangea arborescens, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Pruning and Trimming Flowering Crabapple Trees - C

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, July 23, 2018


The client wanted this Flowering Crabapple Tree reduced, but it also needed thinning, dead wood removal and corrective pruning of rubbing and crossing branches. Photos 1 and 2 show the reduction and thinning that was executed. Photos 3 and 4 are close up shots of the inner branching. Note how congested the branching is in photo 3 where one can barely see through tree. Photo 4 shows the same close up after pruning. Several large branches were removed and many smaller, poorly positioned branches were removed to allow better air circulation and light penetration. Pruning a neglected tree like this is always a bit like solving a puzzle, but the end result is usually very satisfying.

For more information on flowering crabapple tree, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Boxwood Topiary Trees: Title - Creating Boxwood Topiaries for Better Curb Appeal

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Fine Gardeners - Boxwood Topiaries
Fine Gardeners - Boxwood Topiaries

Fine Gardeners - Boxwood Topiaries
Fine Gardeners - Boxwood Topiaries

Boxwoods are the most commonly used shrubs for topiaries because of their fine texture and ability to tolerate shearing to any form imaginable. We typically shear them twice per year to maintain their form, tweaking them a little with each trimming.

For more information on boxwood topiaries, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Fixing Damaged Rhododendrons

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, June 28, 2018


These rhododendrons were badly damaged during a construction project where the carpenters crudely tied the branches of the shrubs tightly resulting in many cracked and broken branches. Nearly fifty percent of the plant material had to be removed. In photos 1 and 3, we had finished pruning them and drove a few stakes in the ground to tie back certain branches to train them in order to expediate the recovery. We prune the shrubs at this property once per year by reducing, thinning and doing corrective pruning in order to encourage new growth and flower buds.

For more information on pruning rhododendrons, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Renovational Pruning of Rhododendrons

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, June 14, 2018


These two rhododendrons are out of scale for the size of this house and in dire need of reduction. There was also considerable dead wood to remove, corrective pruning and thinning to allow more light to penetrate the shrubs. Renovational pruning is a process that requires one to five years to accomplish the desired affect depending on the type of plant. Since rhododendrons are moderate growers, the next pruning session will occur in about two years. I will post the results in the near future after the next pruning session where I expect to reduce them again by nearly fifty percent.

For more information on pruning rhododendrons, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Pruning Hydrangeas

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Closeup at the base of a hydrangea serrata that had never been pruned in photo 1. Photo 2 shows the same view after removing nearly 70% of the canes, many of which were dead. This is the appropriate density for hydrangeas. Pruning was done mid-summer because it was the only visit of the season, however, the optimal time to do this type of pruning on most hydrangeas is early spring before the leaves form. We start by removing dead canes and then remove some of the older less productive canes and leaving the younger more productive canes.

Pruning Wisteria

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, May 03, 2018

This Wisteria is out of control and is about to devour the side of the client's house. Both the Chinese and Japanese form can grow 10 to 20 feet per year, so they often need to be pruned at least two or three times per season and even more often in some cases. It was necessary to cut the vine and pull it from the shutters, down spouts and windows in this case. We reduced the Wisteria to the confines of the supporting trellis.

For more information on pruning wisteria, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Brookline Garden - Before & After

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, April 20, 2018
Fine Gardeners - Brookline Garden - Before & After
Fine Gardeners - Brookline Garden - Before & After
Fine Gardeners - Brookline Garden - Before & After

Photo 1 shows the area before any work was done. It is a shady area with filtered light and the soil is sometimes on the wet side so the clients wanted us to choose perennials that would thrive in these conditions. We needed to do a little pruning first because there were many branches extending out into the bed area, but the clients didn't want the shrubs reduced significantly. After removing some of the lower branches and thinning, there is now more room for planting as can be seen in Photo 2.

The bed has been planted with shade-tolerant perennials, Photo 3, including Solomon Seal, Astilbe, Brunnera, Bleeding Heart and some ferns.

For quality gardening services, contact Fine Gardeners.

Pruning Roses

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, April 13, 2018
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Roses, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MA
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Roses, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MA
Fine
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Roses, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MA

Fine Gardeners - Pruning Roses, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MA
Fine Gardeners - Pruning Roses, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MA


Photo 1 shows a rose bush that has never been pruned properly, probably 10 years old. Photo 2 is a closeup of the same rose bush that has been lopped back to about 15" to allow for easier access in order to do drastic thinning. Note the density and congestion of stems throughout the bush. "Aah, I can breath!" Photo 3 shows the same bush after drastic thinning. The most desirable stems are preserved to allow for strong, healthy growth that will support clean foliage and flowering. Now there is appropriate spacing between stems to allow for good light penetration and air circulation. To the uninitiated, this looks like outright butchery. My client was concerned that I killed her roses, but as the next photo shows, her worries were soon relieved.

Photo 4 shows the same rose bush taken at the end of July, whereas, the first 3 photos were taken in early May. As you can see from photo 4, roses are extremely resilient and respond well to hard pruning and thinning. From the same property photo 5, taken early April, shows two roses side by side after reduction and thinning. Photo 6 shows the same roses taken in early September, happy and healthy with loads of flower buds to continue flowering well into the fall.

For more information on pruning roses, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Kingston Perennial Garden

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, April 13, 2018


This client had an existing perennial garden that she was unhappy with. Many of the plants were low-growing, spring-blooming plants that were not very showy so she wanted to revamp the garden. Photo 1 shows the garden area after most of the plants were removed. We salvaged a few of the original plants to use in the new garden. Choosing superior varieties of perennials makes a huge difference in the long-term results. The original planting used varieties that never flourished and were lacking good structure and flower display. So we chose strong varieties that will perform well and positioned them to complement each other throughout the season. The bed was reshaped and widened to allow more room for the plantings. We also amended the soil with compost before planting.

Photos 2 and 3 were taken right after the plants were installed. A mixture of evergreens and perennials were planted for seasonal interest throughout the year. Since the garden was planted in September, the plants did not have much time to flower and some of them are showing their autumn color.

Photos 4, 5 and 6 were taken the following summer as you can see the plants are much more mature and the garden is lush and colorful. Tall plants were placed against the stone wall in order to create a colorful view from the street as can be seen in photo 7.

For more information on perennial garden, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Cohasset Garden Renovation Before and After

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, March 30, 2018

This is an ocean front property with very harsh winter winds. Some of the plants were in poor condition and overcrowded so we removed the majority of them and pruned the remaining shrubs as needed. The client wanted more of a cottage-style garden with color and interest each season. The first two photos show the front yard and beds before doing any work. The third photo shows a similar view of the completed job for comparison. The following photos will show more details.

For more information about cottage-style garden, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

 

Recreating a Poolside Garden

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, March 27, 2018


This is a tiny garden bed next to a swimming pool that had an existing planting of Gold Thread Cypress as seen in Photo 1. The shrubs were no longer very attractive so it was time for a change. The client really liked ornamental grasses so that is primarily what he wanted. Photo 2 shows the empty bed with everything removed with the exception of two large stones.

After the plants are installed in Photo 3, the new garden is much more interesting with a combination of dwarf, mounding grasses and tall, upright varieties that will develop plumes at different times of the year. These blend in nicely with the rest of the existing grasses in the pool area. From the other side of the bed, Photo 4 shows a grouping of dwarf leucothoe 'Scarletta' which will provide 4 seasons of interest especially in the Fall and Winter when it takes on cranberry hues contrasting against the grasses. Photo 5 is from a different view.

For more information on pool side gardens, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Window Boxes and Outdoor Container Gardens for the Holidays

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MADid you think outdoor garden season is over? It's not. You can still make your home more beautiful for the holidays or just for the barren winter season with a gorgeous, but smaller garden. Seasonal window boxes and outdoor container gardens make a home stand out.. Paul Marini, owner of Fine Gardeners, is "making the world a more beautiful place, one garden at a time."

Fine Gardeners specializes in garden design and installation; ornamental pruning of trees and shrubs; seasonal containers; and lawn and garden maintenance. We have been very busy installing winter container gardens for our clients this week. The materials we use include evergreen boughs, colorful twigs, pine cones and red winter-berries to name a few. No artificial products are used!

We bring the materials to you and install them on site in your containers. Our goal is to create festive, colorful arrangements with contrasting textures for a natural look. Special requests are welcome and some of our clients don't celebrate Christmas, so they prefer to avoid a red and green theme.

Seasonal flowers for container gardens placed on your front steps, main entrance or in your window box will not only enhance your property, but will create a welcoming effect for visitors. We are looking for homeowners, restaurants and shop owners in the Needham/Newton/Brookline areas who want to stand out and make their space beautiful.

For more information on container gardens and window boxes, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

The Right Expertise and Flowers for Container Gardening for Gorgeous Seasonal Containers

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAContainer gardening services need to bring aesthetics and knowledge together to create lovely container gardens.

Container gardens are a vital part of home aesthetics and are a valuable addition to patios, decks, and entryways. A custom container garden adds sophistication and allure to your home.

Fine Gardeners offers exterior container garden design. We blend various fall plants and gorgeous containers that reflect your taste for the perfect container garden for your home and lifestyle.

Container garden plantings bring life to your home. They can and should express your style and create an inviting atmosphere. And, container gardens can fit into whatever space you have available, giving the perfect splash of texture and contrast to your entryway, deck, patio or indoor living space. They can bring a burst of color to a boring or flat space.

We choose plants and containers after an analysis of your environment, seasonal sun-exposure, surrounding architecture, landscape, and personal style.

A beautiful container garden starts with experience and knowledge for a perfect arrangement of movement and color. For more information on seasonal container gardens, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Cutting Back Perennials At The End Of The Season

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, October 31, 2017

To Cut Back Or Not Cut Back? That Is The Question.

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAMost of the perennials in the garden are past their prime and it’s time to make the big decision. So when is the best time to cut back perennials at the end of the season? It depends!

Several things need to be taken into consideration.

Perennials to leave standing:

Most importantly, don’t cut back evergreen or semi-evergreen perennials or it may lead to their demise. Evergreen plants need to retain their leaves in order to survive the winter. Remember this simple phrase: If it’s green, let it be; If it’s brown, maybe you should cut it down. I say maybe, because there are many reasons not to cut them down. Examples of some common evergreen and semi-evergreen perennials: Heuchera (Coral Bells), Geranium (Cranesbill), Lavendula (Lavender), Stachys (Lambs Ear), Dianthus (Pinks)

Many perennials provide winter interest, especially during a snowy winter. Tall ornamental grasses provide drama in the winter landscape with their tall plumes as well as movement with the slightest breeze. Perennials with persistent seed pods and seed heads can also remain for winter interest. Examples: Miscanthus (Maiden Grass), Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass), Baptisia, Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower), Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed-Susan), Sedum. Perennials that are marginally hardy, such as Agastache (Anise Hyssop) and Chrysanthemum (Garden Mums) will have a better chance of surviving the winter if left standing.

Perennials that provide food for birds:

Many birds utilize the seed heads of dried perennials during the winter. Also, birds often find protection in plant stubs, ground covers and leaf litter. Beneficial insects may hide in or near native plants for the winter in pupae stage, as caterpillars or eggs. Plants provide shelter from predators such as birds or spiders. Leaf litter also provides shelter for insects which is another good reason to keep some leaf litter in the garden all winter. Don’t be too tidy with the fall cleanup in your perennial beds.

Perennials To Cut Back:

Some perennials don’t contribute much to winter interest nor do they provide food for wildlife. These perennials can look a bit unsightly so why not cut them back when it is time. Plants that are prone to disease and insect pest problems should be cut to the ground to reduce the chance of infection the following season. Monarda (Bee Balm) and Tall Phlox are perfect examples of perennials that are prone to disease and pest problems. The leaves of Hosta can often harbor the eggs from slugs, so it’s best to cut them back when they turn yellow and remove them from the garden to prevent them from hatching in the garden next year. We cut back any plants with browning or blackened foliage and bare stalks that don’t add anything visually to the winter garden. Examples: Paeonia (Peonies), Hemerocallis (Daylillies), Brunnera, Veronica (Speedwell)

Some perennials will generate new basal foliage from the crown of the plant so do not disturb this new growth when cutting back the dead stalks. Examples: Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy), Echinops (Globe Thistle), Centaurea (Bachelor Buttons)

Procedure for cutting plants back:

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to cut plants back. Timing varies from year to year depending on temperature fluctuations. This Fall has been very mild and we still haven’t had a killing frost so it’s too soon to cut things back in my opinion. If the plants are completely brown, black or disease ridden, then by all means, cut them back. In general, wait until we have had several hard frosts which will cause the plants to go dormant. If they haven’t gone dormant yet then they are still storing energy to the root system for next year.

When cutting down a plant, leave about two inches above the soil to mark its location in the garden. This especially important for late-emerging plants such as Hibiscus, Asclepias (Butterfly Weed), and Platycodon (Balloon Flower). We use several tools for cutting back plants. Bypass pruners, gardening scissors and serrated garden knives are all good tools for this purpose. The thickness of the stems determines which tool to use. If you have large masses of one type of perennial, then power hedge trimmers or hand shears might be the best tool to use.

In closing, do whatever suits your gardening style. If your gardening style is ‘neat and tidy’, then you will probably prefer to cut all your plants back, except for the evergreens, in the fall. For many gardeners, leaving some of your select perennials will provide winter interest and be beneficial for wildlife.

For more information, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Great Plants for Fall Container Gardens

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAMums and asters are all over the place in the fall and they are great plants. But there are lots of other contenders that can sail through the cold temps of fall, looking awesome. Many garden centers don't carry a lot of the plants that are mentioned for the fall. But...

Here are some favorites.

Heuchera aka Coral Bells

Coral bells, also known as heuchera, are an all-time favorite container plants. They come in a mind-blowing assortment of colors and leaf textures and they are a very good-humored plant – almost impossible to kill. Some heuchera are happy in full sun, shade, or anything in between. Most are hardy down to -25 °F and perennial in zones 4 to 9. They are mounding plants and look great on their own or paired with either contrasting plants or in shades of the same color.

Coral bells can look great with gourds, mums and ornamental grasses. Choose a dark, almost black leaf, like 'Dolce, Licorice' or choose the lighter, 'Dolce, Peach Melba' for a terrific fall plant that works well with many fall decorations.

Verbena

Verbena is a prolific bloomer and will look good from spring well into fall. Many verbenas are hardy down to 15 °F and will continue flowering even after the first frost. They look great either on their own or filling in spaces and spilling over the edges of garden planters, window boxes or hanging baskets.

Colors range from brilliant reds to deep, dark blue to purples and pinks. They are drought tolerant and only need an average amount of water. They do need good drainage and, like most flowering annuals, verbenas need to be fed every couple of weeks. Though deadheading isn't necessary for most common varieties, your plant will look much better if you cut off the blooms after they fade. If your plant gets leggy, you will want to give it a serious haircut, pruning it way back, so it will fill out.

Oxalis or Shamrock

Oxalis is elegant and, at the same, time kind of cheerful. It is exceedingly easy to grow and likes partial shade to full shade. It is hardy to 15 °F and is an annual except in zones 8 to 10. Oxalis is a mounding plant and grows to be 12 to 18 inches high, making it a good plant to use in filling out a container. It comes in several colors including a really dark, almost black, ‘Charmed Velvet,’ and my favorite, a burgundy color called ‘Charmed Wine.” Another plus about oxalis is that you can bring it inside to overwinter.

Make sure you get Oxalis vulcanicola, which is not invasive.

Decorative Cabbage and Kale

Decorative cabbages are delightfully chubby and cheerful plants, while the kales are all spiky and radical looking. However, both of these plants will take you well into fall with style and beautiful sagey greens with pinks and purples. As a bonus, flowering cabbage and kales' colors only intensify as the weather gets colder, especially after a frost.

They also can bring some great color and texture to mixed container gardens. Kales can look great in funky shallow baskets, window boxes or modern metal planters with clean lines. These are really bold plants, so don’t be afraid to put them in unusual containers or combine them with unlikely plants.

Sedum

Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a classic fall plant for container gardens because that’s when it looks its best. Blooming in late summer to early fall, sedum is easy to grow in containers, preferring good drainage and full sun, though most will tolerate some shade. There are a vast array of sedums with different textures and flowers.

Sedum is a particularly good choice of plant for a fall container that you want to leave out all winter, because the dried flowers can look beautiful, especially covered with snow or frost. Sedum is hardy to a whopping -40°F and is a perennial in zones 3 to 9.

Some sedum can get pretty tall so it’s great to use in the center or back of a container.

Rudbeckia hirta.

Several great varieties such as Cherokee Sunset, Cherry Brandy, and Indian Summer are excellent, very showy additions to Fall planters. These sell out very quickly at garden centers, so shop early for them!

These plants will also survive the cold with style and class.

  • Wirevine
  • White Clover
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Sage
  • Lambs Ear's
  • Calibrachoa

Don't feel like creating your fall planter yourself? No problem, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners, we'll take care of it.

thespruce.com

Raking Leaves or Leaf Blowers?

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Newton, Brookline, Needham, MAWow, if this isn't a hot topic! No matter where you live, or how much you like your neighbors, the minute a neighbor fires up a noisy leaf blower, you're at their mercy and have to deal with the loud noise and air pollution.

Still, leaf blowers are commonly seen as the simpler, faster option when it comes to gathering leaves.

But are they really more efficient than raking?...

Leaf Blowers Are Noisy

The high pitched whine from a leaf blower is known to be damaging to your ears. It's so loud that many choose to wear sound-deadening ear protection whenever they're operating a leaf blower.

The fact is leaf blowers are so noisy that ordinances have been passed in many cities and towns around Massachusetts limiting both the decibel rating and time of day that use of a leaf blower is allowed — frustrating many landscapers!

Some even go so far as to publish a list of allowable leaf blowers, mandating which brands and models can or cannot be used within city limits.

Beyond the noise pollution, you also need to consider the air pollution created when using a leaf blower.

In one year's time, that little leaf blower engine you hear buzzing up the street pumps out as much smog-forming pollution as 80 cars, each driven 12,500 miles.

Most leaf blowers are powered by a 2-cycle oil-burning gas motor. This type of motor is required to allow the high rpm which generates the high velocity air that blows the leaves away.

In addition to blowing leaves, there is a considerable amount of trash, dust, dirt and other allergens that are sent airborne as a result of using a leaf blower. This could greatly affect those susceptible to respiratory problems (such as asthma).

And don't forget the smoky exhaust. Leaf blowers do actually burn oil as it's mixed with the gas.

Leaf Blowers Alone Don't Get Rid Of Leaves

Blowing leaves and grass trimmings away from your property isn't necessarily taking care of the ultimate problem: disposing of all those leaves.

You see, you can use a leaf blower to gather all of the leaves into piles, making it easier for you to pick up and dispose of them. Or, you can use a leaf blower to simply blow leaves from your property to somewhere else. Many do the latter.

Unless you pick up (or rake up) the leaves after you've blown them into a pile, then you're simply redistributing the leaves, rather than eliminating them. Leaves that are randomly blown away also tend to find their way down the storm sewer — causing water backups, flooded basements, and all sorts of grief for the Public Works Dept.

The Best Thing About Leaf Blowers

Of course there are some good reasons to use a leaf blower. They are faster, easier, and require less effort than raking does in open areas.

Unfortunately, most leaf blowers are used improperly from the get-go.

Leaf blowers are great for blowing grass clippings off your sidewalks and driveway and back into your lawn. Sending freshly cut grass clippings back into your lawn is actually good for your lawn. The hand held rechargeable blowers work great for this task.

Is Leaf Blowing Faster Than Raking?

I don't know, you tell me...

Every situation is different. It makes sense to use a leaf blower in larger open areas where blower are their most efficient. In small areas where there is really no where to blow them into a pile because there are so many obstacles, it makes more sense to rake.

In one 3-phase test, comparing a well-muscled leaf blower to a diminutive grandmother with a rake, the rake and broom were as fast as the leaf blower.

For information on fall cleanups using hand-tools, contact Paul Marini at Fine Gardeners.

Household Tips Guide

Fall Garden Tips

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, August 28, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Needham, Newton, Brookline, MAAssess Your Garden

A flower garden can tell you a lot at the end of the growing season. You'll want to assess the results of all your spring and summer work, and prepare the garden for next spring. First, take a walk around your garden and look at how all the plants did over the summer. Track successes and failures of individual plants. Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided.

Add Mulch

Determine which bare areas could use soil amendment and new plants. Add mulch where necessary.

Check for Diseases

Check the overall health of plants — look for diseases and damage.

Replace Old with New

Replace summer annuals in window boxes and garden beds with cool-weather flowers. Dig up any bulb plants that aren't hardy in your zone.

Prepare

You'll want to weed, deadhead faded blooms, divide overgrown plants, dig up non-hardy bulbs for winter storage, remove spent annuals, amend soil and add needed mulch. Replace ties with jute twine. Natural fibers make the best ties because they're more flexible. They'll break down over time, but at that point, it will be time to retie the plants anyway. Amend soil where there are bare spots or where you've removed annuals. Add compost and to replace nutrients lost during summer growth and to better prepare the soils for spring planting. Turn the amendments into the soil with a garden fork to distribute it evenly. Brush off any mulch that's sitting on branches of shrubs because it can cause leaves and needles to yellow.

Rose Care

Fall isn't the ideal time to prune roses. Pruning stimulates new growth that may not be able to survive the winter, especially in colder zones. Don't even cut off any dead wood.

Phlox Care

Cut faded blossoms. If powdery mildew is present, remove most of the stem that has the worst of the problem. Discard any affected debris — do not compost.

Gladiolus Care

It's important to get these out of the ground before the first killing frost; it doesn't harm the plants to do this while their foliage is still green. Dig out the bulbs and gently shake excess dirt from their roots. Cut off the stalks. Allow bulbs to "cure" (dry) for a couple of days. Shake any remaining soil from bulbs. Put bulbs in a cardboard box with some peat moss and store in a cool, dry place for the winter.

Siberian Iris

To divide, dig out the entire clump and then cut it into sections. Replace one section into the original hole and save the remaining sections for other bare areas in the garden.

Remove All Annuals from the Garden

Remove all annuals from the garden. You can save seeds from most annuals and plant them next year. Zinnias are an easy plant to collect seeds from and to grow from seed. For window boxes, simply remove summer annuals, add more potting mix and plant cool-weather bloomers like ornamental kale and pansies.

Ready Your Container Gardens

Believe it or not, the most overlooked group of plants this time of year is fall flower for container gardens, and there are plenty of things to consider with respect to their care.

For more information or for help with you fall gardening or fall container gardens, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

hgtv.com

Choose Your Landscape Mulch Wisely

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, July 31, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Needham, Newton, MAThere are many types of garden mulch to choose from, but some are better than others. Here is a list of commonly used mulches: Pine bark, hemlock, color-enhanced wood mulch, leaf mulch, peat moss, buckwheat hulls, fresh wood chips, compost.

Mulch should serve four main purposes:

  1. It should suppress weeds.
  2. Help retain moisture to the soil.
  3. It should be aesthetically pleasing.
  4. Very importantly, it should improve the soil by adding organic matter as it decomposes.

If the mulch you use does not meet these criteria, then we suggest you try something different. In our opinion, leaf mulch, also called leaf mold, is the best material to use for all of the above reasons. Not only does it meet these criteria, but it holds its color indefinitely, the texture is very fine, and it decomposes into compost within one or two seasons. Leaf mulch is an organic mulch and is also the most sustainable of all the choices. Aged pine bark or hemlock mulch is the second best.

Some people like fresh wood chips, but they are not a good choice for some gardening purposes. It will help suppress weeds and retain moisture, but it is not as aesthetically pleasing as it's light in color, very coarse, and as it decomposes, it ties up nitrogen at the surface of the soil. Most plants will not be affected by this phenomenon, but if you are planting vegetables or annuals then it will likely affect their productivity. On the other hand, wood chips can often be obtained for free, and if you are mulching a large area comprising mainly of trees and shrubs, then it could be an appropriate choice.

Color-enhanced mulches are gaining in popularity because they hold their color for a long time. My main complaints with these mulches are that they seem to compact and form a hard surface and they take a long time to decompose. I personally don't care for the color choices because they aren't very natural looking, but this is completely subjective. I also don't like the fact that when you are gardening on your knees, the color stains your clothes, skin and gloves and is difficult to wash out. There is also concern that color-enhanced mulch may be somewhat toxic, but this is controversial.

Peat moss is not used very often any more for good reason. It's very expensive, not sustainable and it seems to repel water once it dries out. It also moves around readily with wind and heavy rain.

Buckwheat hulls also blow around and get washed away easily. They can work well in very small gardens such as an herb garden or small annual or perennial bed where the grade is level.

Compost can also be used as a mulch, but if you have weed issues and a fair amount of bare areas that are exposed to sunlight, then you may have a serious weed problem by using compost.

There are many opinions and varying points of view on this subject, but these are simply my observations and experiences in dealing with many types of mulching materials through the years. Your experiences may be different.

For more information on mulching your gardens, contact Fine Gardeners.

Creating Curb Appeal in a Day

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAA new season is here. We often change the décor inside our homes as the seasons change. Maybe it is time to change the outside of your home? Making your home welcoming and attractive can boost your mood and make it fun to come home.

If your home's curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone -- including potential homebuyers -- will want to see what's inside. Here are some curb appeal improvements that you can do in a day, a week, or a month.

Create an instant garden

Container gardens add a welcoming feel and colorful curb appeal to any home exterior -- quickly and affordably. You can buy ready-made containers from garden centers or create your own with your favorite plants. For most landscapes, a staggered, asymmetrical arrangement works best to create a dynamic setting.

Garden for Curb Appeal

Use these five easy curb appeal ideas to take your landscape to the next level.

Install window boxes

Window boxes offer a fast, easy way to bring color and charm to your home's curb appeal. Choose boxes made from copper or iron for a traditional look, or painted wood for a cottage feel. Mix and match flowers and plants to suit your lighting conditions and color scheme.

Renew planter beds

Get garden beds into shape by pruning growth, pulling weeds, planting flowers, and adding new mulch to restore color that was taken away by sunlight and harsh weather. If stone or brick borders your bed, consider cleaning and resetting any pieces that are soiled or dislodged. If your border is old or tired-looking, try upgrading to stone or a decorative cast-concrete edging system for improved curb appeal.

Add arbors or fence panels

Arbors, garden gates, and short sections of decorative fence panels will enhance your garden and the value and curb appeal of your home. These amenities can be found in easy-to-build kits or prefab sections you simply connect together. For best results, paint or stain these items with colors already on your house.

Add outdoor art

Give your yard a little spunk and curb appeal by adding weather-resistant artwork. Choose pieces that complement your home's natural palette and exterior elements. Birdbaths, metal cutouts, sculptures, and wind chimes are good choices for outdoor art. Water sculptures not only function as yard art, but the burbling sounds soothe and make hot days feel cooler. Place fountains on level ground in optimum hearing and sight vantage points. Avoid spots in leaf-dropping range.

Create a new planting bed

Add contrast and color to your home exterior adding a new planting bed with beautiful garden design. Prime spots for curb appeal are at the front corners of the yard, along driveways or walkways, and immediately in front of the house. When creating a new bed, choose features that will frame your home rather than obscure it. Opt for stone or precast-concrete blocks to edge the bed. Include a mix of plant size, color, and texture for optimal results.

For more information on improving your home’s curb appeal with garden beds or container gardens, contact Fine Gardeners.

Home and Gardens

Should I Prune my Blue Hydrangeas Now?

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, June 23, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Needham, Brookline, Newton, MAThis is a followup to our previous blog about hydrangeas. Every year I am asked this same question from clients or neighbors of clients; "Should I cut my hydrangeas back?" Many people are under the impression that blue Mophead Hydrangeas should never be pruned, even when there are no viable buds present. If the canes on your blue Hydrangeas have not leafed out by now, then they are dead and need to be pruned back to some sign of life. Sorry, they will not come back to life, unless you have a variety named 'Lazarus'!

Many of the canes can be pruned to the ground if there are no leaves on them, but if they have leaves, simply prune them back to the first set of healthy leaves. For clarification, we are speaking of hydrangea macrophylla commonly known as blue Mophead Hydrangea. This is where there is much confusion because there are several types of hydrangeas and they are pruned differently depending on whether they bloom on old growth or new growth. It is important to keep track of the types of hydrangeas you have in order to prune them properly. Our next blog on hydrangeas will address the different categories of hydrangeas and how to prune them.

For more information on pruning plants and trees or on garden design or maintenance, contact Fine Gardeners.

Blue Hydrangeas: Why Aren't They Blooming?

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, June 02, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newtonm, Needham, MAIt looks like we have a repeat scenario for blue hydrangeas this year.

Hydrangea macrophylla, commonly called Mophead Hydrangea, were very disappointing for gardeners in the Northeast last year. Expect the same situation this year. The reason the blue hydrangea won't bloom is due to the fluctuating temperatures this winter and early spring. In a typical year, hydrangea buds will begin to swell in late March and should leaf out all along the stems in May. February was very warm so the buds of hydrangeas started to swell very early and were subject to the cold temperature drops in early April. We saw temperatures drop to the teens at night in early April causing severe dieback to hydrangeas and some damage to roses as well.

Is there anything you can do to protect your hydrangeas from dieback? Not really. Experiments have been done by wrapping burlap filled with leaves around the shrubs with no real benefit. Other methods of protecting hydrangeas have also proven to be ineffective.

For reliable blooms on hydrangeas, Fine Gardeners suggest that you try the following species and cultivars:

Hydrangea paniculata - large, white flowers fade to antique pink, blooms on new wood, many varieties available such as 'Limelight', 'Pinky Winky', 'Bobo', etc.

Hydrangea arborescens - round white flowers, blooms on new wood, varieties such as 'Annabelle', 'Incrediball', 'White Dome' has white lacecap flowers

Hydrangea quercifolia commonly called Oakleaf Hydrangea - Loose white flowers fade to antique pink, leaves provide excellent fall color, varieties include 'Alice', 'Pee Wee'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Twist-n-Shout' - Large, blue lacecap flowers, Reblooming on old and new wood

So many new varieties of these species are being introduced ever year that it's difficult to keep up with them all. Unfortunately, the only fairly reliable blue flowering variety is the lacecap variety 'Twist-n-Shout'.

For information on gardening and garden design, contact Fine Gardeners.

Over Mulching: Are You Guilty of It?

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Needham, MAMany people are under the impression that lots of mulch is good for plants so they pile it up around their perennials, trees and shrubs year after year. After 5 years of adding 1 to 3 inches annually, you could have as mulch as 5 to 10 inches of mulch built up around the stems of your shrubs and trunks of your trees. This is actually detrimental to your plants and most commonly done by commercial landscape companies.

Have you ever noticed the mounds of mulch around the trees in parking lot plantings in many plazas and shopping malls? In our trade we call that 'volcano mulching'. Excessive mulch smothers the roots of plants and sheds water away from the roots. It will cause the decline of plants over time.

The optimum thickness of mulch should be maintained at about two inches. This is enough to suppress weeds and aid in retaining moisture for the plants. Fine Gardeners recommends adding only half an inch to one inch as needed to maintain a two inch thickness. Only use a dusting near the crowns of perennials, shrubs and tree trunks. Your plants will thank you if you follow these simple guidelines for garden maintenance and you'll save money by using less mulch.

For more information on garden design and maintenance, contact Fine Gardeners.

Fine Gardeners Are Different From Conventional Landscape Companies

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Needham, Newton, MAWhat makes fine gardeners different from conventional landscape companies?

What is fine gardening?

Fine Gardeners have a high level of gardening practices which are horticulturally based. It requires experience, science, and artistic sensibilities. The skills include: selective pruning, extensive plant knowledge and care of shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, and weeds. And, Fine Gardeners also have to be familiar with common pests and diseases.

Not to disparage conventional landscape companies, but....

  • Conventional landscapers are better suited for more basic, low plant density landscape settings. Fine gardening companies are needed for more complex, high-plant density landscape settings.

Fine Gardeners

  • Focus on all things plant-related using appropriate horticultural practices for each task
  • High level care of plantings with skilled gardeners and appropriate supervision
  • Utilize very basic hand tools
  • Tend to be small companies with a close personal/business relationship with the client
  • High attention to detail and can resolve issues at each visit
  • Cater to the client's needs
Pruning and trimming trees:

Fine Gardeners Primarily hand prune trees using selective pruning techniques. First we identify the tree or shrub in order to enhance the plants natural form. Aspects of tree pruning include: structural pruning, corrective, thinning, and reduction. Specialty Pruning includes topiaries and espaliers.

Weeding:

Our attitude is that weeding is part of the job. We have horticulturists working on site who can identify plants and weeds in case there is a question. Employees are trained to ask first. "When in doubt, don't pull it out." Pre emergent herbicides are sometimes used for problem areas, especially where no mulch is used.

Lawn Maintenance:

Most fine gardening companies don't do lawn maintenance. The few that do will mow weekly as long as it is needed and only apply treatments as needed. If a problem exists, we will take the necessary measures to resolve it. Preventative measures are never a good idea. People shouldn't take antibiotics and other meds if they are not sick. Your lawn is no different. A more holistic approach is better for your lawn and the environment.

Fine Gardeners are used to working on their knees, sometimes your hands are the best tools! For more information on gardening and garden maintenance, contact Fine Gardeners.

Fine Gardeners Enhancing Gardens

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Friday, April 21, 2017

Fine Gardners, Brookline, MAWelcome to the Marini Fine Gardeners blog! Here you will find out about the latest in container gardening, garden and lawn maintenance, unique garden designs and tree pruning for ornamentals.

At Fine Gardeners, we cater to the unique needs and desires of our discerning clients in Brookline, Needham and Newton. From container gardens to unique garden designs, we pay close attention to detail that this sets us apart from a more traditional “landscaper.” We consider it an honor to work on your property so we treat it with the respect and care that it deserves. We know that each garden is as unique as its owner so never take a cookie-cutter approach.

We can help you create a yard that will be the envy of the neighborhood, bursting with colors with natural and native plants that thrive in our climate and region. We have the expertise and the knowledge to make your home, garden and patio beautiful. We are happy to work with you and share with you our extensive knowledge to make your garden an oasis. We will be posting regularly so please check back in. For more information, contact Fine Gardeners. Happy Spring.


horticulturally savvy gardeners
Fine Gardeners