Freelance Garden Design

Rachels hopes to become a freelance garden designer in a new incarnation of Rachel Beth Gardening, who acts as horticultural consultant, who fosters garden happiness, independently of mark-up sales models. Hoping to serve Northern New Jersey and Westchester!

Previously: Design, installation, and maintenance

Weekly three hour gardening sessions whose mission was to evoke positive feelings for the client(s) through gardening. Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Rockland Counties. Also provided hands-on gardening lessons. Educated independently of sales.

I always say there are no “befores and afters” in gardening, just art unfolding and changing over time! My dad is a clock collector, and I think plants and gardens are like clocks.

Resume

Farm cottage garden for Lottie’s Farm in Mahwah, NJ, where I was a resident from 2012-2014

When I design for a client, and try to cook them something they’d love to eat, suited to their palettes, and people often ask me about my own tastes. My landlord told me I could “go bananas” but I liked to keep the audience in mind too, everyone else on the farm, and everyone who came to visit. This garden is Calamagrostis brachytricha in back, with Athyrium ‘Ghost’ ferns, Aquilegia ‘Biedermeier’ are the big flowers, Tiarella cordifolia are the spiky flowers, Carex laxiculmis ‘Hobb Bunny Blue’ in front. I wanted to put the grass next to the lawn as a joke! One spring I put in purple pansies. In the bottom right corner of the photo is a Thalictrum cultivar that I ended up taking out. The vine against the wall is probably poison ivy. The cottage didn’t have gutters, so that was an interesting obstacle to work around. I left the leaves as mulch to keep the weeds down. The shade was almost complete and the soil was soggy and filled with gravel and construction debris and sometimes interesting garbage relics. The farm had a lot of messy grasses, and corn that looks like grass, and I thought it would be a fun effect to have grasses that didn’t need mowing. I wanted it to look overgrown instead of manicured, like all of the overgrown parts of the farm, and “secret gardens” my landlord cherished. I was thrilled with how long the flowers lasted, but didn’t necessarily worry about constant blooms because the farm was big and had a lot of gardens elsewhere with other seasonal focuses. I was also more interested in atmosphere. The grasses in the back “bloom” with feathery plumes in fall, and although they turn tan, they are considered decorative in the winter. This garden picture represents about half of the garden, to the left side of a door, and the garden repeats on the right side of the door too. Plants were planted from landscaping plugs from North Creek Nurseries. I was in part inspired by the long linear plantings of Greenwood Gardens, where I was an intern in 2011, which invite slow strolling, and are fun to walk next to, or skip by, or frolic next to, (as opposed to stopping and inspecting a lot of varied plantings up close, which I like a lot in other situations). I was also influenced by Goffle Brook Farm’s (Ridgewood, NJ) “plant pies” of interlocking annuals. I was also influenced by my incredible horticulture professor Doctor Steven Fischer at Bergen Community College who says “line upon line does not make design.” The path leads to a shed. The grasses in the back and are a Highline plant, and grow to 3-4 feet tall by the fall!

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