Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

March 22, 2013

Among the Best People in the World are Those Who Garden Their Grounds

If there are 1,243,772 pieces of knowledge necessary to command ones personal computer, I know about 17 and a half. I spent years fighting the idea of placing my face in front of an invention with a screen that was even more vacuous than what usually appears on television.

Eventually, I discovered that I was wrong…..but I was too late along in life for me to recover from lost time gathering computer expertise. Nevertheless, the 17 and a half pieces of knowledge I do know about the computer, I know well.

For most of the time I have been writing articles for this Masterpiece Landscaping, Ltd blog site, I was rather depressed about the absence of commentary from readers. How unlike gardeners of any type, I thought…..and kept thinking. But, I love what I do and enjoy writing and talking about what I have discovered from my years of Landscape Gardening. I like sharing this good fortune of knowledge.

It turned out that among the things about the computer I didn’t know was that good people, good souls, and fellow gardeners HAD been emailing with comments to make about the blog articles, but I was unaware of the space at this computer where these comments arrived…..until company compatriot, Josh Perlich discovered the articles yesterday, 194 of them, which until this discover went unanswered.

I want to thank all of you who have enjoyed these articles as much as I have for your remarks, comments, humor, and other gardener charms which go along with the nature of such animals. I think that among the very best people in the world are those who garden the soil around where they live. It has something to do with a deep soul being revealed in full public. I shall try to list all of the names, in time to thank for their commentary beginning with the following gardeners: Gert, Nikki, Peerless, Heather, Jennica, Jahlin, Jaycee, Aspen, Tisha, Wind, Mark, Dorie, Estella, Lola, Lettie, Stretch, Takeo, Jeannie, Vianca, Infinity, Sukey, Adele, and Darrence….for starters.

Please continue to write in and do include questions along with your comments which will help you enjoy succeeding in your Landscape Gardening, God’s greatest artform to mankind.
Thanks again. glenn ray, christian ray, josh perlich and all the folks at masterpiece

March 21, 2013

When to Cut Back “Used” Perennial Foliage to Embellish the Winter Landscape

Filed under: perennials,The Art of Landscaping,winter landscapes — glenn @ 12:05 am

Preparing for your ideal winter landscpe garden is begun in late fall before the first snowfall. This is particularly true of your landscape garden is more the feature of your grounds than lawn.

Lawn is normally flat grounds. Although it certainly supplies negative space in winter as in summer, when it occupies large sweeps of grounds, lawn doesn’t bear captivating shadows in winter because it IS flat. My 2/3rds of an acre of grounds, nearly all without lawn, stages plants of all sizes at many elevations probably no more than ten feet from highest to lowest point. It is in these sweeps of undulating grounds and the passages to lower or higher elevations of even a few feet, that winter’s shadows, forms, textures, and colors are so magnificently displayed over the landscape garden’s vast bed of white. This winter, due to its many light to moderate snowfalls has been exceptionally beautiful due to the purity, the cleanliness of its white showing off all other features.

Time usually dictates what herbaceous perennial foliage I cut back in fall, except I know what I want to maintain for winter landscape decoration. If winter starts with a deluge of rain and ten inches of heavy wet snow, most herbaceous foliage will be crushed and so, unavailable for winter garden display. This winter’s snow was introduced to my landscape garden lightly, gradually. So, here is a listing of some of the plants I preen for winter landscape garden display above the snow line:

Astilbe, the big Chinese, Visions, Deutschland, and most others stand erect and proud in their winter clumps, as if in bloom. Similarly Monarda, Joe Pieweed, Fireworks Solidago, Hot Lips Chelone, Vernonia, Baptisia, the Stonecrop Sedums, such as Autumn Fire, Garden Phlox, Tiger Lilies, Karl Foerster grass, some of the Miscanthus grasses, Goldsturm Rudbeckia, and Euphorbia polychroma’s golden wirelike stems all show their stuff well in winter even if the snowfall is deep but DRY rather than Wet and heavy. Yet, NOTHING in the garden perennial world displays snow more beautifully than ANGELICA GIGAS, (Korean Angelica). Its tan stems are sturdy, some reaching ten feet in height all appearing as candelabra proudly displaying two to four inches of snow covering the past season’s florets, some still loaded with seeds.

None of these perennials are the main feature of the idealized Minnesota winter landscape garden. As we mention so often the core of the “living” winter landscape gardened grounds is the evergreen conifer. Do not forget that over the past thirty years, new, spectacularly beautiful hardy evergreen conifers from all greens to the yellow to the bluish, from the tiny to the huge, the narrow to the fat, have been ‘invented’ or discovered….. for our horticultural zones from 3.5-4.8 now existing in our Twin City area southward.

It is certainly a shame so few Minnesotans have discovered these treasures.

March 17, 2013


Filed under: winter landscapes — glenn @ 8:59 pm

I visit my landscape garden almost every day of the year. After all, I do live in paradise on Earth. Even if not perfectly planned, the pleasures topped by inspiration and gratitude however selfish they may seem, are almost incomparable in life’s experience even competing with the joys of the family, and offering easier solutions when things go wrong.
I have made a list of plants during these winter walks while examining my various gardened rooms, which dramatically add color and/or other interest to the beauty and spirit of these spaces.
Almost any spectacular winter garden in Minnesota begins with a clever setting of evergreen conifers for privacy, background and borders… well as dramatic specimens.
If ‘shockingly’ beautiful means anything to you, dear reader, in these, my own grounds, the SHOCKINGLY part occurs only in winter. I do prefer the feel and spirit of Spring, its colors, smells, perfections. I agree our Autumn can be very attractive, but nothing SHOCKS the human eye and soul as the beauty of that right kind of snowfall, over the negative spaces which divide the shapes, colors and sizes of the sturdy woody perennials…and certain herbaceous ones as well, which hold frostings of snow as if the plants themselves intended to show off beauty and pride.
Viewing “Purity” over Earth’s landscapes can occur only in Winter.
This past winter has been one of the best for such shows. In my area there have been no heavy rain and ice snowfalls to crush or bury plants.
If late autumn snowfalls are wet and heavy, usually all otherwise sturdy herbaceous perennials are crushed to the ground under the weight of the ice and weight of wet snow. (Remember Saturday, November 13, 2010?) Rain turned to rain with ice around 1:00 AM, and then to rain, ice and snow and thirty inches of it on my landscape garden eventually wiping out electricity and indoor heat besides felling countless huge branchings of pines for the next 20 hours.
Such winters are shocking indeed…..but they aren’t the best of beauties. Drier snowfalls of two to five inches a swipe are usually the best…..expecially without wind. And occasionally you will see the best of any visual paradise on Earth, yes, here in the North in a landscape garden at a midnight made bright and clear by the light of a full moon, yet overhead hang dark clouds sprinkling huge but soft flakes of floating snow as if sugar decorating a delicious dessert.
The profound quietude of such a snow’s hushness completes the unbelievable perfection of the moment.