Let The Sun Shine in

January is a month of vulnerability for some of us, I personally feel fragile. The excitement of the holiday season has abruptly stopped, the weather is raw and nothing is in bloom outside. I, also, cannot think of any other month that I appreciate the sun more.

My view from within

My view from within

If your garden has been cleverly designed to maximize your 'view from within' you are set, if not your month should be filled with exciting dreams and plans for 2018 and beyond.  

Exposed in winter the bones or structure are the beginnings of a good garden design and it is also where it ends. A well-placed chair or desk is the absolute best when the sun suddenly comes dancing in. Mystifying, it appears to have draped itself across your hedges, topiaries, and trees.

Particularly striking and unexpected is the soft pink glow of a magnificent specimen, Acer /Maple Sango Kaku bathed in the chance winter sun.

Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Contemporary; in the same allotted space, stage large numbers of narrow vertical drifts of dramatic looking Betula / Birch utilis var. jacquermontii.

Birch Trees

Birch Trees

A winter walk on the grounds at The New York Botanical Garden has remarkable reminders of winter colors for local suggestive plant material.

However, if you want to truly explore, plan a trip to visit Le Vasterival - a garden of passions. Located near Dieppe, France - the late Princess Sturdza mastered the woodland in color. On a future blog I will share my fascinating 4- hour garden walk with her, her Dachshunds and her silver serviced black coffee in the cold drizzle alongside the tennis court.

For now start dreaming and let the sunshine in.


Sango Kaku

Sango Kaku

A Holiday Gift Guide - Men Take Note!

Following is a list of my favorite things to inspire men (and women) this holiday season.  

1. My favorite boots are from Hunter in all their fun colors (the sparkling Chanel, I will keep for indoor occasions) Other staples for my wardrobe include Le Chameau Andalou and Ilse Jacobsen rain boots.  

Glamorous Gardening and Glamping

Glamorous Gardening and Glamping

2. I personally like to pair my garden boots with thick 'Stalking Socks' and these are a perfect stocking addition. I could not do without my Lady Angus in Dark Olive. Quirky fun to be had, and they will brighten up the dullest of boots.  

Sock Blog size.jpg

3. Being an outdoor type of girl (and living in New England) hats are a necessity.  L'Armoire in New Canaan, CT has a fantastic selection from New York based designer Ellen Christine Couture to Hawico of Scotland. You can also peruse her jewelry - diamonds are a girls best friend and the Deirdre Featherstone Collection is magnificent. The cute hat below with fur pom pom retails at L'Armoire for $310.

Hawico of Scotland at L'Armoire

Hawico of Scotland at L'Armoire

4. One of my favorite gardening items are Foxgloves Original Gloves, these have a smooth light fit which allows the ability to work almost as if no gloves were on your hands. They are inexpensive and have darling colors such as Fuchsia Pink. Order yours on Amazon HERE 

5. As the colder winter months draw in, curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book. Reinventing the season with Winter Gardens by Cedric Pollet is the perfect read to excite, bringing a vision often over-looked. A romantic will enjoy the effort taken for an out of print book found; Diary of a Rose Lover by Henri Delbard. Also, The Flowers of La Grenouille by Charles Masson possibly followed by a dinner at La Grenouille in the city. For more information visit Barnes & Noble  - I am excited to be publishing my book in the Fall of 2018.


6. Last but by no means least, allow me to source something special and unique to compliment your property and surprise your partner. Statement looks can be achieved by custom painting wooden boxes for a Parisian look or filling urns with topiary. 


Wishing you all a magical holiday season and a healthy, happy Christmas. Bringing in the mythical “Tomte” of Sweden from the garden might be what is needed to ignite the best from this list. 

Tomte - available to buy at Eleish Van Breems in Westport, CT

Tomte - available to buy at Eleish Van Breems in Westport, CT

Sandra xo

SEVDesign Group have Gift Certificates starting at $25 and can source all your gardening and design needs. Call 203 217 7406 for a complimentary consultation. 


The Window of Opportunity is Closing in

Now is the time to put together a thoughtful list of what needs to be done before the fall season closes onto the holiday season, and winter escapes.

With large shrubs and trees you can linger on your deadline, especially if they are deciduous. The larger the root ball, the easier it is to sustain moisture with an unexpected hard freeze before your plantings are established. Trees in freezing temperatures, whether evergreen or deciduous go dormant. With no leaves their dormancy is immediate, with an evergreen it is slower. The same plant hormone, Abscisic acid (ABA) will eventually stall the growth storing the energy to survive its dormancy. It is also the reason your plantings need water before shutting down for a long winter.

30ft. Norway Spruce

30ft. Norway Spruce

When planting bulbs it's better to wait until there is a strong probability that the weather will stay cold, otherwise it could trigger early growth. Bulbs are hardy; they will survive if this happens but it's better that they stay underground, developing a good root system. This will enable them to thrive and having been starved of attention provide a thunderous show of bloom come Spring.

Having lived in Pebble Beach in California and Charleston in South Carolina, I would often store my tulip bulbs in the freezer and when the Christmas holidays came convince our sons to help with planting them out.

I personally love this time of the year with all the bones of a garden exposed, the cleanliness a relief to my senses. Here in Connecticut my suggestion is to get your tasks finished up before Thanksgiving. One never knows what the weather will bring, but we can all plan for Spring bringing fresh COLOR and BEAUTY to our landscape. 


There is a breeze in the air...Fall

Although this weather is freakishly warm, it's still time to get busy because there is much to accomplish before that other 'unforgiving' season falls upon us. Our crew will be digging out the fabulous Dahlia’s in New Canaan, replenishing the beds with seasonal soil, and bedding down  dramatic tulips bulbs - so they will be ready for their springtime ta-da!

A little reminder to be very careful when using 'Bone Meal' as our beloved furry friends who share the garden are thrilled with the taste of organic fertilizers, even with a daffodil, which is poisonous! All parts of the daffodil contain a toxic chemical, lycorine and the part of the plant that contains the highest concentration is the bulb! So who cares if they don’t eat it, when every bulb you spent the day planting is strewn across your lawn!

Fall is a unique time to establish some larger trees into the landscape, although not to be over-looked because it cannot be found are large trees such as the Himalayan Pine for us sometime plant elitists. Up-yonder in Washington, CT we will be bringing in some specimen Norway, Concolor and Blue Spruce for screening. Tagged for digging - it is heavy work even with large equipment, our big strong men will be in demand.

NOW is the best time to schedule new projects. Trees can be dug out or shaped (without damage to existing or new beds) in the growing season. In Wilton we will be doing just that, plus marking the beds to be developed for next year plantings. We will clear out the old grass and weeds, mix in fall leaves, lawn clippings, topsoil and manures. Like a farmer I love the look of good clean earth before me. I know the rewards to be reaped with good tree husbandry and soil prep in gardens.

Although, without good design it is often not…..

Image: Concolor and Blue Spruces

Keep it Real with SEV Design Group Living Tree Gifts

Fall (falls) upon us on Friday, September 22nd, closely followed by Halloween and Thanksgiving. That can only mean one thing - the holidays are coming, so why not be perfectly prepared? 

Surprising someone with a living tree is unique, kinder to the environment and it will thrive for future generations.

Simply choose a tree* with the approximate height, inform us of the occasion and what decorations you will require. We offer:

  • Garlands
  • Lighting
  • Ornaments 
  • Wreaths
  • Skirt

All our trees are delivered with a personalized gift card attached to them. For trees over 9-foot, an advanced site visit can be arranged to ensure the design and location is perfect.

Commemorate special holidays, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, a new baby or corporate gift with a tree, that will continue to thrive for future generations. Order one as a surprise for someone who needs cheering up, a neighbor who is unable to decorate a tree themselves, or as a random act of kindness to a local charity.

*Tree Choices: Choose an Alaskan Cedar, a contemporary version draped in clear globes to bring light to the season or the classic Fraser Fir and the noble all wrapped with traditional lighting.

"I cannot tell you how I feel about ‘others’ holidays except that I accept them for all the joy and happiness it brings them. I also believe that a large majority of what we feel for Christmas comes from our youth….we never quite lose that….or hope." - Sandra Visnapuu

Make your initial inquiry by calling Sandra on 203 217 7406 or email: SANDRA@VISNAPUUDESIGN.COM

SEV Design Group / www.visnapuudesign.com