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 /  

Skilled & Sculpted Scissorhands

Topiary; an art form in the garden has come and gone in fashion but for those of us ‘in the business’ it has never left its pinnacle of importance and I’m delighted it’s enjoying a resurgence. Nowadays properties with a smaller square footage can gain a sense of grandeur by adding topiary. Boundaries are then clearly defined in a way that doesn’t speak of no trespassing and the illusion created, whether geometric or fanciful will bring out the often-over-looked individuality of its owners.

Black Barn Farm

Black Barn Farm

A simple example would be when passing a house in the deer infested Del Monte Forest in Pebble Beach. I had an ‘LOL’ moment as outside sat a precision cut sculpted deer topiary. The owner, a surgeon had commissioned this; and the clever volunteers had created it from a native shrub so it could not be enjoyed by the normally devilishly deer devourers!

A few weeks ago, I visited Black Barn Farm in Richmond, MA – which happened to be on a ‘Garden Conservancy’ tour. It was a 2.5-hour journey but worth it for the topiaries. I was thrilled with the owners’ expertise and knowledgeable subject choices.

It was a beautiful morning so I took along my Scottish Terrier - for the ride. However, he got more than he anticipated when the hosts (also dog lovers) invited him into their garden, as they would not hear of him waiting in the car. Their female Pit Bull, athletic and gorgeous wore him out with her playfulness. She was gentle, sweet and learned to the young Scot; the joy from a garden tour was more than my Finlay could pantheon… he slept all the way home!

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Not exactly lazy, but don’t lose spirit because the best of Connecticut is before you. Take a moment to enjoy alfresco dinners with friends and family, or steal a quiet moment alone in the garden to contemplate and renew your energy.

In the garden it’s a time to reap the rewards of your efforts. The excessive heat can bring your Hydrangeas to their knees at midday but they will cleverly revive themselves in the cooler evening air, so all is well.

However, the issue at hand is the huge amount of rain Connecticut has experienced combined with excessive heat. This has caused mites, white flies, rust, black spot and all sorts of fungus. I cannot think of a better example than the Dahlia for lasting summer color, but this morning the usually carefree plant needed additional attention to assure its kept beauty! If you brush up against any of your plants and see tiny flies taking to the air, or if you notice discoloration of the green on its leaves - reach for a good organic spray. It can be a matter of life or death (for a plant). Spray early in the morning, on a day with no rain and little breeze.

When it is hot and humid, I favor the effectiveness of hedges, or precisely trimmed evergreens which bring a little order to the garden landscape with their lax flowers in the heat. Sitting outside under my large umbrella, I am reminded it is a perfect time to ‘roll out those lazy, hazy (crazy) days of summer'!