Spring 2017 Landscaping Newsletter

“Look deep into Nature,and then you will understand everything better” Albert Einstein.

Hi All

Wowee, what a year. I think we all need a little beauty and peace right now, so are you ready to get that amazing garden started this year?! I sure am. In the garden is where I can escape from the stresses of life. Not that I don’t have a ridiculous amount of plants as it is, it’s just that my gardens make me feel good, so the more the better. Between the chaos of politics, the stress of seeing the effects of climate change up close, and my kids giving me the damn flu every winter, I just relish being home, my sanctuary, where nature shows you balance and understanding. My garden is where I find the peace, to know that life is short, and to enjoy these moments while you can. Although, being out in the garden makes me drink more wine because I am enjoying myself a little TOO much, so I guess that’s not so good:)

Ok, so let’s talk about those ‘bad hombres’ of the plant world (sorry had to). INVASIVES! These are plants that are destroying our local ecosystems, quickly and steadily. Many of them are sold at your local nurseries because they are still in demand by homeowners and landscapers alike. Plants like Burning bush, Barberry, Vinca, Forsythia, Bradford pear, Miscanthus, Norway maple, and yes, Butterfly bush, just to name a few. They escape from our gardens, by birds, wind, or running roots, and quickly establish themselves in woodlands and open areas. Once they take hold, they wreak havoc, making lots of babies, and taking over the native vegetation. This causes a ripple effect and changes the whole ecosystem, severely decreasing diversity, changing the soil structure, and causing disease. Invasive species are the 2nd largest threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction, and it’s impact is huge and mostly irreversible. Oh, and it costs of billions and billions of dollars every year to deal with them. This is where we all can make a small, but important, difference. I can’t tell you how many customers I’ve shamed into blowing up their burning bushes, but it’s a lot:) I know, I’m mean. I just don’t have a filter when it comes to knowing what is happening in the environment, and then still seeing these plants in the market. I will always have at least 3 native alternatives to tell you about that are just so much cooler, and much more beautiful than any invasive plant. So, DON’T BUY THEM!

Otherwise I will show you my mean face:(

chester county landscaper spring 2017 newsletter 007

Maintenance of the garden is something that is super important for things to always look their best. We plant in layers, so as things grow in, the weeds get pushed out. Before that happens though, there is space where things just want to grow. If you slack in doing your weeding chores for longer than a month, you can easily have an annoying problem very quickly. When we put in new plantings, we end up causing a lot of disturbance to the soil, releasing weed seeds from their dormancy, so that first year you need to be vigilant. My mean look comes out often when I see that someone has not been as diligent as they said they would be! So, LET US DO IT!

Once a month maintenance usually becomes less expensive over time, and we are in and out of there very quickly. Any pruning can also be done, and the garden continues to look great all season. A lot of the times there are problem weeds (thistle anyone?) that need laser beam attention to eradicate, but with regular maintenance these weeds are eventually eradicated or at least under control. Come home and enjoy your garden, and let us do the work!

chester county landscaper spring 2017 newsletter 001

Since I am slowly getting rid of my lawn, I’m always looking at places to put in new paths. Garden paths can create a sense of mystery (doesn’t that sound cool). When you look outside of your windows, or as you stroll around the property, it’s very inviting to see a path leading to somewhere that you can’t quite see. Maybe at the end of the path there is a statue, a pond, or a couple of chairs to sit in. The path can be as simple as wood chips or pine needles, with plantings all around. You could get more elaborate with some irregular flagstone steppers (Scott is the stepping stone master), or a more formal path with regular flagstone or brick. When the kids start calling for ya to tell you about something they need right NOW, it could also be a great hiding spot:)

So, here’s my lawn rant for the year. We don’t use any chemicals or fertilizers on any of our plantings (except on that thistle!-only way to do it), so when we have to work on a property where the lawn was just treated with chemicals, it always makes me think “This is how I’m going to get cancer”. I have to say that I actually like my lawn, which actually has very little fescue in it. It’s filled with violets, clover, native sedges, and many other types of groundcovers. The violets cover the lawn with purple and white flowers in spring, the clover blooms white during the summer, and then a mixture of all kinds of things bloom and have great leaf texture thru the season. It’s always green and I never have to water it, even with the hot dry summer we had, because these plants are adapted to those stresses. It still gets cut once a week by our son Quincy (Scott used to do it, but was promptly fired), so it always looks clean and trim. I just wish (in my La La land?) that we could all get past having the perfect lawn, and try to adapt to a lawn that is sustainable, a lawn that doesn’t require all that water and chemicals/fertilizers. I really don’t want to get cancer from grass:)

chester county landscaper spring 2017 newsletter 005

This past summer felt like the hottest, driest year I’ve ever experienced since I have been working outside. I didn’t think I could sweat that much, and when dirt and sweat mix, it’s not a pretty sight. Any new plantings from last year will need deep waterings once or twice a week if we have no rain. Remember, once things get established, watering the landscape should NOT be a regular occurrence. Watering properly in the beginning makes plants strong enough to withstand the stresses of our local environment for the future. Since we have not had what was even close to a winter, you will see things blooming very soon. Time to look around and see what early bloomers you would like to see blooming now for next year (planted this year), in and around where you can enjoy them.

chester county landscaper spring 2017 newsletter 002

Our website has been REVAMPED, so check it out, or if you know anyone that needs their garden space made special, we are here. We want you to come home and decompress, have a cocktail on the patio, and look out at your oasis, and say Ahhhhhhhhhhh………...This is what we do, and what we want you to experience.

chester county landscaper spring 2017 newsletter 008

Here’s to a promising spring, and hopefully not a sweaty summer. Look forward to seeing everyone as usual, and remember to try to take time every day and smell the roses:)

Happy spring!
Kirsten and Scott


“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it tied to everything else in the universe” John Muir

Kirsten MacLaughlin Gardens
590 Rock Raymond Rd. Downingtown, PA 19335
(610) 476-5892
KMGardens Facebook

Website Management by @Cazillo Website Design & Photography