I am having so much fun reading all these contributions from all my friends all over world. Are you? Going closer to home though, I introduce you to my cross town neighbor and extraordinary plants-man, Andrew Keys, creator of the always enjoyable Garden Smackdown.
Besides being a landscape designer, I’m also a web designer. It’s what I did before starting my landscape design practice, and what I still do to fill in the gaps as I build my landscape design business. I’ve done all of my own sites myself, as well as friends’ blogs (check out eatniks), and I also handle the design end of projects for a local web developer who does sites for area
non-profits, museums, green businesses, and the like. (See: danvers bipeds and cuvilly arts and earth center) I’ve come to realize how nice it is to be able to put the work I do relative to my passion for plants down once in a while and write code instead. I think I’ll probably continue to do that even as my gardening business grows, if for no other reason than to guard against burnout.
My Favorite things: Andrew Keys
Oh, well, whatever these things are, they’d have to be plants. Should I be more specific? Okay, okay, how about my favorite plants this time of year? Top of the list would Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose.’
It’s a photo finish, but I’d say this one takes the title as my favorite grass too. Incredibly vigorous, big but not huge, with pink-aging-to-wheat tassels of bloom from June to fall.
Another favorite this season is Physocarpus Coppertina(TM). I’d mistakenly thought it was another cultivar until it hit me this season that hey, those leaves are **orange.** Orange kind of freaks me out, but this one’s a winner. It may be my orange gateway plant.
What do you do to find inspiration?
There’s nothing I find more inspiring than experiencing the real deal, whether it’s a visit to a botanic garden, arboretum, or art museum, or seeing a great film in the theater. Experiencing and absorbing the real thing is hands down the best thing I can do for myself as a designer.
Best Garden or Design Advice Ever (Given or Received)?
I’m not sure it was the BEST advice, but it was certainly great advice: I once asked a panel of several established landscape pros what advice they’d give to someone just starting out in the business. All of them said to focus on work/life balance. Not “learn about plants,” or “buy a big truck,” or “work hard and make lots of money,” but don’t forget to take a break, put work
down for a while, and remember the things that matter most in life. It surprised me, but I take it to heart, and I take work/life balance very seriously.
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