Posts Tagged ‘urban gardening’

Coronilla varia L.

Crown Vetch starting to overtake a planter

 Somewhere along the way we have been led to believe it is possible to plant a garden that will take care of itself. With ploys of xeriscaping, automatic irrigation systems, and plants cultivated specifically to be slow growing, disease proof, and pest resistant, we have convinced ourselves that we can set it and forget it. As a horticulturist of over 12 years, I can tell you that such a garden simply does not exist. To put it in perspective, think about your family pet- perhaps it’s a Chihuahua that gets a bath 3 times a week, dresses up in leopard print with chiffon ruffles, and eats out of a glass goblet. Well, plants are living things too, and though they may not wag their tail and bark, they want just as much care and attention.

Even on rooftops in Manhattan maintenance is a critical component of the long term success of a garden. With container gardening, maintenance becomes even more important. Not only are the effects of the surrounding environment exaggerated to plants growing in planters, but containerized plants really stand out like art on a pedestal. In New York City, where space is nonexistent and weight limits are restricted, every plant we put in a garden must perform at its best. Regular pruning, fertilizing, soil replacement, and pest management are the fundamentals of rooftop garden maintenance. 

Weeding should not be forgotten either. I have come across more Coronilla varia L. (Crown Vetch) than I care to see in the past few weeks. I have never seen this weed on rooftops before this season, but it seems to be cropping up everywhere. If you see this in your garden get out the shovel and some gloves. You’ve got to pull out every last root of this invasive intruder to ensure the success of your other plants. The bottom line is if you don’t have a gardener, you should find one to consult with even if you don’t want to commit to a routine care program. Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design offers gardening consultations and flexible garden maintenance programs for rooftop and terrace gardens in Manhattan. http://www.jeffreyerb.com/services.html


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Welcome to the blog for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design. I own and operate a full service landscape design and installation company based in New York City that focuses on rooftop/terrace gardens, green roofs, and back yard landscapes. Urban gardening is a passion of mine, and I find great satisfaction in making the most out of small spaces. Transforming a blank space into a stunning garden is nothing short of exhilerating.

This blog is a place for me to express my viewpoint as a designer, and to review good and bad landscape designs throughout Manhattan. No doubt, I will be sharing tons of advice and tips to maximize outdoor spaces in the city (and beyond). I also invite questions, comments, and opinions from my readers. After all, this is a two way conversation. Join me as I post video shorts, articles, products, and images that will help you get to know who I am, and why I am inspired and energized by the work that I do. Here’s to brilliant seasonal plantings, unexpected garden designs, and to reducing the number of plastic lawn ornaments in the world!


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