Contessa’s Monthly Spring/Summer Maintenance Is Here!


As of today we have six (6) current clients who have requested renewal of their monthly “maintenance contracts.” And so we are offering this service starting tomorrow June 1st. A few of you have already been in touch and are ready to start, please txt today…..and we be there tomorrow. Our service is offered from June 1 through November 30.

Maintenance will include watering as needed, light tidying of debris in the garden beds and using the leaf blower to keep your patios and sidewalks ship/shape. 

When we visit we will make note of gardening task items that we can accomplish at our regular gardening rate and notify you of these items, so we can schedule “work task” appointments to complete your work on your schedule, and ours. We will continue serving new customers in Parkfairfax and Fairlington,  so “work by appointment” is absolutely necessary as we go forward this year. 

Our monthly fee is $200 for maintenance. If the temps are over 86 degrees we will water as is necessary, until there is a break in the temperature. A number of you don’t want or have time to water. Folks…..It’s simply essential in VA during the summer months and upon the planting of anything in your garden, for at least ten days to establish new root growth. In fact,  tomorrow it’s going to be 84. And on a Friday 91. Here we go…..!

Plants need water. And most  of the time….your garden needs water every three days. In between our watering, your plants have an inborn system that tells them to stretch their roots to seek moisture from the soil. But VA is in a drought condition so from now on….you do need to be watering. If temps remain mild, a once a week good watering should take care of it. Please choose early morning or later in the evening. 

You can txt or email us with your permission to START. 


We now also accept payments via: VENMO.

Again you asked for it, so we have set it up for your convenience. Just ask us for LOGIN instructions. No more writing of checks or scrambling to get cash.

Progress…. We love it.
“Happy Spring/Summer”…. and Fall! 


My Gardening Friends…. We have grown, thanks to you and your referrals.  

We thank you!

Rest assured you will be cared for as we always do, and look forward to a wonderful growing season in your gardens.

“CONTESSA” says….. it’s all good!

LOVELY GREENS….. by Tanya from The Isle of Man

This Week’s Ideas & Videos

The Garden in May

Eucalyptus Soap Recipe

Birdies Beds Sale (USA)

Birdies Beds Sale (UK & IOM)

Hi Penny, if ever there were a month for starting a garden and expanding the one you have, it’s May. Though there’s plenty on the ole to-do list, the weather is getting more pleasant, and I, at least, am spending much more time outside. It’s more fun gardening when you’re not wet and battling the elements 😄

In this newsletter, I’m sharing what’s been happening in the garden, along with insect-repelling soap and tea light ideas, the RHS Malvern Spring Show, and a massive sale on the metal raised beds that we’ve just added to the garden.


NOTE:  it’s worth noting that we have followed Tanya for a very long time but in the last year she a moved her garden/allotment garden/farm to another location and so there has been an intermission in her communication. She did give all of us a “shout out.” It was a massive undertaking. We commend her, because ten years worth of vegetation and all her raised beds, gardening ephemera and plants had to be dug up and moved…while timing everything so that the growing seasons were not completely interrupted. I myself am making a move and all I have are potted plants, but I’m at such loose ends trying to pull a move together. I totally…..don’t know how she did this, but she is a gardener with exemplary dedication. I’d love to meet her so that some of her “earth gifts” would run off on me. Quite a lady! 

Birdies Raised Beds

But first, those beds… As you’ll see in my new video, we’ve been hard at work in the veg patch and have also created a new growing space outside the Polycrub. The new beds are Birdies Raised Beds which are recently available in the UK and Isle of Man. They were quick to put together and created instant vegetable beds on land that’s rock-hard with clay soil and rubble in-fill.

As you can see in the photos, I already have two rows of salad greens and two rows of calendula popping up. That’s in just two weeks from building and filling them 😍 The beds I have are the 8-in-1 type in ‘Mist Green’. The 8-in-1 refers to the eight different ways you can screw them together – long and skinny, square, etc. You get to choose and it’s really simple to put them together.

Birdies Raised Bed Sale

Interest piqued? You’ll be pleased to know that there’s a massive sale on Birdies Raised Beds right now and until May 29th. It’s up to 30% off when you buy four and use my discount code LOVELYGREENS5 

🚚 Plus, you get free shipping if you live in the USA, UK, and Isle of Man. 

USA Birdies Raised Bed Sale
UK & IOM Birdies Raised Bed Sale
It’s a great deal, and one friend who bought them yesterday reckons it saved him over £200 over using wood sleepers to build four beds. Plus, the beds will last many more years and can be moved if you move house.

The main discount is automatically added when you add four beds to the cart. Use my discount code LOVELYGREENS5 to get a further 5% off. I tell you more about my beds and the sale in this Instagram Reel.

Eucalyptus Repels Mosquitoes

Some years ago, I created a eucalyptus soap recipe using essential oil, and I’ve shared it with you before. The main idea behind the recipe was to create a refreshing soap that helps to open up airways and help boost energy during cold and flu season. However, I’ve just found a second potential purpose for it. It’s pretty exciting stuff 😍

With summer right around the corner, we all will deal with biting insects of some kind – the main one being mosquitoes. A new study has now shown that the main natural chemical in eucalyptus essential oil, eucalyptol, has been shown to be a very strong deterrent to these annoying and potentially sick-inducing insects. It may be one of the strongest essential oils we can use to keep mosquitoes away.

Herbal Eucalyptus Soap Recipe

Citronella Essential Oil Ideas

So keep that in mind for insect-repelling formulas. I’m planning on making another batch of eucalyptus soap and seeing if it also has an effect on midges and horseflies, too. Let me know if you’ve noticed it working for you?

Citronella is another essential oil that we can use to repel insects, and it’s an ingredient in this cucumber soap recipe and insect-repelling tea lights. And you know what? Citronella and eucalyptus work well together, scent-wise, so all the more reason to blend them together in products too.

Watch the Garden in May

The Garden in May

The month of May is one that I almost completely dedicate to gardening. I make fewer products this month because there are just so many May Garden Jobs to get through. I admit I love this month more than any other and spend as much time outside as possible. May is a time of seed sowing but also planting out seedlings and young plants.

In my new video, The Garden in May, I take you through some of the work I’ve done this month, including planting the peas grown in a gutter, the no-dig asparagus crowns I’ve just put in, and of course, the new Birdies Raised Beds.

There will be a new video tomorrow, too, and I’ll be planting out sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant (aubergines), and more in the Polycrub. Plus introducing you to a new olla watering system. Subscribe to the Lovely Greens YouTube channel to get a notification for when it’s out.

Recent & Seasonal Ideas

Lemon Balm Lip Balm Recipe

Lemon Balm Lip Balm DIY Video

Easy Rhubarb Gin Recipe

Malvern Spring Show

Even though this is a busy month in the garden, I also got the chance to visit the RHS Malvern Spring Show. If you’re not aware, the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) hosts many gardening shows at various points in the gardening year. Chelsea is the most famous and is happening next week. Malvern is like a taste of Chelsea with several show gardens and oodles of ideas and plants, but it’s more relaxed and with fewer celebrities.

Malvern Spring Show

I’ve shared photos and a video reel on Instagram, but I’ll post a few more just below. One big theme with the show gardens and stands was creating space in our gardens for wild animals and wild plants. In the two gold-winning gardens, nettles, grass, and other wild plants were even woven into the mix. It shows their importance to wildlife and how we can work with nature rather than trying to eliminate it from our gardens/yards.

I absolutely loved that and feel so inspired to add even more water and wildlife features to our garden. The small pond has been filling in but there’s just so much more that we can do!

I hope that you have a lovely weekend, Penny, see you again on social media or in your inbox in a couple of weeks.
Tanya Anderson of Lovely Greens
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THE GARDEN MUSEUM- a beautiful post today from the U.K. – a special note: on the lovely flower “the sweet pea”

Benton Irises: It’s all in a name

By Lucy Skellorn

Artist plantsman Cedric Morris will be celebrated on the main avenue at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year in an exciting collaboration between Nurture Landscapes and garden designer Sarah Price. A distinguished painter, Morris experimented with the cross-pollination of irises to produce new colour combinations. Famous for their off-beat shades, Cedric named many varieties after friends, lovers, pets and places.

Ahead of the show, we take a look at the stories behind the names:

Iris ‘Benton Menace’ (pictured above)

Morris had a deep fondness and empathy for animals resulting in quite a menagerie at Benton End. This included Rubeo, the scarlet macaw who would nip the legs of anyone wearing shorts and swore liberally. There were also a host of cats that roamed the property, many of them predominantly cream-coloured, locally known as Suffolk creams. Among them the one-eyed ‘Mrs Pearce’, ‘Baggage’ (on account of her having had so many litters of kittens) and ‘ Menace’- a particularly troublesome Tom.

Both cats have been immortalised in Iris ‘Benton Baggage’ and ‘Benton Menace’, but it is ‘Benton Menace’, with its fabulous iris with rich purple falls and ruffled, plum-coloured standards, which has been chosen for the Chelsea garden…

Keep reading

Visit the Garden Museum during
the Chelsea Flower Show

Heading to London for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week? Why not pop across the river to the Garden Museum while you’re in town to see our Dan Pearson-designed courtyard garden just coming into its summer glory. Plus visit our current exhibition Private & Public: Finding the Modern British Garden, and stop by our award-winning Garden Cafe to enjoy a daily changing menu of modern-British and European, light, fresh and seasonal dishes.

Limited tables are available in the lushly-planted courtyard for the ultimate blissful Garden Museum experience: book a table.

Plan your visit

Talk this week | Sarah Price on building a sustainable Chelsea Flower Show garden

We are delighted to host an evening with garden designer Sarah Price joined in conversation by co-founders of Local Works Studio, Ben and Loretta Boscence.

Sarah, Ben and Loretta will discuss how they transformed waste materials into garden features for The Nurture Landscapes Garden using accessible processes and craftsFeatures have been designed to be carefully deconstructed for reuse at their permanent home, at Benton End.

Weds 24 May, 7pm
£20 Standard, £15 Friends / Young Fronds
£10 Livestream

Book tickets

British Flowers Week 2023:
Three weeks to go!

Our annual British Flowers Week exhibition is back this summer, championing British-grown flowers, sustainable floristry and the immense talent in floral design found across the country. Five florists hand-picked by the Garden Museum will build immersive floral installations around the museum, transforming the space for five days.

The floral designers – Botanical Tales, Lucy Vail Floristry, Mahal Kita Flowers, SAGE and Yinari – will use only seasonal, sustainably-sourced, British-grown flowers, arranged with environmentally friendly materials and methods.

This year’s theme is ‘New Beginnings’, inspired by fresh starts, budding new growth, changing seasons and an optimistic step forward for the floral industry.

The week will also include a panel talkand a Friday Late.

8-12 June

Book your visit

Plant of the Week: Cedric’s Sweet Pea

By Matt Collins, Head Gardener

Generosity abounds among gardeners, and the gift of seeds is a marvellous thing: that the transference of so small an entity can express such joy, promise, discernment and encouragement. As we approach Chelsea Flower Show week, with all its beauty, buzz and bustle, it feels a good moment to celebrate this most grounding aspect of horticulture – the sharing of plants between all gardeners, potterers and professionals alike.

The sweet peas now in flower and perfuming the Garden Museum entrance are among my most treasured of gardening gifts, sown from seed that has been passed from gardener to gardener over many decades, tracing back to plantsman Sir Cedric Morris and to his garden at Benton End. Morris and Benton are the inspiration for Sarah Price’s show garden at Chelsea this coming week, where his sweet peas will, alongside an intoxicating array of plants (including the irises Morris once bred in that garden), evoke Benton in its unbridled, colour-brimming 1950s heyday.

Collected as a wild variety of Lathyrus odoratus he had spotted growing in Sicily, Morris cultivated this sweet pea at Benton End and later shared seed with the garden writer Tony Venison. From Venison seeds travelled via a mutual acquaintance to landscape designer Dan Pearson, who in turn sent me a handful in the post during my time in the garden at Benton End in the early months of the pandemic. Last autumn I sowed it earlier than usual and, hardy as they are, the plants persevered through the difficult winter: they were planted out on a hazel wigwam in March and the first of the flowers appeared a few weeks ago. The scent is pervasive, addictive and evocative of an enchanting garden that was an inspiration to so many influential gardeners. Be sure to stick your nose in as you pass through the museum doors…

As part of our new ‘Branch Out’ series of free activities and events held in the museum nave, we are holding a seed swapon Thursday 1 June, 11am-2pm. Drop in, drop off and pick up some seeds — flower, vegetable, herb, mystery plant(!), all welcome.

Branch Out Seed Swap

Elsewhere… we recommend Tom Stuart-Smith talk at Sir John Soane’s Museum

By Design, a talk series at Sir John Soane’s Museum, in partnership with Luke Irwin, is back for its fourth season.  Internationally renowned designers are invited to discuss their practice through a single object from the Museum. In this talk, Alice Rawsthorn talks to landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith.

Mon 5 Jun, 6pm – 8.30pm

Find out more
Images: Benton Menace (c) Alison Sargeant; Cat at Benton End (c) Estate of Elvic Steele; British Flowers Week 2022 (c) Graham Lacdao; Cedric’s sweet pea (c) Matt Collins; Tom Stuart-Smith garden at Hepworth Wakefield (c) Jason Ingram
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

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Garden Museum · Lambeth Palace Road · London, London SE1 7LB · United Kingdom

Pasta with Tender Spring Asparagas

Twenty minutes from prep pan…… to the table. A winner. Simple, few ingredients and economical. You’ll need cooked pasta, the right amount for two people. Set aside two (2) tablespoons of the pasta water to use as you are assembling the dish.

• 2 tablespoons “real butter” melted

• 3 cloves of chopped and peeled garlic

• Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

• 1 lemon, juiced and seeds removed.

• 8 Asparagus spears per person, washed, dried and cut on the “sharp” diagonal.

• 2 tablespoons pasta water

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bring butter to a sizzling bubble. Add the chopped raw Asparagus. Sauté on medium heat for about three minutes. Add the chopped garlic and toss in the pan. Add the juice of the whole Lemon. Stir about three more minutes. Add the pasta water.  Add the cooked pasta. Season with the Salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and toss quickly. The water and lemon juice and cheese will incorporate and stick to the pasta. Remove from the heat source and toss in the red pepper flakes. Easy…..Peezy. Serve immediately.


Visiting Merrifield Garden Center Today

A perfectly beautiful day to go picking out plants. And we found a beautiful new bright Peach Rose bush for our Valley Drive client. We delivered it on the way back home and have planned the install with our homeowner for early Tuesday morning.

Our other mission was “wave” or “trailing” Petunias for a metal basket, which fits at the top of a garden Etagere. We purchased two (2) “wave” White, and two (2) “wave” pink.  And one (1) Pink verbena for the center of the dish. It has lots of buds. And in a previous post we mentioned over-wintering a third season pink Geranium, so we’ll be taking it from our location early tomorrow morning, to the site of our Beverley Drive clients house, and finally planting everything up. It’s always kind of exciting to pull a project together. And
this client also needed four pretty Begonias for her planters on the shelves of her very cute Etagere. We selected four (4), one each in pink/white/peach and yellow.

It was a super busy day at the nursery with it being Mother’s  Day. Many children picking things out for Mother’s and Grandmother’s. Lots of Dads and Dogs joining in on family fun outings. Wagons and garden carts everywhere and as soon as plant racks were emptied, new ones were rolled in with yet more plants. It’s worth standing back and just watching the huge assortment of plants being added every hour. We had small purchases today but what’s great is that the commercial checkout line is so manageable because it’s inside the nurseries “red barn” so we don’t  have to stand in long lines. We buy items for clients, we do charge them a moderate site visit fee, but in return they receive our “biz discount” on all their plants. This is a “nice win” for them and brings new installation work for us. And the beauty of seeing so much plant life to choose from is dazzling. We always enjoy our trips to the nursery. It just fills you up to see the variety and the amazing colors and displays. This nursery has many talented designers and employees with a ton of knowledge and we love the idea of a family owned  and operated nursery. So important to support “home grown” businesses. We contributed a small part in that ethic today.

“Contessa” says… it is a site visit to behold!


Literary Festival 2023 | Line-up and extra tickets released!

We are delighted to share the first confirmed speakers for this year’s Garden Museum Literary Festival, and to celebrate we’ve released a limited amount of extra tickets!

Some of the UK’s most influential and award-winning garden designers and writers will be joining us at Parham Housein Sussex over two summer days, to celebrate the best in garden writing and to share what inspires us in gardens, including Alan Titchmarsh, Advolly Richmond, Isabel Bannerman, Olivia Harrison and Tom Stuart-Smith.

This year we are pleased to also offer an additional six weekend tickets free of charge to students of horticulture and garden design. To apply, please submit around 100 words on why you would benefit from attending to, by Monday 22 May.

Our 2023 Literary Festival will take place at Parham House, one of the country’s finest Elizabethan houses set at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, hosted by Lady Emma Barnard and her husband, James.

Fri 23 – Sat 24 June
Limited extra tickets available now!

See the Lit Fest line-up

Last chance to see!
Cecilia Charlton: Memory Garden

Inspired by memories of garden flowers and the slowing of time needed to create both gardens and textiles, four large-scale site-specific weavings by artist Cecilia Charlton are on display this weekend in our historic nave for London Craft Week.

Free entry
Until Sunday 14 May

Find out more

Book Extract | Andrew Timothy O’Brien:
To Stand and Stare

Ahead of his book launch at the Museum on Tuesday 30 May, we share an exclusive extract from podcaster, writer, and online garden coach Andrew Timothy O’Brien’s new book ‘To Stand and Stare: How to garden while doing next to nothing’:

“Let’s get one thing straight. Your garden will get along quite well without you. It just won’t be your garden. It will be that piece of land where once a garden was, and there is no tragedy in that. Every square inch of our planet’s surface is trying to get back to a state where it feels at ease with itself, a way of being from which forestry and agriculture, road building, town planning and, yes, even gardening continually strive to hold it back. This is not whimsy. This is science.

I can see it happening in my lawn, in my flowerbeds and borders and, particularly, in the more forgotten corners of the garden where plants I don’t remember inviting in make themselves at home, sinking roots deep down into soil while reaching ever skyward to gather in the sun’s largesse…”

Keep reading

Talk this week | Greening the Desert

While working in the Middle East in the 1980s, landscape architect Diana Armstrong Bell discovered a new approach to her field: greening the desert.

In this talk, she will share the stories and inspiration that she drew from her experiences in the Middle East, from water capture to resilient planting, and how she applied these ideas at the Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain – even setting up a plant nursery on site. Diana will be joined in conversation by landscape architect, historian and horticulturist Karen Fitzsimon.

Tues 15 May, 7pm
£10 Standard, £5 Friend/Student/Young Frond
£5 Livestream

Book tickets

Cooking Masterclass | Herbs with Rachel Davies

In this three house cooking masterclass, herbs are the star of the show! Herbs can be delicate or hardy, exotic or growing in our public spaces and gardens, they have the potential to add flavour and interest to dishes and yet they are so often overlooked.

Join chef and cookery teacher Rachel Davies as we explore how to use herbs of all kinds, some familiar and some less so, to make delicious food.

The class includes a sit down lunch and a recipe pack to take away.

Sample Menu
Persian Kuku Sabzi (a baked omelette filled with chopped herbs) with a yoghurt, cucumber and fresh mint sauce
Herb oil drizzled honey roasted pumpkin with puy lentils and marinated feta
Chocolate bark with dried edible flowers and herbs
Poached plums with tarragon

Sun 21 May, 10.45am-2pm
£90, includes all ingredients

Book tickets

Branch Out:
Design your own seed packet

At this week’s free Branch Out session we will be exploring our archival seed packets for inspiration. Then participants can design and create your own packet using collage and mono-printing, filling them with seeds to take home.

Thurs 18 May
Drop-in 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm
Free entry

Branch Out has been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England

See all Branch Out events

Object of the Week: The Artist’s House at
19 Queensland Avenue, London, by Harry Bush

Bush and the artist Noel Laura Nisbet (1887–1956), whom he married in 1910, lived in the same semi-detached house in Queensland Avenue, Merton Park, SW19, (a gift from Noel’s father) from 1914 until their deaths. Over the years Bush regularly depicted the suburban back gardens seen from his studio, many of which were exhibited at The Royal Academy, as was the case with this work in 1940. Bush saw the ancestry of his art in the quiet dignity of Dutch and Flemish domestic scenes, and, as his younger daughter recalled, mixed pigments and oils, ‘so that his work should mellow, glow and last, and if possible, improve’.

This painting is on display in our current exhibition Private & Public: Finding the Modern British Garden until 4 June. Presented in partnership with Liss Llewellyn, works are available to purchase in aid of our education and exhibitions programmes.

Explore the online exhibition
Images: Parham House (c) Jonathan Wilkinson; Cecilia Charlton: Memory Garden installation view (c) Ben Deakin; Andrew Timothy O’Brien (c) Sundari Ferris; Greening the Desert illustration (c) Diana Armstrong Bell; Herbs (c) Rachel Davies; The Artist’s House by Harry Bush (1883-1957), image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn

Spring Gardening on Wellington (REVISED ) 5/16/23 – Tuesday – 5:00 pm


We are here today to complete our clients spring tidy. The Pansies made it through the winter and most everything came back except one (1) Salvia. The Shasta Daisy looks small but we are pretty certain it will fill in. Our last fall tidy took a lot of weeds out so her beds are fairly clean of weeds.  She does have some left over spring blooming daffodils and we planted tulips last fall, so we need to do some cleaning up of the beds of those two early spring bloomers. And it’s time to remove all the Pansies. They served her well from late October until now. A good run forPansies, and she loves them

So Yesterday she and I shopped for plants. This year she wanted to add all “annuals.” So we found some pretty ones. The main thing is she likes color and instant gratification and she made all the pics herself. Waiting for blooms is not particularly her ”thang.”

Here is part of her area from last year, as a comparison after we added about 8 new perennials and finished her spring  work

Sooo…. Please check back this evening to get a “birds eye view” of our progress.


We are still planting and moving plants around. Tidying up early spring bloomers and cleaning the patio furniture and cleaning the sand from the newly created stone patio. We will be back tomorrow to first off plant the two new yellow  Rose bushes, finish planting the four new Canna Lily’s and four other annuals in the larger bed. Then we will mulch everything and take a final video.

We completed four hours today and estimate another four or five to finish. We can always move a few hours into Monday morning. Let’s see how it takes shape. One thing is for sure, the beds were full of weeds and creeping vines when we took on this project and we have come a long way. It is looking full and will definitely be pretty for our summer season.


(REVISED) Friday – 5/12/23 – 5:30 pm

Four (4) Hours today. New yellow Rose bushes planted in the sloping bed. Tricky digging holes on an incline. But we think we have them positioned quite well. Both a little higher on the slope than the one in the middle at our clients request. Everything in the main bed is planted and the entire bed is cleaned up of debris. All four Canna Lily’s in pots are yet to be planted. We need one more larger pot as Canna grow rather large and we don’t want them to tip over. We will check our own supply to see if we might have one in storage, but the owner is willing to purchase a fourth if need be.

We need potting soil and we will pick it up Monday morning on our way to the site. But they were thoroughly watered and with 90% chance of rain tomorrow, Saturday, they will be fine until Monday when we return. Finally to finish this project we will spread the mulch.

We had told our client we would clean up all the patio furniture and so our “wonder cleaner” baking soda did the trick. Not only does it clean grime, but it whitens and brightens. Can’t beat it for .80 cents per box. All her chairs had mildew and the baking soda eats away at it; just a little water and soda and a soft brush really cleaned them up. A wonder cleaner. Late fall we had gathered and placed all the furniture off to side of the yard so that when the patio folks arrived last week they had clearance to complete their job. And it’s looking really very nice. Great stone and great pattern the way they laid it. Still a good amount of sand is lingering on the surface, but when we finally wrap up the gardening project, we are going to clean it up well. No additional photos this week because we prefer to give you a “final video” upon completion. But it’s looking really great already.

Contessa” says….. a big project…. but a fun one as well! 


(REVISED) – 5/16/23 – Tuesday- 5:00 pm

This client had no garden when we met her. Nothing but invasive creeping vines. So this is year three and we have lots of flowers now and today we finished up all the finishing touches. Planted four Canna Lily’s and a very pretty ornamental Azalea for the center of her garden table.

We are home now….. and will be invoicing her for eleven (11) hours. Five bags of mulch, two bags of potting soil, and two (2) yellow rose bushes.


”Contessa” says….so lovely to work in and complete this pretty little garden!

“A Day” and then some…..

Today I so needed to happen upon this adorable cartoon.

Our pace today was incredibly challenging. A ton of logistical work in progress. Attempting to arrange time for each “in need” customer now that spring/summer is fully in swing. We are just now arriving home and it’s 6:01 pm. We had new appts to schedule, plant selection appointments to complete, plants to purchase and deliver, clients to call about their upcoming “maintenance service contracts” that begin on June 1, and making sure that every longer term client has been served for “spring tidy” prior to June 1. 

And we also visited a potential new customer today and it’s now a solid booking. Yes!

Our personal service gardening approach has blossomed and we wish to serve….but to serve you well. Our goal is still to keep what we do on a small enough scale, so that all of you feel you are being cared for. 

Many blessings are happening as we write. We could not be more pleased with how our gardening endeavors have unfolded this year. Without your needing us to tend your gardens, we would be unable to continue….. So thank you… all of you!  Thank you so much for everything.

And so it is in this context, that we appreciate the cartoon included above. Without my Lord and Saviors guidance, support and love I could not continue. I love what I’m doing, I care very much for each of you,  and I hope that you know that you are important to me. I trust that our small endeavors to take care of and serve you, are really helping you. We are here….. to serve everyone!


Thank you Jesus……for your love that fills all of us daily and gives us the conviction and fortitude to serve you well.  Jesus, you have made this all possible. We praise and thank you for your love and support.

• AMEN •

A NOTE from Contessa

Greetings and Salutations…..from “Contessa

May has been a busy time in your gardens as you can all imagine. We are so pleased to see all our regular ongoing clients (3 to 5 years) and some “newbies.” And this year we are pleased to once again serve our Fairlington neighbors.

It’s interesting that with Memorial Day weekend coming up several of you have realized it’s time to get the patios and garden beds cleaned up and do some planting. And we are having more plant selection appointments this year.

This is our official “heads up” notification. We are booked from now until early June. Do not be overly concerned about being behind on planting and cleanup. As we have had a fairly cool May, you still have time. We are going to take appointments NOW, for the first week in June.

On June 1st our ongoing regular clients are soon to transition into our “summer maintenance service” which provides regular visits by us to their properties for a determined set fee. Certainly be in touch with us personally if you have any interest in knowing more about this service.

All new appts will be added to our calendar for June starting TODAY. So fair warning; now is the time to reserve your June visits.

We want very much to serve all of you well, so please plan ahead. We thank you for your continued patronage and we are looking forward to a fantastic summer season. 

Contessa” says….. it’s all very good!


Gunston Rd, Spring Cleanup, New Client on the hill (REVISED) – Tuesday – 6/9/23 – 8 pm

Today we started a new client and a new spring project. Spring tidy is the plan and we will move one Hosta at our homeowners request, to create a border/anchor between our client and their neighbor. 

The left side bed is pretty low growing natives and the right side bed was just full of weeds, so we tidied the bed up leveled all the soil and filled a fairly large area in the corner with soil, once we removed a square brick area that had been placed in this bed, by a former owner to accommodate a grill. We took all that out today. Our homeowner wants shade tolerant and low maintenance plants in the bed toward the back and some slate and two chairs more towards the front. A little “oasis” for them to sit and visit and enjoy the new common ground area that has been recently created by the PFX crews. Three (3) hours today. 

We will be going back tomorrow to remove most of the slate and then see what kind of condition the soil is in under it. This will give us an indicator as to what kind of plants might be possible considering a lot of shade, the soils condition and low maintenance as our guide for success.

With the hope that the soil might be conducive to plants or shrubs, we will then visit the nursery on Sun morning to make a selection along with our client.

Now that it’s pretty much cleaned up, they have more of a feel for how much space they really have and after our digging up of some of the soil to see it’s condition, we will be better able to advise them on what to plant in the back one-third of this fairly nice sized bed. This area will hopefully become their “living” backdrop. 

Hours going forward are at present undetermined until after tomorrows digging excavation. We just aren’t clear yet on how planting is going to be, and certainly no point in further planning until we complete the work.

So we’ll report back tomorrow.

Contessa” says…it’s all part of the fun of our project!

(REVSED) Tuesday – 5/9/34 – 8:00 pm

Oh look at what we have unearthed!

We were asked to dig to survey for good soil that might be suitable for planting.This is what we found. A stone patio, each three inches thick and closely and precisely positioned to create a very nice small patio.

A trusted neighbor two doors down told us that the prior owners had hired a company to build it. Unfortunately our community association had not approved it and creating patios in your front yard is prohibited. So they were told it must come out. But the homeowner instead, after so much work and expense, simply covered it with mulch. The next owner covered it with dirt about two inches thick. So today we unearthed it. Now the decision is what to do about it.

Our primary goal today was to determine if our new homeowner can plant some bushes in this bed. And the answer is yes. Because the back third of the bed is just soil. And in fact a steel embedded border is deeply placed at the back of the stone creation.

We had begun at the front of the bed removing stones to see if they were continuous. And indeed they were. Our client decided to have us clear the whole patio of all the dirt so we placed it in the back to create a nice bed for planting. And this soil is marvelous to use for just this purpose.

It is now up to the homeowner as to what they want to do.  Take all the stone out and sod the area, or plant the area or attempt to get an approval to keep the stone patio “as is.”

In the interim of decisions, we are meeting our client at the nursery on Sunday morning at 9:30 to select some shade tolerant flowering bushes, specifically for the back section.

Our client is excited about picking bushes and getting them planted, and we are happy to follow through on this part of their project, if indeed she finds what she wants.

About an hour ago we billed at 6 hours for the project, to this point. Let’s see what our next steps will be. We are here to follow it to conclusion, but into next week.  Because tomorrow through Friday we are booked on another project about four blocks away. We are pretty sure it will all come together. Please do come back and visit us….to see how we finish up.

CONTESSA” says…’s all very good!