September: Switchgrass

September: Switchgrass

Welcome to September! Schools are back in session, football is getting started, and a certain coffee chain will soon start selling a certain squash-themed coffee-based beverage. One of my favorite early signs of the approach of fall is the way perennial grasses start to gradually shift to their rich winter browns and golds. Switchgrass is a sturdy, stately perennial grass that looks its best in the late summer. It's low-maintenance, which is always a plus, and it's native to Indiana, which gets any plant extra points in my book.

Bringing the Resort Home

Bringing the Resort Home

Summer may be ending, but with a well-designed landscape you can feel like you're on vacation all year long. At this house, what started as a call to replace some plantings around the house became a total redesign showcasing the creativity of our staff. They re-imagined the space in a way that not only created a unique and more attractive landscape, but also improved the functionality and maximized the limited back yard space.

My Internship at 317Grow

My Internship at 317Grow

In the 3 months that I was here as an intern I gained and learned much more then I had in a year of college. From day one I knew 317Grow designed and constructed some of the most beautiful sites, but it was only after getting to know everyone here that I found out how they did it.

They work as a family, a family that helps and pushes each other to do the best that they can. They also work extremely hard and they don’t settle, they always aim to be the best.

Beyond Hostas: Shade Plants Galore!

Beyond Hostas: Shade Plants Galore!

Many of us have yards with shaded areas, but I get a lot of questions asking what the plant options are beyond hostas. Don't get me wrong, I love hostas - there are so many unique varieties, and bees and hummingbirds can't get enough of the flowers. But they are prone to slug and deer damage, and it's not crazy to want a little bit of something different. Below I've come up with 40 different plants for shade - some prefer dappled sunlight, and others can take pretty dense shade.

Wedding Blues: Container Design for a Perfect Day

Wedding Blues: Container Design for a Perfect Day

While we've prepared properties for weddings and other major celebrations a few times before, this week was the first time we created container designs to match a wedding's color scheme. The bride and groom picked pink and blue, and even though blue is one of the trickiest colors in the landscape, our staff came up with just the right plants for the occasion for both shade and sun containers.

July: Bee Balm

July: Bee Balm

After enjoying all the fireworks on the 4th of July, we'd like to share one of nature's fireworks: bee balm. Bee balm (sometimes called bergamot or its scientific name, Mondarda) is one of our favorite perennials. It has a long bloom season and unique flowers, and pollinators love it, which makes it a perfect pick in advance of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful's second annual pollinator count.

Pest Alert: White Pine Weevil

Pest Alert: White Pine Weevil

Some garden pests and diseases show up every year without fail, like powdery mildew, grubs, and Japanese beetles. Others wax and wane during different years as weather conditions and other factors vary. White Pine Weevil is a pest that you can find here and there most years, but this year I've been seeing it a lot more than usual. Either way, this insect can do serious damage to pine and spruce trees, so it's important to spot it early.

June: Bottlebrush Buckeye

June: Bottlebrush Buckeye

With our company under the ownership of two Ohio State grads, it was only a matter of time before I ended up featuring a plant from the buckeye family. While I'm a Purdue grad myself, I have to admit that this is one amazing shrub. If you're looking for something that can take a little shade, fill space pretty quickly, screen unsightly views, and show some nice flowers, bottlebrush buckeye is one of your best options.

Beyond Ivy: Groundcovers for Every Situation

Beyond Ivy: Groundcovers for Every Situation

Groundcovers are versatile workhorses in the landscape. Low-growing, low-maintenance, and quick to fill in problem areas - we'd be lost without them. There are dozens of options for groundcover, but chances are most people just know English ivy and its other evergreen counterparts, vinca and wintercreeper. While these plants have a time and a place (expect for wintercreeper - it has turned out to be highly invasive, and we no longer use it even though many nurseries and garden centers still sell it), there are so many more species to choose from. 

Measuring & Changing Soil Fertility

Measuring & Changing Soil Fertility

How can you tell if your soil is providing the right nutrients for your plants? Plants can suffer all kinds of problems and even die if they aren't in fertile enough soil. Different species have different requirement, but across the board there are two critically important factors anyone can track (primary macronutrients and pH), and two other factors that need to be measured professionally, but are less likely to cause you problems (other nutrients and cation exchange capacity).