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Garden Design

Gardening tips: The Helpful Gardener brings the pleasure of gardening to your home. You will find our garden design articles collected in one spot.

Invigorate and Bring Your
Garden to Life with Native Plants!

But a better model is starting to take hold. Gardeners like Sara Stein, who’s wonderful book Noah’s Garden chronicles her education from fresh new suburbanite to committed native plant gardener, have started to explore the idea of the garden as not just a tableau for aesthetic reasons, but an integral working part of nature. It is possible to provide the basic necessities for a large number of species in a small space if you make sure to keep in mind the four pillars of habitat: Food, Water, Shelter, and Cover. read more

Native Plants - Gardening with Mother Nature

My first remembrance of becoming interested in the plant world takes me back to my mother’s childhood home in the Berkshire foothills of Northwestern Connecticut. We were hiking up the hill across the stream from the house she grew up in... read more

Basics of Landscape Design

While designing the landscape around your home can seem a daunting task to the uninitiated, it is simply a matter of taking things one step at a time, taking in to account the various factors that can affect our landscape in the long term. We’ll review the roadmap from planning to planted... read more

Landscape Design

Part Two of the Landscape Design articles. Considers the usage of the garden, who will be enjoying it, and how to design a functional garden, one that will bring pleasure to you and your guests. read more

Designing a Butterfly Garden

Butterflies linger in sunny places
Because they are “cold blooded”, butterflies require warmth to be active. They do this by basking in the sunlight. Rarely do they spend much time in the shade. When choosing a spot for your butterfly garden, choose a sunny area. This will fulfill one more requirement for the butterfly and provide one more “reason” to linger in your garden. Oddly enough, most plants attracting butterfly adults grow well in sunny exposures... read more

Bird Gardening
How to attract birds to your garden

There are very few of us who do not enjoy the sight and sounds of birds in the garden. Even in the gray of winter, our feathered friends bring you joy and happiness as they flirt playfully about the feeder bringing color and excitement to our lives... read more

Tips for a safe winter and a happy spring

When autumn nights start to get cold, it’s time to prepare your garden for winter. Winter preparation not only makes your garden look better during the cold weather months, but will make for easier work in the spring and will protect less hardy plants from the cold. Start closing your garden down when there is frost in the forecast or the temperature consistently starts to drop to the low 40’s or mid-30’s (Fahrenheit), usually around late October or November... read more

Going Native: Improve your garden with native plants

When I first started doing talks on native plants it was generally to half a room of people (if I was lucky) and they knew absolutely nothing on the subject. A few years back I gave a talk on native plants to a packed house that included one person who had received habitat status from the Audubon Society and two others in the process. In an incredibly short time, there has been a rising ground-swell among the gardening community shifting towards the use of native plantings... read more

Use shape, color and texture to create a showcase quality garden

Companion plants are plants that balance each other on some level. They can be either contrasts or complements; this works on many different levels. Let’s look at some different ways to link plants in the landscape… read more

Working with shade to create beauty where you least thought possible

Imagine you’re walking down a country lane. As you gaze ahead of you, you notice the road wanders into an alley of birches. The dappled sunlight beneath them gives way to a cool tunnel of shade as the lane winds deeper into the woods. The heat of the summer day begins to dissipate as you follow further into the forest primeval… read more