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Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Hartsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Pelham Manor, Port Chester, Rye, Rye Brook, Scarsdale, White Plains, Pelham
Awarded Best of Houzz 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 for Service. Recipient of Houzz's Most Collaborative in the New York AreaEnvironmental Excellence for the Town of Bedford rain garden.Member of ALPD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers)
I suppose after 12 years and many five star reviews, I was bound to get an unhappy client. I am disappointed that you chose the two things that are not in my control to highlight. In fact, the last time we met in person, you complimented me on how beautiful your driveway and front entry look. I am not sure why you suddenly became so angry, especially when I was trying to help you fix a problem that is occurring more and more in our area– boxwood blight.
When I planted the shrubs in 2017, boxwood blight was not epidemic. The blight travels in the air, on gardeners' shoes and tools. The plants I installed 2 years ago were healthy for over 1.5 years. By the time you alerted me that there was a problem, half of the boxwoods were already dead. I wanted to remove the boxwoods immediately to prevent further spread of the disease – texting you the price for removal and replacement with hollies (since you cannot plant boxwoods in a blighted garden). The boxwoods must be disposed of at a special facility, and all workers must suit up to prevent further spread of the fungus. This will be a continuing problem for all property owners, since no one knows who is responsible for infection, the financial onus has been falling on homeowners to remedy. I have stopped planting boxwoods on a large scale.
You complain that the deer are eating everything and blame me. As I repeatedly explained to you, although there are deer-resistant plants, there are no deer-PROOF plants. Some deer don't get the memo. I told you to spray for deer, even offering a free spray. You refused. I tried all autumn and winter to get your go-ahead for the deer fencing around the rain garden but never got your approval.
In addition to blaming me for the deer and the blight, you blame me for the rain garden. As you concede, you ignored my advice when you chose to situate the rain garden on a steep hill and in the shade. As I told you before you had your contractor install the rain garden, rain gardens benefit from being in the sun.
And I had no hand in the construction of your rain garden. That is key because your contractor obviously made fundamental mistakes when he constructed your rain garden. First, it collects water but does not allow the water to percolate away. Second, the lateral supports for the rain garden are no more than loose soil. To prevent collapse, I suggested that you plant the side, shoring it up with jute webbing. You rejected that suggestion because you said that weeds will grow and knit into the hill. You didn’t care how it looked. Now you have a rivulet where the rain garden is collapsing.
Lastly, you see that the plants in the rain garden are not thriving. There are few plants that can live in standing water half the year. You had wanted me to use skunk cabbage, which you pointed out at your neighbor’s house. Skunk cabbage, one of the few spring ephemerals (disappears in summer) for vernal wetlands, smells like rotting meat (to attract flies as their pollinators). I doubt you really want that.
Even if your contractor had done an adequate job, you rejected the recommendation in my plans that you use large plants in the rain garden such as bottlebrush buckeye and amelanchiers. I recommended large plants because large plants take up more water. You insisted on small plants because you didn’t want to spend the money for large plants.
You have a large property and did not give me a budget. I made a plan that included all your wishes. I made detailed estimates and worked with you to focus on areas that would bring the budget into line with what you wanted to pay.
I didn’t charge you for all the time I spent, checking on plants, directing the crew, checking the watering system when you were away the first season (it was off). You seemed happy with my work, asking me to check on things over the last 2 years.
Designing a garden is a collaborative process and I'm sorry you choose to concentrate on the negatives and none of the good. I stand by my work and urge you to listen to the next designer you hire.