HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
This is an evolving page of information. Stay tuned! And please share your experiences with designers and landscapers who are knowledgeable and ready to transform and restore our yards and lawns with non-toxic methods to native and pollinator plants.
ChangeHampton asked Abby Clough Lawless of Farm Landscape Design, designer of our Community Pollinator Garden at East Hampton Town Hall, for her recommendations.
QUESTIONS TO ASK A LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONAL
Ask them to send photos/plans of a pollinator garden they have developed? Clear guidelines on what constitutes a native pollinator garden would be necessary.
ChangeHampton asked Alicia Whitaker, former president of Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons and current member of the Suffolk County Pollinator Pathway Task Force for recommendations about starting a native plant pollinator garden. Most designers now have gotten the message about pollinators and native plants, but to get a better sense of their expertise here are Alicia’s suggestions of what to ask:
QUESTIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE DESIGNERS/LANDSCAPERS
1. Have you designed gardens that feature native plants and pollinator plants? Can you show me photographs?
2. What are the native and pollinator plants you have found to be most successful in your garden designs, that provide nectar and shelter and are beautiful? What thrives in our climate and soil conditions?
3. What’s your philosophy with regard to sustainability? How do you implement that in your designs?
4. In the case of existing gardens that need to be renovated, how do you determine what to remove and which plants to use as pollinator-friendly replacements?
QUESTIONS FOR NURSERIES & GARDEN CENTERS
1. Do you sell native plants — trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials – that thrive in our region?
2. Please show me native and non-native pollinator plants that provide nectar and pollen.
3. Can you recommend landscape designers who use natives and pollinator plants in their designs?
4. I want to start small with a garden bed planted with natives and pollinator plants, around 3’ x 5’. Can you recommend a variety of plants to use for this purpose that a novice gardener can use successfully?
The big issue in both scenarios is, I think, “show me.” A consultant or designer will want to please clients and can deliver sustainable landscapes if that’s what the client wants. Not everyone has gotten the message about pollinator-friendly native plants, however. Part of the message is to shop at garden centers that have these plants, so many do now. Many gardeners are DIY or want to be. It doesn’t have to be hard.