My wife and I have recently moved to Alvaton/Bowling Green. We have a 5.5 acre lot and now that we are almost settled in and finishing interior redecorating, I am anxious to tackle my landscape. My goals are to plant a small orchard (apple, peach, cherry, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries), a vegetable garden, and to renovate the old pasture land into areas of lawn, native wildflowers and grasses, perennial borders, and beds with annuals along with lots of other ideas including some native shade-loving plants like trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, etc. Aside from visitng the Warren County Extension office, where else would you suggest I go for help in deciding on what to plant and where to locate beds? I want to attract lots of fauna (song birds, butterflies, quail and pheasant, but I may not have enough space). Any suggestions on how to start? I hope to get soil samples taken to be tested this week.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Tom: I apologize for the delayed response. It sounds like you are on the right track; getting your soil tested is the first thing you should do before planting and getting information from the Extension office is a great source of reliable information. As far as where to locate the beds and deciding on where to plant the orchard, vegetable garden, perennial and annual borders, as well as grass land, you will benefit from hiring a landscape designer. You are dealing with a large space and it can be overwhelming to think of it as one big project so getting someone in the area to help you create “rooms” will be worth the money. Unfortunately I do not have experience with any designers in your area. The best thing to do would be to visit the local garden centers to see if they have a designer on staff and if so, ask to see projects they have worked on. This is actually a great time of year to be searching for a sought-after designer since everyone else will want them during the warmer months. Obviously you cannot plant the perennials/annuals this time of year, but getting the plan drawn up this winter so you will be ready to plant in the spring will give you a head start. You may even consider doing one area at a time so it is not so daunting, especially if you will be doing all the prep and planting. As far as deciding on plant material, the landscape designer you hire will be very knowledgeable in terms of what plants are best suited for your space. If you do not want to go this route you can take pictures to a respected garden center/nursery and ask a knowledgeable staff member to help you. Let me know if you cannot find someone to help you and maybe we can do something long distance. Just by creating a garden you will be providing a habitat that will attract wildlife. Shooting Star Nursery in Georgetown is a great source for native perennials. You can visit their Web site at http://shootingstarnursery.com/catalog/contact_us.php. Congratulations on your new home.