Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Senescence - Winter Garden Beauty

I was inspired by a recent article in Horticulture magazine by Caleb Melchior called 'A Celebrated Senescence: Dried flower heads, curious seedpods and withering leaves can carry a garden through winter'.

I often talk with clients about proper pruning in their gardens and I let them know that they do not have to cut all their perennial plants back in the fall.  Allowing some plants to stand tall through the winter adds structure, interest, seeds and habitat for wildlife.

In my garden I let the Black-eyed Susans stay uncut and though it is not a large swatch of a planting as you might see in Piet Oudolf's garden in the Netherlands, when the ground is covered in snow and those dark eyed beauties poke through, it is beautiful.

Piet Oudolf's garden Hummelo during Winter

Senescence - the natural process of decay.  I find that I am attracted to that word, it flows off the tongue and brings to mind ethereal unworldly things.

In nature it is the seed heads of plants or flower heads.  One of my favorite plants is the yellow lantern Clematis because after the yellow flowers, the seed heads are gorgeous:

Imagine these covered in frost?

One last photo to encourage your appreciation of senescence:

Echinacea in the winter garden at Hummelo, Piet Outdolf's nursery garden.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Water Feature Fun!

I am designing a back yard for clients on the East side of Bend that includes a water feature.  Water features are a great addition to any landscape, they add the beautiful sound of water, create a cooler environment on hot days and can encourage birds or butterflies to visit if designed correctly.

When designing a water feature visual aids are crucial so I always include photos to accompany the design so the clients and builders know what exactly we are going for.
My pinterest account has lots of gorgeous water feature ideas - check them out!

For my current project designing a pondless water feature these are the photos I am printing for the client so far:

The water feature will be surrounded by trees, shrubs and perennial flowers to complement the scene.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Time for Bulb Planting

I am always scouring the shelves of the local nurseries looking for bulbs at the end of Fall so I was thrilled when I was in Costco and got a huge bag of 90 daffodil bulbs, wow!

Yes, Costco is not a local nursery but they do have good quality bulbs.  Remember that the deer resistant bulbs like daffodils, narcissus, iris, grape hyacinth, etc always sell out fast.  Tulips are deer candy!!!

The key for healthy bulbs and a a good looking planting is to always plant more than you think you should.  Bulbs can also rot so make sure you have amended well draining soil.

I like to layer my bulbs so I have grape hyacinth or siberian squill coming up among the daffodils.

Plant away and look forward to spring!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rusted Steel Privacy Screens - Gorgeous!

A client asked me for to come up with some creative ideas for the upgrade to her mature landscape and I came across these rusted steel privacy screens.  Oh wow, I love these!

I am thinking of placing these maybe a couple feet apart in the landscape to act as art and privacy screen without being too "fency" about it.

Plus they are deer resistant and drought tolerant!!!  :)

Check out these other great screens from Houzz:  Houzz Rusted Steel Privacy Screens

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Xeriscape Backyard Makeover

So many of my clients here in Bend Oregon are looking for a low water, low maintenance, fire safe landscape and deer resistant as well.  It is often a challenge to make all of that work but here is a wonderful example of just how good it can look.

Before any work was done, the backyard was largely untouched and full of flammable Manzanita bushes.

Plus, without anything to distract the eye, the view of the neighbor's house was all too apparent.

Since this client, like so many of us in Bend, likes to spend her time out playing, it needed to be a low maintenance landscape and attractive as well.

I came up with a palette of plants to provide seasonal interest that was deer resistant, low water and good for beneficial pollinators that invites the client into the landscape.

What a fun project and gorgeous results!!!  By choosing a few key plants and repeating them throughout the landscape, unity within the yard was obtained.  Dwarf evergreen elements were also incorporated in addition to the native Chokecherry Tree that provides interest and habitat for the bird population.

Besides a good landscape design, having an excellent contractor install it is crucial.  Anna Vacca of Anna's Gardening installed this garden and knows exactly how to make plants happy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Small Patio Upgrade

I am working with a client up on Awbrey Butte helping him with a complete landscape remodel. The yard is full of mature landscaping which provides a great backdrop for filling in and working with. The landscape will eventually look like the Four Season Garden in the UK and will be stunning every time of the year, it is such a fantastic and fun project!

While the rest of the landscape is still being worked out, we started on a small west facing mountain view patio.


There is a guest room down there and he wanted his guests to have an area for his guests to use themselves as well as a shady area to enjoy the mountain views.

We came up with the idea of transplanting the rhododendrons and other shade plants and installing a bluestone patio.  They planted a great variety of sedums between the stones and selected some beautiful patio furniture to make it a most wonderful spot. Now they enjoy the remodeled patio almost every day and couldn't be happier with the change.


I also had a creeping blue spruce planted on top of the beige retaining wall which will eventually creep down providing a great complement to the blue flagstones.

What a great new patio area!

Boulder and sedum detail:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Projects 2015

The fun started off early this year and even though it is only early May projects are being installed, woo hoo!

A client on Awbrey Butte wanted to remove her old and very large lawn in the front yard and replace it with planting that are low water and deer resistant plantings. Here are before and after photos:



Check out that awesome decomposed granite pathway!  It already looks gorgeous and they are not even close to done installing it all!  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring Deliveries!

I LOVE going to the nurseries on Tuesday's when shipments of plants arrive!!!  It is total heaven and happiness to see pots and pots of beautiful plants!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

What is that?

I am always pleasantly surprised when that awkward shrub flowers in spring.  The rest of the year it is a good space filler but is so valuable for those early spring flowers!

Do you know what it is?  Answer down below.

Answer:  Ornamental Quince

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Maple Spring Flowers

Spring has sprung here in Central Oregon, the daffodils are really coming up, trees are budding out and flowering and the weather is actually turning consistently warm.

One tree I have been noticing of late is the maple tree and the beautiful red flowers it is putting out right now.  This first photo is of a Silver Maple and its red flowers:

These trees flower early to spread their pollen before the leaves come on.  Aren't those red flowers stunning against the blue sky?

Here is a picture of a Red Maple and a close up of its flowers:

There is so much more to a maple than it's gorgeous fall color.  Next time you are out look for all the fine details nature has to offer!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carlseng Designs Happy Clients

A huge part of any designer's job is to figure out what makes the client tick, their likes and dislikes, what their sense of style really is (not always what they say).  Then we have to make that work within budget, architectural or environmental constraints.

The first thing I do when I meet a new client is to listen.  I listen to them talk about why they live here, how they enjoy being outside, how they relate to their yard, what plants remind them of their childhood, what colors or fragrance bring them joy.

It is difficult to get it 100% right on every time but I have gotten really good at just about nailing it most of the time.  I just received this email from a client I am working with down in Christmas Valley and wanted to share.  Spreading landscape love one client at a time.

"I want to tell you I absolutely LOVE it I can not tell you how amazed I was when I opened it (the pdf of the design). I love how you incorporated the gravel area by the pump house I think that is going to look so good and not just be one dust bowl left out in the middle. Anyway I just wanted to let you know how much I am loving it and how amazing you did and interpreting what I wanted and putting it on paper. I was absolutely amazed."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Plants for a Bend, Oregon Landscape

Gardening and Landscaping in Central Oregon is actually not as difficult as most folks think it is, but then maybe I just like challenges  :)

When I moved to Bend in 2006 I had been living in a USDA zone 9 and I thought I was crazy moving to a zone 5 (sometimes 4 and sometimes 5 depending on the microclimate). I had a garden full of flowers, bulbs, trees, shrubs, vines and had just planted one of my favorite apple trees (King apple).   I even had a screen of clumping bamboo in the backyard, it was paradise!

But I soon realized that Central Oregon helped me to become more creative with the new challenges I faced and I have grown tremendously as a designer.  Since I can't rely so heavily on the plants to carry the show I focus more on the structure, the patterns and the textures in a landscape, and the plants then become more of an icing on top of the cake.

Of course I still love my plants and my little yard here in Bend is filling up with varieties I am testing out and experimenting with.  When I am working with a client though most likely they request low maintenance and/or deer resistant (as much as is possible with deer!) plants.  I thought I would share with you some hardy varieties I am using for a current design on Awbrey Butte.  These are all deer resistant.  Enjoy!

                                                                                                         Alpine Fir Trees
Japanese Red Leaf Barberry                                                    

                                                                                       Orange Rocket Barberry

Golden Spirit Smoketree Bush

                               Yellow Potentilla

Red Sunset Potentilla

A very mature Vine Maple, best with some shade

Mountain Ash tree, one of my favorites!

Native Idaho Fescue Grass
Shenandoah Switch Grass, great coloring!

There are many more plants I will be using, see the rest Carlseng Designs Pinterest

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Season is heating up!

It's only January and already this season is getting busy! Winter really is the best time to plan, this way you can get on the schedule of the best contractors and enjoy your new landscape before our short summer is over.

I have been meeting with lots of new clients this week and am working on landscape designs for clients in Christmas Valley, Tetherow and Awbrey Butte, so fun!  I am so excited for all the new and revamped landscapes for this year!

Landscape Designer hard at work:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spring Flowers

Ah this gorgeous spring like weather! My heart and soul are begging me to go outside and dig in the garden but my head reminds me that winter is still here.
These January heat waves are so tough to bear, I love the sun and warmth and seeing the bulbs come up in the spring, and I feel like it is spring now.  But, it is still January and we all know from experience that we will have more snow (hopefully!) and freezing temperatures, so we have to continue waiting patiently till it is time to plant.

But, what will you plant this year?  One of my favorite spring plants is Pulsatilla vulgaris, the Pasque Flower.  It blooms very early here in Central Oregon with beautiful mahogany, purple or white flowers,  The first blooms look to me like baby birds lifting their beaks up to be fed.
After flowering they are a lush low mound of dark feathery green leaves. One of many flowers that do excellent in Central Oregon gardens year after year.