You Can Grow That!

I recently read an article in “Nursery Management” by C.L. Fornari about a national campaign that the nursery industry is trying to start. The movement has big goals to create a sort of catch phrase out of the term “You Can Grow That”. It kind of reminds me of the phrase “There’s an App for That”. Eventually, all aspects of the green industry could rally behind the optimistic message that plants, gardening, and landscaping has something to offer the world; a great number of benefits from health, to happiness. It seeks to empower clients and avid gardeners to stay positive and work together to bring awareness and new ideas in design, plantings, gardening, and tree care. I don’t know where it could grow, but I like the idea of trying something fresh and letting it fly on its own.

Happy New Year and Happy new growth of ideas!

1.  Compost containers made to look chic?…You can grow that!

compost.comBuild or purchase compost containers that are stylish on the outside. Some cut down on the smell if you have a small yard or just blend in. How neighborly to keep your landscape tidy and doing your part for the earth at the same time.



2.  Recycled wine bottle and beer bottle countertops for outdoor kitchens?…You can grow that!

A great green concept that my husband and I first saw at an organic winery in Santa Rosa California, Inman Family Winery.






3.  New introductions of Panicled Hydrangeas?…You can grow that!

Hydrangea paniculata 'Fire and Ice'

I love to use them in landscapes because they bloom later than most shrubs, and can handle some shade. They are usually very large and don’t work very well in small spaces or in foundational situations that they are sure to outgrow. These new introductions that Ball Horticultural has been working on, such as Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bombshell’ and ‘Fire and Ice’ .  Bombshell is compact, and Fire and Ice has a very long bloom time and flowers that change from white to burgundy.  More varieties means there are more situations that will allow planting and increase diversity in the overall palette of plants.  Biodiversity is always a good thing!

4.  Permeable pavers to create a grand entrance?…You can grow that!

Some villages are beginning to restrict the amount of impermeable space on a piece of land because too many subdivisions have water runoff issues.  Large homes on small lots do not allow much more space for an entrance, patio or proper driveway size.  Some villages will allow permeable pavers to take up more space since the water will pass through into the ground, so you can feel good about making that elaborate entryway or driveway to allow extra parking.

5. Wildlife gardens?…You can grow that!

Taking the theme garden to a whole new level.  For properties with more space, manicured lawns can co-mingle with naturalistic areas to create a haven for native plants, animals, and insects.  I once created a landscape bed of native prairie plants and used no mow grass as an alternative to prairie grass, as the prairie plantings were impractical being so close to the residence(could not be burned or mowed).  Most suburban situations would restrict the use of this more “messy” look, so a little creativity is in order.  Check out wildlife garden ideas at


2 thoughts on “You Can Grow That!

  1. I love the spirit of this campaign – very optimistic and inspiring! It is absolutely possible to get the look and feel of whatever traditional design idea you were hoping for while remaining eco-conscious. I can’t wait to use all of these ideas …some day (sigh). I think your grasses solution in your wildlife landscaping design is a good example of creative troubleshooting rather than scraping an otherwise great idea.

    What are your thoughts on watering? Aside from using plants that require less water, do you work with watering systems or water efficiency issues in your designs? Just curious if that is something you have had to deal with.

    Great post!

    • I have not done a ton of work with water efficiency other than the occasional rain barrel, or doing dry stream beds in wet areas, or even a “rain” garden in an area of the yard that gets frequently wet. The issue with these is that sometimes they are trying to work with a problem instead of addressing it or sometimes the wet areas are in impractical spots, where you don’t want to encourage water to settle (ie near the foundation, middle of the yard…etc). If it is practical, it can be a great solution and also allows you to keep water on your property instead of funneling it off, which is frowned upon and often a violation of village rules if it impacts the neighbors. For water harvesting systems there is a great one that I have done research on through a company called Aquascapes in St. Charles. I have a client who has been toying with the idea of harvesting water from an overactive sump pump and I spent some time last year pricing it out for them and have yet to pin them down to discuss. I am planning to do a post on it at some point. Thanks for commenting!

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