Hi! I'm Jerry's wife, Moira, and I am absolutely passionate about growing beautiful, healthy and colorful flowers and plants. I tell people that I can't even drive past Pike's Nursery on my way home from work because my car inexplicably turns in even when I tell it not to!
During the week, I work as an executive assistant at a downtown Atlanta law firm. But on weekends, you'll find me in my grubby clothes out in the yard tending to my 700 plants.
Counting the cost
When visitors come to our house and see our yard, they sometimes ask me to help them redesign theirs. The first thing I always do is try and talk them out of it. Very few people who want to beautify their yard think about all the work involved in keeping up with it.
Plants look best when set against the homogeneity of a lovely, green lawn, which entails regular mowing, weeding and feeding. If you have a variety of plants, it's important to get rid of dead leaves and weeds and to provide an attractive mulch once or twice a year so the plants are all sitting in a uniform bed.
Each plant must also be given the correct fertilizer. You would never give the same fertilizer, for instance, to an azalea and a lilac.
Then there’s pruning. Snowball viburnum, mop-head hydrangeas, weigela and azaleas must be pruned immediately after flowering or next year's blossoms will be harmed. Other plants such as roses, panicle hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, and crape myrtles can be pruned in early spring. Still others, like camellias, shouldn’t be pruned much at all, but rather thinned in the middle every few years to improve air circulation.
Some plants are prone to insect infestation, while others develop fungus if not sprayed with Daconil. Most roses (except Knockouts® and Drift®) are susceptible to both. Those brown spots you see on hydrangea leaves indicate the need for Daconil.
And then there's watering! Some need lots, some need very little. Overwatering is the number one plant killer.
So, from this you realize that maintaining a successful garden takes a lot of diligence and can be almost as time-consuming as raising a child!
Redesigning your yard
But occasionally, in spite of all my caveats, a homeowner will decide to go through with a yard transformation. If they turn to me for help, then I promise to select the plants carefully, buy only the healthiest plants, set them in the right light conditions, consider their eventual size when placing them, dig good-sized holes, fill them with organic planting soil, and give the plants a good start by using the best fertilizer I have ever found, which is Nelson Plant Food.
Landscape design software
I use Greenscape Imaging Software to superimpose pictures of the plants I have chosen onto a photo of your yard, so you can make changes to the design before we move ahead.
Caring for your new plants
Once the job is done, I provide the homeowner with (1) a map showing the name and location of each plant and (2) a chart which gives each plant's watering, fertilization and pruning instructions.
What will it cost?
I charge $35 an hour for consulting with the homeowner, researching the plants, creating the design, buying the plants and installing them with the help of Jerry's crew. Jerry will charge separately for labor, bobcat work, debris and plant removal, dirt, and transportation.
Jerry can also refer you to good irrigation companies, contractors who can put an attractive low border around your beds, tree specialists, fence repairers, etc. These are people we have been dealing with for years.
Here on our web site, I have put pictures and information about many plants that thrive here in Cobb County, Georgia. I hope you will find in them a treasure trove of ideas for making your property beautiful.
May you enjoy many, many hours of happy gardening!
Jerry French Landscaping – serving Cobb County since 1994