When do I need a Horticultural Consultation?
One of the most common reasons to schedule a horticultural consultation is to seek advice and treatment options for sick, damaged, or insect-infested trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetable gardens, and lawns. Untreated problems caused by insects or animals, as well as vascular damage caused by plant pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, or nematodes) can not only be fatal to the affected plant but can often spread to neighboring plants in the garden (and be expensive to replace). We come right to your door and help you identify and begin solving the problem fast.
As the owner of Porthole Design, I understand that trees and other garden specimens can often have profound meaning for their owners. I have some prize plants myself: plants given to me by old and new friends, neighbors, family members. The aloe I took with me from Iowa to San Francisco and then from San Francisco to Austin. The tree I planted when my son was born. By identifying and isolating garden “problems” early, we can provide you with effective, environmentally-safe treatment options for getting your plants back on the road to health and vitality. Because symptoms can often be similar (or difficult to distinguish from one another) my background in the field can be of great assistance in how to best approach these problems, which often require quick and radically different treatments. With over 15 years of almost daily experience identifying plant problems in nursery settings and from literally hundreds of on-site garden visits and consultations across the country, I can help.
Another popular reason to schedule a horticultural consultation is to help with the placement of larger-growing ornamental or shade trees (where best to place a Japanese Maple, for example, or a Burr Oak), as well as the best alignment or location of garden elements or structures. In the past, I have advised dozens of homeowners on the best site placements for prominent garden features such as pools, decks, patios, ponds, retaining walls, and driveways (to name just a few) that seek to create a harmony or balance with other existing (or future-planned) garden features. That’s a lot of words, but sometimes it’s good to get an expert, second point-of-view, especially when you may only get one shot to do it right.
Because I also recognize that gardeners are an idiosyncratic lot, I don’t think it’s the slightest bit unusual or improper for future homeowners to schedule a horticultural consultation before building or designing their new home. In fact, if you want your future gardens to have a prominent place in the overall layout and site design of your new home (and not treated as an afterthought), we highly recommend calling us beforehand. We can arm you with advice and possibly suggest some unique ideas to take to your architect or home builder.
Just bought a new home? You can also schedule a horticultural consultation to properly identify and map your existing trees and garden plants so you can best care for them throughout the year. Too often, in my experience, good-hearted folks purchase a home and have little idea what plants they already have growing in their yard. Many of these plants are valuable and are a part of your home’s unique history. Schedule a consultation right away and you can learn how best to take care of those plants before they start displaying signs of stress or neglect. Different plants, like people, have different needs, such as pruning, watering, timely fertilizing, and winter frost protection. Knowing what those needs are can save you money and labor down the road.