Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Garden Friend

We found this guy relaxing on an iris pod recently. I think he was just as curious about us as we were about him! We also had an interesting encounter with a squirrel today. He charged at the cat! Luckily, there was a sliding glass door between them! Hope you are enjoying your fall. The weather has been beautiful here. There is a lot of fall planting to be done!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A really big pet rock.

Water Features make great companions.

Adopt one today. There are many boulders out there looking for a good home. Nothing is better than the sound of water in the garden. Especially on a nice summer night. This particular stone is a basalt column which is a very dense volcanic rock.

A recirculating bubbling boulder really does make a great companion to any landscape. They are great as welcoming accents or clustered together for a very full sound. If you are using just one make sure to place it close to where you do most of your outdoor living. If it is placed too far away it might get lost in the rest of the garden. All that is needed is a nearby power outlet and enough room to dig a basin to hold the water.

Bubbling boulders fit into almost any space. If you have a open space, a larger and more prominent stone is preferable. If your space is more intimate, a smaller boulder with nice subtleties is probably best. Your local stone supplier should have a selection of pre-drilled stones to choose from, or you can pick your own and have them drill it for you. The character of the stone will determine the amount of noise it will produce. A smooth stone like the one above has a very consistent bubbling sound, while a rough stone will have a inconsistent splashing sound. If you already have a space in mind these characteristics will help you pick your new garden companion.

Here is a picture of basalt before it is harvested.

Columnar basalt at Sheepeater Cliff in Yellowstone. pic. from wikipedia

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sculpture so real even the birds are fooled

Here a young blue jay is trying to make sense of this artful handrail. I guess this means we were successful in capturing a bit of nature in this recycled steel handrail. I should keep in mind that he/she is just a young bird and not yet wise to the world.

Since installation, this functional sculpture has attracted many comments and much wildlife. Both being of the positive and negative sort. Of course we get the occasional comment about it being a pile of rusty twisted metal or something someones grandpa pulled out of their barn. Bird droppings are sometimes right where you don't want them, however, for the most part, the comments are kind and the wildlife is entertaining.

When presented with an opportunity fix or improve a space it is important to not only think functionally but also aesthetically. Seize the day, go out on a limb and try something new.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Late Spring Blooms

Here is a nice late spring combination: giant allium and 'husker red' penstemon. The allium bring out the subtle purple streaks of the penstemon while the penstemon provide the perfect backdrop for the allium. It is important to consider texture and shape as well as color when choosing plant combinations. I like the contrast of a bold plant against a more delicate one. They aren't competing for attention but compliment each other nicely. These are planted adjacent to a patio but they would also look great from a distance in the garden. If you're going to use allium, don't skimp, they tend to get lost if there are only a few. When used in a group though, their whimsical shape is unmatched by any other flower.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring Blooms

These "pigsqueaks" are one of my favorite plants for the landscape. They have a beautiful bloom in the spring, lush green leaves during the summer and have a subtle reddish tone in the fall. They look especially nice planted in mass or nestled between boulders for a pop of color in the spring and texture year round.

This year has been a little different for us here at Olive Branch. We've had a very busy spring. Landscape season is upon us and we are currently in limbo with our house on the market. We're doing a little less gardening of our own this year, but we do have a potted herb garden that is going strong and we're enjoying the work we've done in the past. After such a long winter, it's hard to believe the tulips have already come and gone and the peonies are about to bloom! Although we're missing a lot of the gardening we are used to doing, it's kind of nice to spend some time just enjoying what we have.

This spring Olive Branch added landscape maintenance to it's list of services! We are very excited to offer this to our clients. We take great care with proper maintenance and take pride in ensuring that our customer's landscapes are always at their finest.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I love adding art to the landscape whenever possible. I added this "boing" by Diane Mattern to my parents garden last fall. I have enjoyed seeing it all winter standing tall above the snow cover. For this particular site I wanted an upright accent. The space was a little tight for a tall slender evergreen and I wanted instant impact. I am excited to see this sculpture change as the landscape grows and matures. For this particular piece I planted ornamental grasses around the base, once the grasses fill in it will appear as though the "boing" is rising out of the grass. Diane can do a "boing" in just about any size and any color.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Forsythia For All

The snow is retreating and I can finally see the ground! This has been an unusually cold and snowy winter in Omaha and although I love winter I am glad to see it go. I rejoice in the knowledge that Spring is just around the corner. Just this past weekend the Robins arrived and a flock of Canadian geese made their return known yesterday. Among my favorite signs of spring is the bloom of the forsythia, nothing is better than the golden yellow blooms bursting open against the drab brown of the surrounding landscape. However, I will have to be a little more patient as the forsythia are still a few weeks from blooming. If your forsythia doesn't seem to bloom cosistently you may have a variety that is not hardy enough for your zone. Forsythia flower buds may get frozen off by cold winter temps. Among my other early spring favorites are Eastern Redbuds and Rhododendrons.

This forsythia balloon is just about ready to fly! Personally I enjoy the wild unkempt look, but to each their own.

Top Image by: Mr. T in DC
Bottom Image by: Scriptingnews

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spring is Around the Corner

This has definitely been one of the snowiest winters I can remember, but take heart fellow gardeners, spring is just around the corner! Now is a great time to be planning for spring. It's also a great time to consider a landscape design. Designers are less hurried and often offer winter discounts. Then you'll be ready, when the ground is warm once again, to start digging! I'll be ready to trade in my snow shovel for a trowel that's for sure!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bubble Wrapped Deer

We thought this was kinda funny. We ordered this decorative deer for one of our clients recently. It's not everyday you receive a giant, bubble wrapped deer with a fragile sticker on it's behind! It was waiting for us just like that when we got home. We got a laugh and wondered what the neighbors thought.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Winter Pots

Okay, admittedly, these photos are a little late for the season! It's always good to plan for next year though right? This is a pot we decorated for some clients. We kept the look natural with a grapevine wreath shaped into a ball as the focal point. We then wrapped it with white lights. The rest is so simple, but classic: fresh mixed greens, some gold twigs, chocolate brown ornaments and a chocolate brown bow (which is hard to see in these photos). We love doing holiday decor here at Olive Branch! We offer container planting and decorating year round, as well as consulting, services and products for larger holiday decor projects (commercial or residential).