Presenting our newest featured blogger, Debbie Roberts of A Garden of Possibilities. She’s the owner and principal designer of Roberts & Roberts Landscape and Garden Design based in Stamford, Connecticut. An accredited organic land care professional, she’s also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Today, Debbie is here to show just how rewarding gardening can be!
What’s the inspiration behind your blog?
It’s funny, when people find out I’m a landscape designer they often ask me what to plant in their garden. Typically they have at least one trouble spot where no matter what they plant, it just seems to die.
After so many similar conversations, I realized many homeowners think gardening is difficult. They really want to have a beautiful garden they can enjoy but they’re repeating the same mistakes over and over again. I started my blog in the hope of being a resource to answer some of those questions. And to let gardeners know it’s OK to kill the occasional plant — I still do it myself sometimes!
How long has it been around?
I wrote my first post, about waiting for spring to arrive, on February 19, 2009, so my blog is just over 3 years old.
How do you decide what to write about?
I’d love to say I am super organized and have a blog calendar with ideas for posts all prepared months in advance, but I don’t. Instead, I tend to write about things I am working on at the time. If I’m designing a garden for a client and researching plants for a specific garden condition, I’ll probably write a post or two about them.
I also write lots of posts about what’s happening in my garden. Deer are a constant presence in my garden so you’ll find tons of posts about gardening around deer and deer resistant plants.
What are your favorite parts about helping people plan their gardens?
With my garden design clients, I get to garden vicariously through their gardens. My own garden is a woodland garden with an emphasis on native plants to attract wildlife so the plants I use are a bit limited. But with my design clients, I’m always exploring new styles of gardens. Right now, I’m designing a Japanese-inspired garden, a seaside garden and a garden specifically to attract birds.
When I work with garden coaching clients, I really enjoy seeing how enthusiastic they are. Some of my garden coaching clients are first-time homeowners who have never cared for a garden before and I get the opportunity to be a mentor to them — helping them with the basics like identifying which plants are growing in their gardens and how to care for them. Others have been gardening for years and just want a little advice on how to pull their gardens together. They are passionate about their gardens and it’s so much fun to see them light up as we walk around their garden together and they tell me all about their triumphs and their challenges.
You’re involved with the Garden Designers Roundtable blog. Could you tell us a little about that?
I’m so honored to be a part of Garden Designers Roundtable. The Roundtable is a group of international landscape and garden design professionals who are passionate about garden design and blogging. Each month we delve into a different garden design related topic so readers get to explore multiple viewpoints on the same topic. I love reading everyone’s posts because I always come away with a new appreciation for the topic.
What is your favorite A Garden of Possibilities blog post (or the most popular), and why?
The most popular post is a plant profile on serviceberry (Amelanchier). I wish I knew what makes that post so popular since it consistently gets lots of page views each month.
I really enjoyed writing a series of posts about bird-scaping — designing a bird-friendly garden. I wrote those posts after doing research for a magazine article on the topic. There was a word limit on the article so I had to gloss over some aspects of designing a bird-friendly garden. The blog posts allowed me to explore the topic in greater detail which I really enjoyed.
Read more of Debbie’s ideas about wildlife gardens in our newest book, Birds & Blooms Gardening for Birds & Butterflies!