Going hand in hand with low maintenance gardening, a sustainable garden is one that mostly takes care of itself and requires little to no input from you. This is achieved by selecting plants that are well adapted to your site whether that be drought, excessive moisture, wind, cold, heat, or foot traffic. Although many plants will enjoy extra care if you’re around to water and fertilize every so often, this is optional. Most self-sustainable plants will out-compete weeds but you may have to do some weeding the first few years to get them established. Sustainable plants are very forgiving and will make do just fine without your help.
Native plant gardens are designed to survive and open, windswept, full sun prairie environments. Native plants are often best adapted for these harsh conditions. Most prairie natives require no extra water once established. Native prairie gardens also friendly to butterflies, bees, and birds. Woodland native plants feature the similar flowering and durability with adaptation to part or full shade. Our native plants are grown locally; they adapt easily to local environment with little transplant shock. We use in a topsoil mix that mimics their native soil and supports mycorrhizal symbiosis.
Nature friendly garden design is very beneficial to birds and wildlife that humans have displaced with our homes and lawns. Dense shrubs help create nesting sites for birds while berries and fruit provide food at different times of the year. Some plants such as red sage and agastache, will attract hummingbirds. Nut producing trees will help squirrel populations which in turn will maintain native owl and hawk populations.
Butterfly migrations are one of nature’s most spectacular sights! Monarchs however are in trouble. Monarchs have suffered major population crashes in the last 20 years due to loss of habitat, pesticides, and timely freezes, and freak hailstorms. We grow plants such as milkweed and butterfly bush that attract butterflies and promote their survival.
Bees are critically important to plant production and agriculture. Many of our plants will help bees by creating pollen and nectar. Furthermore, our approach of creating 4-season gardens will help bees during off-seasons when there are few other food sources available. We sell plants that allow you to plant gardens that attract only butterflies, or only bees, or preferably both.
Hardy tropical plants create the feeling of a lush, relaxing, low stress environment. These plantings create the mood of being in a warm, happy, tropical place. The typical cold hardy tropical will have either large leaves, large flowers, bold texture or lots of contrast. Surprisingly, many of these plants such as needle palm and hardy banana will grow here if placed in the right microclimate! Typically being zone 6 or 7 plants, many are perfectly happy next to a hot south or west wall that will burn most plants that aren't heat tolerant. Others are very useful near gutter downspouts that get extra rain water in the summer. Most can be treated like normal perennials, only requiring that you plant them a couple inches deeper and adding extra mulch to survive the winter. You can also mix in annuals and patio plants to help create a lush tropical theme. We typically recieve enough rainfall in eastern Kansas to support these plants although some watering may be needed.
While it is nice to have large shade trees in the summer, it can be very difficult to have grass or flower beds underneath due to the root competition from the trees. Now compound the problem if you have allelopathic walnut trees releasing juglone. We recieve barely enough rainfall to support tree and forest growth but not always enough to grow a healthy lawn under trees. Mowing and maintaining that water thirsty lawn under your large shade trees can be expensive and time consuming! In the long run, you are fighting a loosing battle in which the tree roots will out-compete lawn for water and nutrients. Sometimes the area is so root-bound, you cant even sink a shovel in the ground! Typical shade plants like azaleas nad hostas won't make it here. We are familiar with these conditions and can recommend dry-shade/walnut tolerant plantings or groundcovers.
A groundcover area is simply a mass planting of one type of plant. This serves the same purpose of lawn grass; to fill large areas of landscape space. In general, groundcovers are much more tolerant of a wide range of soil types than lawn. We can recommend a list of plants even for that “nothing will grow there” soil. It can look lush and green without any added water.
If you like to incorporate edible plantings into your landscape, then we can definitely help you. Typically, a landscape plant is chosen for ornamental qualities while edible plants are chosen for fruit production / quality. It's nice to find varieties that have both; being able to eat your plants too! Examples include paw paw, hardy fig, goose berry, serviceberry, mayapple, strawberry and asparagus to name a few! This goes hand in hand with permaculture design or "permanent agriculture". We can reccomend a certified Permaculture Designer that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars by doing it right the first time! They can help you completely or partially replace a water and fertilizer hungry lawn using plants that have edible and medicinal properties, that will support native pollinators and are well adapted to our climate. This will in turn, provide sources of food and medicine at the most local level possible strengthening our local food system, supporting our native pollinators and drastically reducing water and fertilizer inputs on that site.
Rain gardens offer a way for homeowners and businesses to protect our environment and reduce flooding. A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with native wetland or wet prairie wildflowers and grasses. Rain gardens are strategically located to capture runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways and roads. These landscaping features help create beautiful green spaces while absorbing water, reducing runoff, protecting water quality and preventing floods.
Rustic gardens with mountain vistas are a breath taking site in Colorado and western states. You can create the same look in your yard (minus the mountains of coarse) with plants such as blue spruce, nine bark, russian sage and columbine. We also make sure to sell well adapted varieties. If needing an aspen tree for example, we select "Prairie Gold" aspen; a variety native to Nebraska that is more heat and humidity tolerant. Hardscape accents are very important and creating this theme. A Colorado garden theme looks complete with multi-colored Colorado river boulders and pinkish-rose flagstone. A recirculating garden stream flowing on a hillside will help too!
Desert and cactus gardening can be a challenge in Kansas because we get almost 40 inches of rain per year. Deserts normally get under 10 inches. Winter moisture is especially harmful to hardy cacti and succulents. You can create a beautiful desert garden if the drainage is perfect and soil is well prepared with sand and rock. These conditions normally already exist on the top of a retaining wall or slope. We have also noticed these conditions underneath the overhang of a south facing house where it’s too dry for conventional plants to grow. Adams Needle Yucca and Texas Red yucca work well in these micro-climates. Rock gardens feature various sizes of carefully placed rock outcroppings and large boulders along with many types of sedum and compact alpine-looking plants.