Author Archives: msubrooks

Upcoming Chapter Events

Upcoming Chapter Events:

(Additional information and participation costs will be provided closer to the time of the event.  Please feel free to invite a guest or potential member to join us.  Schedule is subject to change.)

***Cancelled- will be rescheduled***Tuesday, July 21, 11:00-2:00pm: HOUZZ Beginner & Advanced Workshops (run back to back)
Location: MNLA Office, Okemos Michigan

Thursday, Aug 6.: Tour of Japanese Gardens with Ken Wenger, VP Meijer Gardens
Location: Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, MIFriday, Sept. 18, 11:00am: Chapter membership meeting and round table discussion
Location: MNLA Office, Okemos, MI

Friday, Oct 9-12: APLD International Design Conference
Location: Washington, DC
Tuesday, Nov 3rd: 11:00: Membership meeting and Design Conference recap
Location: MNLA Office, Okemos, MI
Wednesday, Dec 9th, 12:00: Holiday Lunch and Chapter Board Elections
Location: TBAJanuary 2016: GLTE
Location: TBA

February 2016: Membership Meeting
Location: MNLA Office, Okemos, MI

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February Meeting

February’s meeting, Tuesday the 17th, has been changed from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm.

Location: MNLA office, 2149 Commons Parkway, Okemos MI 48864

Topic: Marketing & promoting your business with social media & Houzz.

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MNLA/MSU/APLD-MI Annual Landscape Design Tour 2014

by Steven D. Thoms, APLD, CLP, CGIP

What a crazy year! It has gone from my worst year in business (2011) to my best year in business in three short years.  Talk about pent up demand!  The one thing bad about a prosperous year is that I haven’t been able to write like I was planning.  I was going to write about this article back at the end of August and here it is now mid-October.

August 20, 2014 was the annual Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA), Michigan State University (MSU) and Association of Professional Landscape Designers Michigan Chapter (APLD-MI) Landscape Design Tour. This past year’s tour took us to the Saginaw Valley area of Michigan.  And, it did not disappoint!  The tour included seven private home landscapes, a tour of Blue Thumb Distributing facilities, a bonus stop at the Dahlia Hill and ending up at Dow Gardens for a dinner reception.  This year’s event was sponsored by Michigan Horticulture Industries Worker’s Compensation Fund, Blue Thumb Distributing, Inc., and Unilock.

As difficult as it might seem to break away from work to attend tours and/or education events, it is much needed. Socializing with fellow landscapers and getting inspired by beautiful gardens definitely help me make it over the hump for the season.

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Our first stop was a less glorious landscape just on the outskirts of Saginaw Township, but was very educational. This site was not about what you saw but about planning and preparation of some difficult conditions.  This residence had bad drainage issues.  The designer talked about the permeable pavers, drainage around the pool and foundation of house, and all that was needed to make this property functional.  Sometimes as designers we want to avoid problems like this because it is not visual, but we do need to remember that our work needs to be functional as well.

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It always fascinates me to hear how people change their mind.  Our next stop was a koi/specimen plant lover’s dream.  The large house right next door to our first stop was sprinkled with specimen plants from Larix decidus ‘Pendula Prostrate Form’ to Ginkgo biloba ‘Pendula’ to everything in between.  But the real showcase of this landscape was the water features in the backyard.  The original backyard included a small pondless waterfall.  The client did NOT want fish or the upkeep of a pond.  After receiving a koi as a gift, the client did a 180 degree turn.  They wanted a koi pond and water gardener’s dream.

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This bog with its grandeur Lotus plants helps keep the main pond area clear.  This lower pond was five feet deep with minimal plants and rocks.  It housed the two dozen large exotic koi that the client had to grown to love like family.  She even had a tank in her basement to transition new fish into the pond and to also use as a hospital when a fish got sick.  Her favorite fish was black and yellow colored with the longest lashes.  It ate food out of her hand.

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From the sounds of it, I believe it was everyone’s favorite stop.photo5

Our next stop was definitely a plant collector’s garden.LDT3

It included many great plants and a very intense water filtration system. The homeowners designed, installed and maintained their landscape themselves.  It had won several awards.

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We then stopped and had lunch at one of the tour’s sponsors, Blue Thumb Distributing. I was excited for this stop because they had just purchased a company that I had used on many jobs, Aqua Bella Designs.  It was great to see all their products, many in functional displays and to also hear about their business procedures.

 

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The next site was a charming historical home in Bay City. It was interesting hearing from the landscape architect on the whole landscape procedure of designing and satisfying the historical committee on this 100+ year old house.photo8

Our next three locations included tranquil water features, quaint gardens and lovely plant combinations.

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Our bonus site was Dahlia Hill in Midland. This highest point in Midland was started by artist Charles Breed, financially supported by private companies and foundations, and maintained by over fifty volunteers.

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The terraces were created by the use of 300 tons of Bay de noc Limestone from the upper peninsula.

With over 250 varieites in the 3,000 dahlia plants in this open-to-the public garden, it is a sight to see. To learn more, please visit http://www.dahliahill.org.

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The evening ended with great food, drink and company at the restored barn at the wonderful 110 acre Dow Gardens in Midland.

Landscape Lighting Design Seminar

Is landscape lighting still a mystery to you?  Are you looking for fresh ideas to add to your design tool box?  Curious about the newest technology in low-voltage landscape lighting?  Sign up today for our landscape lighting seminar and learn from a leader in the industry!

APLD Landscape Lighting Design Seminar

When: July 16 from 9:00-12:00 (lunch provided)

Where: MNLA office in Okemos, MI

Space limited to 30

CGIP CEU credits – 3 hours

APLD CEU credits applied for

Presented by Drew W. Tedford of FX Luminaire

Open to anyone in the industry:

APLD members free

MNLA members $20.00 pr. person

Non Members $30.00 pr. person

Contact garth@rootbound.com for registration information

Wrapping up our Spring Membership Drive

You still have today and tomorrow to join APLD! Here are some compelling reasons why you might want to join our ranks as a professional designer:

WHY JOIN APLD

WHY JOIN APLD

Why We Are Members

You still have until the end of March to join APLD, and join the ranks of fellow professional designers like these:

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APLD Spring Membership Drive

Membership Drive Announcement