Landscapes of the Month: Maintaining a Master Gardener’s Collection - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Maintaining a Master Gardener’s Collection

Photo: Brian Mullins

For the past six years, Myatt Landscaping, based in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, has been responsible for caring for a unique property in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that is owned by a Master Gardener.

As an avid plant lover, their client wanted a natural-style organically managed landscape. There is nothing formal about the garden and Myatt’s crew hand prunes the entire landscape to maintain the natural shape of the trees and shrubs.  

Photo: Brian Mullins

New plants are added each year and the client is very hands-on, buying a lot of her plants but asks Myatt to provide plants as well.

“She has everything under the sun on that property,” says Zach Borland, the account manager for the property. “It’s not a typical landscape. It’s a little bit tricky because there’s a lot of trees so you got to have a lot of shade plants or plants that can deal with 50/50 shade and sun.”

Myatt’s work on this property earned them a Gold Award in the 2020 Awards of Excellence.  

“It means a lot, all the way from the owner of the company to the laborers who do the maintenance on it,” Borland says. “We tend to spread good news when we hear it. So, once we found out that we won an award, the owner let me know since I’m the account manager and then I let our team know that does the maintenance, I let the flower team know, and we just give each other high fives and take the guys out to lunch to celebrate that win. It’s not every day or every year that we win something.”

The owner travels a lot and when she sees a plant that she likes on her trips she’ll order them online. These plants serve as a memory for her of past travels. Because new plants are added regularly, the team has to adjust the irrigation system coverage as needed. It is also an extremely rocky property located on one of the oldest mountains around, making it challenging to install larger new plants and trees.

The irrigation system is one of Myatt’s largest and most critical systems that they maintain due to the rarity and value of the plants. Borland says it’s especially challenging to keep all the plant material and mature trees watered during the hot summer.

Photo: Brian Mullins

A maintenance crew of three visits the property once a week. They also ensure the 16 large containers and 3 small containers on the property are well watered.

A separate flower team of five comes in and rotates the annuals. Seasonal flower beds are places around the art installations and sculptures spread throughout the property. A flower maintenance person comes every other week to handle minor pruning and treat any insect or fungal issues.

Because the woodland gardens have lots of small, delicate plants along the paths, Myatt’s crews mulch the property by hand and carry in the mulch by hand to prevent damage from wheelbarrows. Each year they apply 40 cubic yards of triple shredded hardwood mulch and 10 cubic yards of leaf mulch on the property.

Photo: Brian Mullins

When Myatt first took on the property, the soil had a high pH that prevented many of the plants from blooming. They used sulfur applications to amend the soil pH and now use five cubic yards of soil conditioner on the property.

Another challenge the company has faced while maintaining the property is pressure from wildlife like deer as the home is in a wooded location. A lot of the plant materials and flowers that Myatt selects are deer resistant, but they also use deer spray and net seasonal flowers and bulbs to protect them from grazing. An 8’ deer fence along the back of the property is also monitored to ensure it stays in good shape.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your project when entries open in February 2022.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.