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Monique Allen

Recent Posts by Monique Allen:

Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place in Your Landscape

One of the most basic mistakes made in the garden, especially by those just starting out, is selecting plants based primarily on whim: “Ooo, that’s a nice flower, or that smells so good, or I really like this color or texture of foliage. I’m gonna buy a few and plant them in my yard!”

Topics: Home Landscape Ideas Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes

The Importance of Understanding Available Sun for Your Garden

Sunlight – like most critical gardening elements – is highly dynamic. The sun is constantly moving throughout the day, as well as from season to season. Add in human-influenced elements such as buildings, walls, and other plantings, and you’ve got a surprising number of factors that all need to be considered when accurately determining the amount of sunlight your garden gets at different times.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Seasonal Garden Interest

The Importance of Water for Your Garden

It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of water for your garden – after all, water makes up 85 to 95 percent of the weight of living plants. In fact, plants use more water than anything else. Water carries nutrients from the soil to the plant cells, so plants that are kept at their desired hydration level will be stronger and healthier. 

Topics: Water In The Landscape

The Importance of Understanding Climate for a Fine Gardener

One key aspect of Fine Gardening is knowing and understanding the climate in which you are working. Around here, that means knowing your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Wait…what?

Podcast: Monique Allen | LifeScaper and Dream Builder

How cool is this? I was featured on a   podcast  this spring! As a business owner, I'm always thinking about how to do business better. And, as a landscape professional, I am committed to improving the services we deliver so that we can be sure that our clients are getting outstanding results. To that end, I spend a fair amount of my winter researching new ideas and innovations so that I can improve The Garden Continuum's practices. 
 
It was during one of these afternoon research sessions that I stumbled upon a podcast called the   Hub of Success. I listened to a couple of episodes and thought, wow, this is a cool show! So, I decided to research the host. Low and behold...he's a fellow Armenian...so I was immediately intrigued. Come to find out he's also the owner of an IT business called,   Applied Synergy Group ... and down the rabbit hole, I went. I invited him out to visit TGC and give us a pitch on how we could improve our IT experience. Turns out, David Elmasian is a passionate business enthusiast and his podcast is dedicated to highlighting businesses that are pushing the envelope of status quo to reach new plateaus of success. We hit it off like long lost cousins in a flash and ended up entrenched in a vibrant discussion about business. So, he invited me to be his guest and   I'm sharing the session with you here!
Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business Business Organization Sales & Marketing

A Fine Gardener Digs into the Truth About Soil

It’s tough for soil to get any respect. To most people, it’s just dirt. But the truth is, soil is a miracle, a universe unto itself right under our feet. It may seem weird at first, but the soil is essentially a living thing, teeming with bacterial life (mostly in a good way) and tiny critters that enable plants to thrive in a wide variety of conditions and environments.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Landscape and Garden Maintenance Seasonal Garden Interest

Upgrade Your Landscape Maintenance with Fine Gardening

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to fall out of love with their landscaping. Often, life seems to get in the way and doing “yard work” falls by the wayside as other things capture our time and attention. At best, some homeowners fall back on what we call “landscape maintenance” – completing only the most basic tasks necessary to keep wild and untamed nature in check.

Topics: Horticulture In The Garden Designing Gardens and Landscapes Container Gardening

The Landscape Revisited - My most valuable lessons of 2018

The 2018 growing season is coming to a close. Thanksgiving is behind us and the next holiday season is closing in. In Massachusetts, we’ve already had eight inches of snow dumped on us. At my company, as we’re valiantly struggling to keep working through the snow, rain, frost, and mud, I realize the mixed blessing that garden making is for me, my staff and our clients. Full of ups and downs, successes and failures, working in the landscape and with nature is not a task that anyone should take on if they expect a predictable, repeatable work environment. That isn’t a good description of the outside work life...at least not where I live.

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Time to Add Different Shrubs to Your Landscape

Shrubs are a major element in just about any landscape design, but knowing how they fit into the overall garden scheme and having knowledge of shrubs beyond the handful of traditional go-to’s is key. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the wonderful world of shrubs and how to break out of the “same-old, same-old” shrub selection rut.

It’s important to remember that every landscape design can be broken down into five essential layers that can help you plan your work and make better decisions about what to plant and where. The shrub niche is number three in the layering system and it’s a large one. It spans a broad height range that enables you to expand your shrub pallet beyond the usual rhododendrons, azaleas, and boxwoods that we see so often in a typical residential landscape. However, because there are so many choices that can be made, it can be a little overwhelming.

Topics: Horticulture In The Garden

How to Deadhead an Astilbe

Astilbes are one of those garden plants that are just so easy to love. Originating in Asia, there are now a number of hybrids available worldwide, providing gardeners with a wide range of choice in size, color, and growth characteristics. There are so many different species and presentations -- from short to tall, rigid to droopy, and even wispy to bushy.

Their striking good looks complement just about any garden, especially when planted with variegated hostas, grasses, and a variety of ferns. Astilbes in general are gorgeous when they are in flower and the blossom can last for quite some time. Once done flowering, their seed heads also can last a long time, adding texture and visual interest to many gardens with their vertical, bottle-brush, feathery shape. Colors range from white to pink to reds. Astilbes do well in shade to partial sun but they need moisture, so the more sun you offer, the more important it is to have a moist soil profile that enables them to handle it.  

Topics: Landscape and Garden Maintenance