Saturday, March 31, 2007

Grab Bag of News

So if you haven't read it, check out a recent article about us and our volunteer projects in the April issue of Plano Profile. It's located within the Wishbone Graphics website. (I would post the link but I have not yet requested permission to do so.) Also, the Cedar Hill section of Dallas Morning News ran a pic and article mentioning, among other events, our presentation at Petal Pusher's Garden Emporium a couple of weeks ago. Lastly, Monday we are doing a photo shoot to accompany a blurb about us in D Magazine's Best of Everything issue. We are grateful for all the recent publicity, and to the writers who found interest in the mission of our business.

This period of transition from design/build landscape business to strictly design has gone better than expected. Our long-time clients have adapted quite well to the other contractors, and the contractors have implemented our plans beyond our expectations. The first several weeks were a little hairy, trying to meet with new clients as well as introduce established ones to new contractors, but the schedule seems to be evening out a bit.

Our design service area is expanding as is our local market. We have found we can not make site visits to all of them and still be cost-effective for the client's budget. Therefore, we have launched an online design option to curb costs on the part of the client and ourselves. It works like this: new clients complete our questionnaire. Upon reviewing the information, we will request a reasonable number of photographs (digital or print, whatever works better for the client) from specific angles. We will also quote our design fee. After we have received payment and all the necessary information to complete the design, we will create a truly customized design. We will mail to these clients one 24x36" design (to scale) and one laminated 11x17" copy (not to scale) with recommended plants and materials on back. Our fee for this package ranges between $400-600 depending on the size and complexity of the project; revisions will be billed at $75 per hour, minimum of one hour. We will schedule a half-hour conference call or online chat, of sorts, to review the design.

At some point we will begin to offer an online consultation package. It will work similar to the online design but the fee will be somewhere between $75-125. We will send our consultation form in excel format via email, and will schedule a half-hour conference call or online chat to review our recommendations.

Our calendar for in-person design services is booked through mid-April. However, we still have appointments available for site visits. Please refer to our services and fees page for additional information.

And finally, some plant news...
This week the Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) in our neighborhood have been bursting with color. Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) are shimmering sapphire and maroon and baby pink. Four Nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris or Hymenoxys scaposa) have exploded with bright, smiling yellow blooms; and Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) are rubbing the winter dust from their sleepy eyes. By calendar and signs in Nature, it's safe to declare spring has officially arrived.

After all this (much-needed) rain, today and tomorrow will be lovely. Enjoy...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Launch of the Texas Green Queen

We are starting a side project,, to help consumers connect with green products. Not much there currently, but please check back periodically for updates. At the moment we have an organic tshirt (color: sage) that reads "I Garden, Therefore I Am" which we are selling for $20+shipping. We bought one for each of us and LOVE them. Super quality and lovely color. We have shipped two shirts so far. Check the pic on that website for Angie's response to receiving hers! Very very funny.

Low Despite the Rain

With all this rain, surely watering restrictions will be lifted, right? Despite all the precipitation Lake Lavon is still approximately 7 feet low, which confirms that plummeting lake levels are attributed to something other than lack of rainfall: CONSUMPTION. Residents of Dallas-Ft. Worth are the biggest wasters of water in the country, and citizens of Plano rank highest among our region. Not only will watering restrictions be upheld, it appears they might become more prohibitive.

City of Plano's Water Department and Environmental Services Division are very pro-active in their efforts to manage our natural resources. Whether or not the rain continues, we must make broad, sweeping, permanent steps toward reducing our consumption of water and other natural resources. Our ability to continue to develop depends on it.

UPDATED information about watering restrictions from City of Plano's Water Dept:
"The Plano City Council passed an amendment to the drought contingency plan on Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Major changes include Stage 3 watering zones and authorized watering times. Attached you will find the new Watering Zone Map with associated authorized watering times.

The new Stage 3 water use restrictions are effective immediately; HOWEVER, full enforcement of the new watering times will not begin until May 7, 2007. This will allow time for a letter to be mailed to all water customers outlining the new changes. This delay in enforcement also allows time for water users to make the necessary changes to their irrigation systems. Monitoring crews will continue to enforce the prohibited hours of 10am - 6pm.

Please note that landscape irrigation by sprinkler system is expressly prohibited between the hours of :
10:00 am & 6:00 pm 10:00 pm – 2:00 am and all day on Sunday.

Please give this information widest dissemination amongst your Plano associates, friends and family.
For further information please see our web page at"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Submit your Native Dave landscape to compete for prizes!

Who: Dallas Water Utilities

What: Call for Entries: 2007 Water-Wise Landscape Recognition Awards

When: Entries must be postmarked by April 6, 2007; Tour of Homes to be held June 2, 2007, judging will take place at the end of April

Where: City of Dallas and Customer Cities (Addison, Carrolton, Cedar Hill, Cockrell Hill, The Colony, Coppell, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Flower Mound, Garland, Glenn Heights, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Hutchins, Irving, Lancaster, Lewisville, Mesquite, Plano, Red oak, Richardson, Seagoville, Denton and University Park.)

How: Visit for an entry form under the News & Upcoming Events section. Or you can request the form from me by email --

*Contest Winners will be awarded prizes from Tour sponsors

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cute, tired puppy

Folsom on his first 4.5 mile hike. Taken Sunday, March 11th, at Cedar Hill State Park. A little tired...of 'plant stalking.'

Crow Poison, Closeup

Taken Sunday, March 11th, at Cedar Hill State Park.

Rare Trout Lily

Taken Sunday, March 11th, at Cedar Hill State Park.

Discovering Treasure

Saturday more than 50 folks turned out for our program "Going Native...Texas Style" at Petal Pusher's Garden Emporium in Cedar Hill. Petal Pusher's was previously known as Kings Creek and the baby of native plant-pioneer and landscape architect, Rosa Finsley. Truly, it is a destination location. Peaceful and brimming with colorful natives, Petal Pusher's is a place you want to hang out and enjoy with friends; it's more than just a place to shop. All the staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and their enthusiasm for native plants is contagious. Their long-time regular customers, too, welcomed us into their gardening family. One of the highlights of the day, for us, was meeting Rosa Finsley. What a treat. If you have never been there, we recommend you schedule a visit to Petal Pusher's soon. (Psst, they have Giant Coneflower in stock!)

During our presentation we spoke about a lot of plants native to our area, including Elbowbush, Coralberry and Eve's Necklace. Recently the yellow phosphorescent blooms of Elbowbush brightened up shady and sunny natural areas. This is a lovely, early spring blooming shrub that is native, low-maintenance, low-water consuming, and grossly underused. (See closeup of bloom above.)

Sunday we returned to Cedar Hill to hike Cedar Hill State Park. Elbowbush were everywhere. I observed more specimens during our hike than I have throughout my entire life. Gorgeous. We also found one of our favorite native bulbs growing in meadows (full sun to part-sun) and understory (part-shade to shade): Crow Poison! Despite its unfortunate name, this little white bloomer would be a great addition to a residential landscape, whether in a suburban, commercial or acreage setting. Plant and go! Pics to follow...

The terrain of Cedar Hill is much different from the north side of Dallas. Hard limestone outcroppings resemble stone found in Georgetown and Austin more than the sedimentary limestone found in Collin County. Our local limestone tends to flake, which is lovely, but not recommended as a weight-bearing foundation. Rather than mostly flat prairies, Cedar Hill is defined by rolling hills, previously known as the Cedar Mountains. Cedars as well as other native trees and shrubs, such as Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Plum, Redbud and Yaupon Holly pepper the mountain-like hills. Breathtaking scenery -- the nursery and park are located approximately 2 miles apart and only 10 miles southwest of downtown Dallas. Unquestionably, the area is one of Dallas' treasures.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

An Historic Event

Yesterday, I lost my will to speak. I know, I know, those of you who have met me know I'm no stranger to conversation. But yesterday after Shades of Green's Open House I found myself in unfamiliar territory: I was talked out. Alert the media, because this has never before happened to me. I still had a voice but not the power nor desire to use it. This was such a profound, extraodinary event, that David called my mom (who lives in Kentucky), my dad, his mom, his dad, and anyone else he could think of to share the news: Christy has finally talked herself silent.

The nursery's open house turned out to be a great success. Many people attended the seminars conducted by the wonderful Collin County Master Gardeners. A boatload of volunteers from one of my favorite garden clubs, Frisco Garden Club, arrived to distribute raffle tickets and perform other organizational duties. Reps from Plano's Master Composter program were set up next to us -- lovely ladies. Jan and Ruby can always be counted on by the City of Plano.

Several of our clients met Keith of Appealing Gardens to pick out plants. One of the highlights of my day was meeting Kirsten, one of the Master Gardeners in attendance. We have multiple things in common, and I hope to slosh around opinions again soon. Another highlight was meeting new people from all over our county and outlying areas. I had the privilege of having many interesting conversations with Shades of Green staff and existing clientele as well as new prospective clients. Fabulous day, despite wearing out my will to speak.

Next Saturday we will be speaking at Petal Pusher's Garden Emporium in Cedar Hill. Our presentation titled "Going Native, Texas Style" will begin at 10:30am. Saturday and Sunday, March 17th and 18th, we will be at North Haven Gardens from 11am to 2pm for FREE 15-minute consultations. Hope to see you soon...