Happy Spring and welcome!
Thanks for taking the time to review my website and my blog, fiore della terra. I hope to provide inspiration, encouragement, my thoughts and experience about gardening and ways to make a positive impact for our collective health.
Why fiore della terra? In Italian, it translates to "flowers of the earth". Ever since I was a young girl, I have been in love with Italy and flowers. My parents were my first garden teachers. My Dad grew and tended a huge veggie garden every year and my Mom grew the most beautiful collection of iris, peonies and lilacs. To this day, their sweet fragrance brings me back to my childhood. As luck or fate would have it, my husband just happens to be Italian. After my father-in-law passed away, we took my mother-in-law and our then 2 ½ year old son to Italy, a dream trip for all of us! My mother-in-law summed it up when she would say “dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing. Italians know how to savor life, how to just be! One of the greatest gifts my mother-in-law gave me was her time, sharing her love and knowledge of gardening, flower arranging and her artistic insight!
It is this passion and love for nature, people, plants and gardening that brought me to where I am today. After 31 years of learning and growing, I still get excited about the tiniest of moments in the garden! There has been tremendous change in our industry, especially over the last 5-10 years. As a result of our collective actions, our changing climate and planet have demanded that we look at our practices in a different way. The fields of ecology and horticulture are coming together to help us better understand how we can make a positive impact in the way we design, build and care for our outdoor spaces, both public and private. I have a desire, an obligation and a responsibility to my clients, community, ancestors and grandchildren to do my tiny part to heal the earth. A tall order and somedays, completely overwhelming. There is much to learn and much to do.
Throughout my personal and professional garden-making experience, here is a brief summary of what I believe our gardens can do for us. I hope to share more about each of the topics moving forward through this blog. A thoughtful, well designed and maintained residential landscape can and dare I say, should:
* be a place of personal refuge and sanctuary for our families, friends and pets as well as the insects, birds and mammals that share our spaces. We have all experienced a magnified effect of how important this is during this last year
* save time through well thought out planning, proper planting, reduced long term maintenance strategies
* save money by reducing heating/cooling costs by properly siting deciduous and evergreen trees, by capturing stormwater from our impervious surfaces and managing its infiltration and use on site, relying on nature more and using organic vs. synthetic fertilizers only as needed, reusing existing materials
* improve air, soil and water quality and reduce long term maintenance costs using ecological landscape practices such as reduced turf areas, planting more beneficial plants, using locally sourced materials, eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides where possible, better stormwater management practices, using electric lawn care equipment where possible, better tree and soil protection during construction, leaving the leaves in our garden beds, etc.
* increase property values by up to 10%
* improve human health and well-being, share space and improve our local wildlife habitats and corridors
* improve our neighborhoods and local ecosystems, downstream watersheds and ultimately our planet
I would love to hear more about your gardening journey and how I can help you to achieve a sense of refuge and sanctuary in your own patch of earth. If there are specific topics you would like to learn more about, please leave a comment and I will do my best to share more.
Warmest regards to you and yours with a bit of dolce far niente every day,
PHOTO CREDITS: Thanks to my dear friend for sharing his amazing photography! Sunflower and Swallowtail Caterpillar photos taken by Joe Mastrippolito