Author Archives: Ellen Cool

Scaring Skunks Away

  SKUNK SCARING TACTICS All of a sudden, after years of peace in the skunk department, we had a nasty nightly fragrance in multiple adjoining yards. Several dogs and a couple of people had been squarely hit, and the neighborhood smelled decidedly skunky most mornings. Just a few weeks before our Open Garden and a […]

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Thoughtful Design for your Landscape : A Way to Begin.

  LANDSCAPE SOLUTIONS AND HOW TO FIND THEM It seems to me that everything a person creates is most satisfying when it connects to their own ‘I’. Finding your ‘everything’ begins by considering what matters a lot to you and what doesn’t. For planning purposes, the thought process starts by reviewing the most important ultimate […]

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Our Landscapes : Before and After Slideshow

Slideshows of Landscapes by Stone Garden Designs Inc. Ellen Cool 781 – 856 – 5600 Marblehead, Mass. stonegardendesignsinc@gmail.com     All the landscapes shown in these slideshows have been made by our company, but they have been developed in collaboration with their Owners. It is they who are truly responsable for bringing the landscapes to life […]

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The Earliest Plants, Zone 5B

You can make Winter shorter. The earliest flowering things of Zone 5B can grant this wish. You can count on certain early plants absolutely. Just as the snow recedes, they flower, and we are encouraged in the impression that the winter is ending. Some are common kinds, but many others, though entirely hardy and dependable, […]

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Stone and Hypertufa Container Gardens

Stone Trough Gardens  Miniature gardens can be very satisfying elements in small personal landscapes. Hypertufa and stone troughs or copper pots are among the best of planting containers, remaining in place outdoors through all the seasons, and lasting for many years. It turns out that there are a lot of perennial plants which are preadapted […]

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Wreathing the Beds

  Greens After Christmas  A second purpose for the branches of Christmas trees and other holiday greens is to re-use them as decorative wreathing for your otherwise somewhat bare perennial beds, but the reason to use them is usually to help insulate plants residing in the earth beneath. I find this branch overlay technique especially […]

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Landscape Advisories: Chapter 7 / Evergreen and Ever Seen Landscape Framing

  Chapter 7   Evergreen and Ever Seen Landscape Framing In our northern landscapes, attending to the winter appearance of a place is a priority since what we see changes dramatically when many of our plants drop their leaves or disappear entirely through a long cold season. Unless you plan in some winter pictures, this […]

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Pretty Pink Pumpkins and Breast Cancer Research

 Some New Varieties of Pumpkins Support Breast Cancer Research In this year’s farm and nursery travels, Pretty Pink Pumpkins turned up here and there. The name of this kind is Porcelain Doll. She is a shiny corally pink, and each individual pumpkin seems to have its own personality. Mine had blue underlying highlights here and […]

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The Latest Flowering Shrubs

THE LATEST FLOWERING SHRUBS SOME LATE BLOOMING FAVORITES  ‘Recency is Primacy’ In general, people call to mind most easily those things that have happened most recently. Each year, the last plants to flower in a freshly beautiful way seem very precious. In fond memory, they seem to stay close by as we go through the […]

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Marblehead Open Garden Day 2015

4 Private Gardens in Marblehead and 1 in Beverly will be Open for viewing on August 8th from 10 AM until 4 PM (Click above for further information) 40% of our proceeds go to the MARBLEHEAD CONSERVANCY Hope You May be able to Visit One or All of Them …….. Below is a list of […]

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The Longest Blooming Clematis of my Acquaintance

  LONG BLOOMING SMALL FLOWERED CLEMATIS Many of the longest blooming Clematis are found among the smaller flowered kinds. Their myriads of small individual flowers combine to make as exciting a show as any of the large flowered Clematis can offer. I find that their stems and foliage also last more nicely and can be […]

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Fourth of July Plant, Spigelia marilandica

Spigelia marilandica is spectacular every Fourth of July – A living Sparkler. If you have a few hours of good sun somewhere, this beautiful and tough plant will return each year, bringing in Hummingbirds for the festivities. It will give you its amazing display for quite a while, and if you trim it after flowering, […]

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Hellebore Favorites

Some Hellebore Favorites An Evergreen groundcover plant with fresh flowers for Christmas and New Year’s Day in New England, Zone 5….. Seems quite magical. Staunchly evergreen, most Hellebores are treasured for their handsome leaves in all seasons and for their flowers through winter and early spring, when there are few other showy plants in the […]

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Designing Your Views

Designing Your Views You can lead the eye wherever you want to. Control the views. Work around existing features Make whatever you add complementary to what you already like and will be keeping in the place. Plan to erase whatever does not please you. Through your design, you will want to show the virtues and […]

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Choosing Stone and Hard Materials: Landscape Design Advisories / Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Choosing Stone and Hard Materials Choose a Family of Stone and Hard Materials from the Beginning. It will save alot of problems if you considerately select the set of stone and hard materials you will be using together for your ‘palette’ before you begin to design your projects in any detail. You are […]

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Long Island Harvest Stories

Around this time of year, there is always a wonderful Harvest Fair at the Hallockville Farm Museum on Long Island. This year the Quiltmaker’s Guild, the Basket Maker’s Guild, the Rug Maker’s Guild, the Herb Society,  the Woodworker’s Alliance and other masterful craftspersons were represented. Members worked at their respective crafts all day, providing continuous […]

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In Bloom Plant List / August 10th 2014 / Zone 5B

IN BLOOM OR OF NOTE AUGUST 10th 2014 The plants listed below were among those in bloom or looking great on our Open Garden Day. This list was very popular, so I thought I would provide it for those of you who could not be there or didn’t get things written down that you might […]

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Thankyou Salem News and Marblehead Reporter

We got some very nice press for our August 10th Garden Conservancy event………. from the Salem News, Marblehead Reporter and Boston Globe ! ——————————————————- It was a perfect Open Garden day………..221 people contributed to the Conservancy, and with the children counted in, about 233 attended. …….One couldn’t ask for better attention than that…. The energy in the […]

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Garden Conservancy Open Day in Marblehead 8/10/2014

Garden Conservancy Open Day in Marblehead (click above for descriptions of and directions to the gardens) Sunday, August 10 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit four gardens in Marblehead, MA. in any order you like. Admission is $5 for each garden. Proceeds are shared with the Marblehead Conservancy and Symphony by the Sea Rich’s […]

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Long Blooming Plants, and how to make them Longer Blooming Plants: Zone 5

Tricks to Keep Plants Long Blooming 1.  Use Various Exposures If a long blooming kind of plant is sited in various locations, it can have an ultra long flowering season. If any given kind of plant can thrive in a range of exposures, and you put some in a shadier and some in a sunnier […]

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Useful Snow Ideas

  The rug in my Garden Studio gets alot of footfalls. Muddy, slushy and sandy ones. My Polish Mason showed me what to do about that, then my Italian friend Janey said “of course that’s how you do it”. Well, I didn’t always know about this traditional method of winter cleaning rugs, but for years […]

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Landscape Design Advisories: Chapter 1 / Finding the Beginning

Landscape Design Advisories Chapter 1 Finding The Beginning …………………………………………………….R.S. ‘A Good Beginning is a Good Ending’ Creating a place to recieve your life in a considerate way usually takes alot of thought and planning. You will want the elements of your outdoor life to be comfortable and well organised so that you can enjoy whatever […]

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Best Evergreen Floor Plants

A Suitable Plant for Memorial Day : Vinca  The word ‘Vinca’ can be derived from the Italian verb ‘Vincere’, which refers to success by winning or conquering, whether I, you, he or she. The Vincas are a seriously reliable and handsome Genus of plants, so it is easy to think of them being referred to […]

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Good Green Words

Green Words

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Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond In February and later, nicely shaped cut branches of  Forsythia brought inside to a vase with lots of water will flower gracefully within 2 weeks. Yes, it really is as simple as that. Just keep the water refreshed, nearly to the top of the container. If you cut some […]

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