Garden Consultation

Harlem terrace

COVID-Update: I am consulting and designing remotely, for gardeners near and far.  In-person site visits are fine as long as everyone is vaccinated and masked.

For details please email me at myviljoen(at)gmail (dot) com.

Gardens are a place to retreat, to celebrate, to sit alone, to eat a quiet supper. A sanctuary where you decompress, or laugh with friends. They can be a living pantry. And inspiring teachers. If you would like a garden and do not know where to begin, I can help. 

Outdoor space, no matter how small, is a privilege. Make the most of it. 

Cobble Hill (the original 66 square feet)

While I have designed dozens of gardens for clients, my own have been created from bare bones on modest budgets, in four very different New York City spaces. I understand first-hand what challenges gardeners face, from privacy concerns to lack of sunlight.

Carroll Gardens

If you need an hour-long virtual or in-person tutorial on caring for a particular plant, that might be all it takes. Or I can provide a schematic design for a complete garden, with a detailed plant list, container dimensions (where necessary), and care guidelines.

                                                            Carroll Gardens

My gardens have ranged from the first, tiny 66 square feet that inspired this blog and my first book, to a roomy backyard of 1,000 square feet. There has been morning sun, all-day blazing rooftop sun, wind, deep shade, and lead in the soil. Gardening is exhilarating, never dull.

Windsor Terrace

I know what plants work where. Every garden situation is truly unique and the garden itself is usually the best teacher. There will be failures, and they will be instructive.

Client garden, Flatiron 

Cosmopolitan flower gardens, native woodland courtyards, and pollinator-friendly plantings are all city possibilities.

Carroll Gardens

Would you like to grow your own salads? Or unusual indigenous edibles? Perhaps you'd like a truly American kitchen garden (and what does that mean?). How about a serviceberry orchard on the 7th floor (and what is a serviceberry? Or do you prefer blueberries?

Client garden, SoHo

Maybe you just like lilies. Or have always wanted your own city forest.

Harlem terrace

You may have full shade or full sun, or bits of both. High shade or deep shade.  Dappled shade. It all makes a very big difference to what and how you can plant.

Cobble Hill

What I Do:

Ideally I'd visit your space in person (masked, and socially distanced during the pandemic). Remotely, I do that with your help: You send me pictures or video, and also answer some basic but important questions that I send about aspect and microclimate: sun, shade, challenges specific to your site (such as deep shade pockets, orientation with regards to winter winds). I can then advise on which plants might do well, and answer your questions about plants you love or want. There is always a wonderful collection of plants that will work in your space. Consults last between 30 minutes and an hour-and-half, typically.

If you need a design, I then follow up with a schematic watercolor design accompanied by a written overview, detailed plant lists or planter sizes. Good gardens require good planning.

Finally, I offer practical coaching: how to plant, how to water. It seems simplistic, but the number one cause of plant death is user error. And it's usually about water. Too much (mostly), or too little. Understand the plant and its needs, and gardening turns from combat to cooperation. And if you really just need a trouble-shooting session, we can do that, too. 

Rates upon inquiry.

Please get in touch via at myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com