Reed Pugh

About Reed Pugh

Horticulturist and landscape designer living in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. Reed is passionate about gardens and plants and loves writing about horticulture, plants, garden accoutrements, best garden practices and whatever else comes to his frenetic mind. He tries not to take himself too seriously but has been known to 'geek out' on occasion. Reed, and his company Barking Dog Gardens, can be found at Reeds Garden Ramblings

Fothergilla: flowers, fragrance & fall color

There are so many cool climate plants to choose from and so often people end up using the tried and true performers. Nurseries know this which is why they are packed every spring with rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese maples, hydrangeas, yews, hollies and dogwoods and many more native and non-native plants. The cycle is self-perpetuating, as many contractors, who also design, prefer to choose plants they know will survive as well as plants that are readily available at their local nurseries. Continue reading

Bad mulch and poor use = dead plants

Time for my annual diatribe against bad quality mulch and poor (read ignorant) mulching practices. When I say ignorant, I am referring to ‘professionals’ who are paid and should know better. I know my last post was negative too, but that’s what happens when it is April and you haven’t had any warm spring days and you still have several feet of snow on the back deck. Continue reading

Save your plants from snow damage

While it is true that our New England gardens go dormant in winter (mostly – see Witch Hazel), there are a few reasons to keep an eye out for problems as a result of our damaging weather. Snow and ice can cause significant damage to trees and shrubs, and every winter I learn of broken branches and snapped trunks from clients. Continue reading

Images from “Dog Days of Summer”

Having survived the brutal July heatwave, we are now experiencing some atypically mild temperatures for the “Dog Days of Summer”. With the memory of the heat lingering, I can still see a client’s newly installed plants wilting under the oppressive heat and lack of rain. But we have been given a reprieve and the “Dog Days” are, for the moment, not bearing their teeth. Continue reading

Synthetic turf just right for this play area

I am sure that people will bristle at the idea of using synthetic turf in their gardens. I hear people talk about removing or wanting to remove lawn from the landscape because of its high maintenance and chemical dependency, but replacing it with synthetic turf would be tantamount to heresy. I love a natural garden and I even love grass, but sometimes situations prevent you from utilizing traditional solutions. Continue reading

How to prune a weeping maple

I hear some people say that they don’t like weeping Japanese maples (Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ and other cultivars) and my heart breaks. I feel that this can be one of the most beautiful trees with just a little work to enhance its form, but often they are left to their own devices and their beauty can be hidden by layers of branches. Continue reading

Suburban vegetables reach new heights

A friend recently introduced me to someone who has true passion for vegetable gardening in limited space. This new friend of mine has built a vegetable garden on the roof of her new garage! They recently rebuilt the garage with the intention of putting a deck on its roof to grow vegetables and keep bees. It is a tasteful and beautiful use of the space on display for the whole neighborhood. Continue reading

Spring, and life, goes on in Boston

This morning as I finished my weekly posting, I realized how unimportant my words on mulch and organic amendments would be this week, but, like most Bostonians, I was not going to stop or alter my work because of a few misguided and soulless individuals. Continue reading

Why this spring seems late. But is it?

Do you remember last spring…it came all at once in a massive explosion of color, leaves and pollen. Snowdrops, Squill and Daffodils all came at the same time, while Maples flowered and dispersed their pollen. During the last week of March in 2012, Forsythia, PJM Rhododendrons and Star Magnolias were already in full bloom and my tree lilacs, an early tree to leaf out, were already in leaf. However, this year you have to search hard to find any buds swelling and only this week did Squill start to appear and Daffodils start showing flower buds. Continue reading

Witch hazel for early spring flowers

Witch Hazel, or Hamamelis, is a genus of medium-sized shrubs that typically have a vase-like shape and a unique flower that comes outside of the typical season. Today, I have decided to write about them because my Witch Hazel is in full bloom. I first noticed in early February when it showed a little color through our huge snowstorm, but with the following warmer weather it burst out. Continue reading