Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who are some of your clients?

A: Linda and Rick Sedgley, on the 2017 Garden Tour organized by Vashon Center for the Arts.
The new owners of DIG nursery

Kay Pieringer

Julie Hempton

Matt Barnes

many more....

Q: How much do you charge?

A: My current (Oct 2019) rate is $50 an hour including tax for landscape design and guidance, installation, and general maintenance.  I will often bring in assistants at lower rates ($30 to $40 an hour), and summer high school students at $15 an hour. My helpers do things like dig out shrubs, move rocks and sword ferns, edge the lawn, dig out blackberries, weed gravel driveways, dig planting holes for new trees and shrubs, and haul away the branches I prune. 

Please note; I charge for the time I answer your questions in between visits. I am your garden consultant, and have many resources at my disposal, but it sometimes takes a little time to look them up, and be sure of my answer for you. 

Q: Can you trim shrubs the way I like them?

A: Absolutely. Some clients prefer a natural look.  This requires going inside the shrub and finding the appropriate branch to cut, to reduce overall size without the shrub looking like it got a bad haircut.  Sometimes a bush trimmed as a hedge needs to be rejuvenated to a more natural look. I can do that, but it is not done in one trimming.

Some clients prefer some of their shrubs to look clipped, as a single shrub or as an even hedge.  I can do that as well.  It is important with hedges that they be trimmed so they are narrower on the top than the bottom. This allows the bottom leaves to get light, so the hedge has leaves all the way to the ground. If a hedge has gotten out of control, and is bare on the bottom, it can often be renewed through careful pruning and time to recover.

In addition, I have completed the  University of Washington's Master Pruner classes, co-sponsored with Plant Amnesty. These are a series of  classes and workshops covering:

  • Rose Pruninghybrid teas, climbers and landscape roses.
  • Fruit Tree Pruning
  • Tree Pruning I:  The science and biology behind tree pruning with minimal injury to the tree.
  • Tree Pruning II: The "how-to's" for making good cuts, structural pruning for trees of any age, pruning standards
                       and crown restoration.
  • How to Prune and Renovate the Overgrown LandscapeBasic pruning and creative solutions for the overgrown and over planted landscape.
  • Five Easy Plants to Prune: nandina, evergreen azalea, lilac, camellia and yew
  • Pruning Art or Pruning Atrocity? Three forms of mal-pruning compared with bona-fide examples of pruning art such as pleaching, pollarding and coppicing
  • Difficult Plants to PruneBasic pruning techniques, common mistakes, and corrective pruning for Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Callicarpa, Viburnum        bodnantense and Abelia
  • Vine Pruning: wisteria, clematis, Boston ivy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle and trumpet vine.
  • Japanese Garden PruningSpecialized pruning techniques for Japanese maples, bamboo, cloud pruning of pines and tamamono
  • The Shearables, Hackables, and Untouchables
  • Rehabilitative Pruning: advanced class on how to restore mal-pruned trees and shrubs

Q:  I need a lower maintenance yard or garden. Can you help?
Yes.  Sometimes a garden becomes high maintenance because of how it has been designed:  too many specimen plantings, for example, or no lawn edging, or it has tight corners not good for mowing around, or other reasons.  We can work on re-designing your garden for lower maintenance.

Sometimes a garden is high maintenance because of summer watering needs. I can help design and install a drip irrigation system for you, and bring in mulch where needed.

Sometimes a garden is high maintenance because of weeding.  I can remove weeds, replace them with plants you want, and also put down cardboard and mulch (called sheet mulching) to kill whole areas of the garden filled with weeds, with very little work. Then, after 6 months or so, you can plant through the mulch and cardboard.

Q:  I want my garden/property to be managed organically. What is your experience there?

A:  I have been gardening organically all my life. I subscribed to Organic Gardening magazine when I was 15 years old.  More recently, my husband, Michael Laurie, and I have worked together to reduce the use of toxic pesticides on Vashon.  We have created both a website:  with lots of great resources for people, and a Facebook page:

Q: My Laceleaf Japanese maple looks like a mop. I can see the trunk only in the winter. Can you fix it without hurting it?

A: Yes. The ideal is to be able to see the trunk through the lacy branches, without pruning too much, or too little. It usually takes three years to convert a mop-like laceleaf maple that looks like 'Cousin It' into a beautiful work of art. If you prune too much in any year, you can easily kill the tree. So it must be done over time.