J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C .    
A green approach to the design & construction of edible & ornamental gardens
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     Table of Contents                 

     * Overview -

          about J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C. in a nutshell

      * Welcome -
          about J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C. in more detail

     * What does "green" mean? -
          how the term "green" applies to J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C.

     * Getting your garden built -
           the procedure

     * Planning & scheduling your garden project -

     * A word about gardens -

     * About the gardener -

     * Photos -

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     Please click on "more information" (where posted) to the right of each heading below to view more details. When details are to be found in more than one place, more than one link is provided. To return to the Overview list, please click on "Return to Overview" in the section you are viewing.

     J.M.B. Greengardens is a small, one person L.L.C. specializing in the design and construction of gardens in the Richmond, Virginia area.

  •   Small scale, residential or commercial - I prefer smaller jobs                               more information
  •    Free initial consultation
  •    Eco-friendly, "green" methods                                                                                    more information   
  •    Personalized design, personal attention, craftsman’s approach
  •    Range of styles
  •    Maintenance plans individually tailored to your needs
  •    Over four decades gardening experience
  •    Edible, ornamental, & mixed landscaping                                                                   more information
  •    Vegetable gardens & fruit-bearing plants                                       more information     more information
  •   Herb gardens                                                                                           more information   
  •   Extensive knowledge of heirloom & traditional fruits, vegetables, & ornamentals  more information
  •   Hardscaping, arbors, trellises, & other small garden structures
  •   Soon to add small water gardens & water features to the repertoire                                         
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Welcome to J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C.
  Return to Table of Contents    Return to Overview 

     J.M.B. Greengardens is a small, one person L.L.C. specializing in the design and construction of gardens in the Richmond, Virginia area. Keeping the business small allows me to take a craftsman's approach – to have direct control over each stage of the design, installation and maintenance process and to pay careful, thoughtful, individual attention to each client and each garden, so that your garden is the best fit for both the site and for your needs, tastes, and lifestyle.

     Because it fits best with the craftsman's approach, I prefer to take on mainly small to medium sized projects. Patio gardens, courtyards, gardens in the strip between the alley and your house, business, or back fence, and even container gardens are examples at he small end of the scale. Exquisite things can be done with small spaces, and even a small space can offer something to delight in all seasons. In our region, even in January there are many such things – both ornamental and edible. The possibilities expand in other, warmer seasons. At the larger end of the scale are full makeovers of the average sized city yard. Vegetable gardens and home orchards of various sizes are in the middle. Small, medium, and large are subjective terms, though, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have the slightest question as to whether I can assist you with your project, for either your home or your business.

     I design and install many types of gardens: edible, ornamental, and mixed, in a range of styles depending upon the site and your tastes. Although I have no absolute favorites, I find shade gardens a pleasant challenge, and currently I am very interested in expanding my gardening horizons to include small water gardens and water features - they can add much interest to a garden, especially a small one. I will gladly include paving, retaining walls, and other hardscaping in your garden if you wish, as well as arbors, pergolas, trellises and other small structures.
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    One of my specialties is edible landscaping. This can be as complex as an extensive vegetable patch or kitchen garden with fruit trees, or as simple as a fig or blueberry bush on the patio, a dwarf peach tree in a pot, a small herb garden, a trellis of cucumbers or cherry tomatoes, a row of kale or chard, or a small cold frame to hold specialty greens over the winter. Edible plants can be readily incorporated into a landscape in an aesthetically pleasing fashion - ornamental and edible are not mutually exclusive - a great many edible plants are quite ornamental in their own right, and many generally considered ornamental are also edible. Some garden sites have more limitations as to what will grow well in them than others - vegetables, for instance, require a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight, but with most sites a space can be found for at least some edibles.
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     Most of the vegetables and many of the fruits I favor are traditional or heirloom varieties. My primary reason for cultivating the older varieties is that they offer not only superior flavors, but also a greater variety of tastes and textures compared to many of their modern counterparts, whose breeding is mainly concerned with uniform ripening time, high production, the ability to tolerate mechanical harvesting and rough treatment, and the ability to survive long distance shipping. Flavor and texture are relatively minor concerns in the breeding of these varieties.

     Helping to preserve genetic diversity in our food crops, contributing to the maintenance of regionally adapted varieties, and participating in cultural history are other reasons to cultivate traditional and heirloom fruits and vegetables.
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     Should you decide to include edibles in your garden, there are many types of vegetables and fruits other than the usual supermarket varieties which thrive here in central Virginia. Some are available, though not always easy to find, and then sometimes at high cost and/or of lesser quality. Some are seasonal delights rarely found outside a garden. (Or a gardener's kitchen.) Some are available but unfamiliar. Some are ethnic specialties. Still others are traditional crops no longer commonly grown. For all the edibles I plant for you I provide harvest tips. For those with which you may be unfamiliar (and those with which you are familiar, if you wish) I am delighted to offer preparation tips as well. Simple is best in that regard - well-grown produce, when picked at perfection and eaten truly fresh, needs little embellishment, and makes even good store-bought produce seem a little lacking.  
     It is not necessary to devote large amounts of space to trying something new. A small patch can be planted, and if it turns out you like it, more can be planted next year, if not, not much has been lost. 
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What does "green" mean?         
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     “Green” is a term used (and abused) in many ways and in many different contexts. This is how it presently applies to J.M.B.Greengardens, L.L.C. -----  

     First, I use only fertilizers that comply with most organic standards, no chemicals. Some of those would otherwise be considered waste products or by-products; chicken manure (processed for safety) is an example of the former, cotton seed meal an example of the latter.

     Second, I rarely, if ever, have recourse to any pest or weed control that does not meet those standards, and in any case will always seek out the least toxic solution. More and more eco-friendly and effective products are becoming easily available.

     Third, I try to source as many materials as possible as close as possible to the Richmond area, both to lessen the carbon footprint associated with transport, and, in the case of plant materials, to be better assured of their adaptability to our region. This also has the effect of supporting local businesses –  especially small businesses. There are a great many talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and highly skilled plants-people in our region, and it only makes sense to rely on their expertise, and to support them by, as the old phrase has it,  giving them our custom.

      Fourth, I seek out things made with recycled and/or recyclable materials where available and appropriate. Soaker hose made with recycled rubber is one example. The more of this kind of item we choose to buy, the more of it we encourage to be made. That also goes for used materials where price, quality, and availability make them an appropriate choice. Brick and stone may at times come under this heading. Used materials are sometimes more expensive than new, and sometimes require more labor to install, but they often have a good bit more character, and both recycling and reuse help keep more things out of the waste stream.       

     I tend to favor hand tools over power tools – mostly this is personal preference, but often, (though not always) a hand tool is the most appropriate choice for the situation.  It is not universally the case, but my experience is that hand tools tend to allow neater, more accurate work and are easier to use in tight spaces. Hand tools also offer the benefit of being quieter and less polluting than power tools.  

     Currently I am researching less toxic alternatives to ACQ (green treated) wood and a solar powered battery charger for cordless tools. 
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