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December 11, 2016
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Tips from a professional: Plan, plant, persist & be pleased with yourself

Backing up to a wooded area, Gavalla created a dramatic scene, filled with blouders, “under canopy” trees, cascading grasses, shrubbery and low-growing ground cover that hugs the stone wall.
Contributed photos

Trends in landscaping

Native plants, ornamental grasses, mosses and ferns

Finally, Gavalla mentioned several popular trends in landscaping, including—top on his list—planting native plants and avoiding invasive species, followed by gardening with moss (“everybody’s getting into it this year”) and ferns, as well as planting for bees and butterflies.

For more information on working with these, here are some resources:

Ornamental grasses: See

Mosses: how to grow and care for moss:


As for any final advice Gavalla has to offer: start with what you can afford, do a little at a time, spring, summer and fall, and if you make a mistake, dig it up and move it, and then give it a drink.

Gavalla’s parting words the day we spoke? “Good luck and let’s do some gardening.”

Ed Gavalla’s favorite deer-resistant plants

Given where we live in the Upper Delaware River Valley, when making your plan, consider plants that are deer resistant. Fencing is wonderful for keeping deer away, Gavalla observed, and it comes in some awesome black and dark green colors, but there are many plants that deer don’t like and don’t require a fence.

“Most of what I plant is limited to coreopsis, Russian sage or any sage, scented geraniums, Echinacea, lavender and mint. Walker’s Low (Nepeta racemosa) is awesome.”

The more Gavella talked, the longer his personal list of deer resistant plants grew. Many varieties of deciduous shrubbery, and hardwoods don’t get browsed by the deer, he said: Vibernums; white snowballs, either Anabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) or Chinese snowballs (Viburnum macrocephalum), American cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum); Minnesota snowflake mock orange (Philadelphus x virginalis), Princeton Red Bells (Enkianthus campaulatus).

If you’re looking for deerproof flowers, Gavalla likes Japanese iris or Siberian iris, snapdragons, columbine, creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis), Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurian’.