Thinking of garden art as nothing more than gnome statues is thinking small, according to local nursery and landscaping experts.
Janie Saltarelli, manager of Auburn Oaks Inc. in Rochester Hills, said garden art comes in a variety of styles and adds a personal touch to a home’s flowers and landscaping. “It kind of shows their personality of what they like,” she said.
According to Saltarelli, the most important tip for choosing a first piece of art is to start with something that is personally fun and meaningful. “If you like nature, birdbaths are great garden art,” she said. “Put it in a place that you’re able to sit down and enjoy it.”
Cheaper pieces, like spinning whirligigs, are still favorites, and bright colors, such as yellow and orange, are trendy right now for garden tripods and stands, she said. Although stone geese and the aforementioned gnomes might not be the most popular objects, people still buy them, she said.
“We have some tiki guys and the Easter Island (moai statues),” she said. “Buddha, he’s always very popular.”
Peggy Waite, a manager at Bordine’s on Woodward in Birmingham, said great garden art builds an interesting structure that adds color. Although the appropriateness of garden art can depend on the size of the garden bed, common items include birdbaths, statues, decorative stepping stones or benches, she said.
“In every garden, you want to have a focal point,” she said.
While some people deride figures like decorative pink flamingos, Waite said garden art usually becomes cheesy when there are conflicting elements and no unifying theme. Paying attention to color schemes and matching materials and textures can keep a garden display classy, she said.
Elements of light can also make a garden stand out, and some gardeners use a round glass structure called a gazing ball to bring a sparkle to their yards. “It’s very shimmery when the sun hits it,” she said.
Waite said customers’ garden art budgets vary, but most begin with one or three items that serve as focal points, and then they’ll keep adding. But she warned garden artists to be aware of how many objects they use at a time.
“It’s better for the eye when you’re using an odd number. You see it in a triangle shape,” she said. “If you’re doing two at a time, it’s very linear.”
Some gardeners are thinking small when it comes to the newest trends in garden art, according to Jan Ornsten, president of American Lawn Corp. Not to be confused with garden gnomes, fairy gardens are a form of garden art in which people buy a pot and plant miniature bushes, trees and moss in it. Tiny fairy dolls are often added to populate the setting.
Ornsten said the trend has caught many by surprise. “They’re available at some of the nurseries,” she said. “You can also buy the little benches. You can buy the little fairy ladies that come in various colors. You can build little rivers.”
The miniature garden can be maintained in the summer with regular watering. Although the average fairy garden can cost about $200 to decorate, some people start small, she said. “You can start with $100 and just keep building your garden,” she said.
She explained that some people decorate their gardens by setting up a metal stand that holds colorful bottles. “You can buy blue bottles at Eastern Market,” she said. “You can put the stand in the ground ... and you put the bottles on each prong that stands out.”
With one week into spring, now would be a good time to get your gardening affairs in order.
“Most important is the debris in the yard needs to be cleaned up,” said Jan Ornsten, whose family business, American Lawn Corp., has been servicing commercial and residential lawns since 1961. If you’re a pet owner, that means a couple of hours of poop scooping.
“Once that’s done, I would proceed to pick up any big branches that may have fallen off the tree, so you’re not tripping over them, for safety’s sake,” Ornsten said.
Cleanup in the yard would entail raking the leaves off the lawn and out of the flowerbeds. After April 1, you should be able to start setting the yard waste bags at the road for pickup.
“This is also the time to trim broken branches or shrubs,” Ornsten said. “Get a pair of pruners and walk around the yard with a bucket, pruning any branches (down to the trunk) that might have been damaged by wind or snow. This will promote new growth.”
Now is a good time to get the lawnmower ready for the season and, provided it is dry enough, give the lawn its first cut.
“You want to get that brown layer of grass off the top,” Ornsten said. At this point, homeowners can apply a combo organic pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer to prevent the spreading of crab grass. It’s too early to apply any deterrents for clover and creeping Charlie. That needs to be done in May.
Keep in mind while clearing the debris from the yard that over the winter plenty of junk found its way into the bird feeders and baths.
Clean them out thoroughly before filling them up with fresh seed and water. Ornsten recommended using a brush to get rid of the algae that collected in the birdbath.
Today is supposed to be cold, but any breaks in the clouds could be used for removing Christmas lights and holiday décor. If it’s too chilly to be outdoors, turn on the radio in the garage and work on your spring lights, pots and other yard décor.
If you have mulch, take a rake and give it a mix. You’ll be surprised at how fresh it will look afterward.
This would be the time to apply grass seed to the bare spots in the lawn. Yellow spots created by dogs should be raked thoroughly to remove the dead grass before applying any seed. Once that is done, Ornsten suggested adding a layer of sphagnum peat moss. This will deter birds from eating the seed and help to keep the wind from blowing it away.
Once all of the cleanup work is done, it is possible to do some planting.
“I went to the Eastern Market (recently) and bought a couple flats of purple, white and yellow pansies,” Ornsten said. “I put them in a pot with some pussy willows and
already 95 percent of the pansies are blooming.”
C&G Newspapers Eastsider September 22, 2010:
The Oakland Press - Section C - Friday December 18, 2009
DETROIT American Lawn Corp. helps decorate for the holidays Local residents and businesses seek help in decorating their homes and businesses for Christmas and other holidays. Detroit based American Lawn Corp., a respected area landscaping company, has decorated area homes and businesses for some 48 years and they add their version of bling to the area."People call us to put up their holiday lights and other outdoor decorations," said Jan Ornsten, co-owner of American Lawn. "It adds pizzazz for the holidays." American Lawn generally utilizes around 1,500 lights per tree with generally two individuals installing lights for 3-10 hours. For more information, call (313) 526-3595 or visit www.americanlawncorp.com.
Ornsten offers the following tips for people looking to decorate for Christmas: *Do as much or as little as you want - create a holiday environment that brings you joy. *Use your existing decorations, purchase new, or ask a decorating company to bring their's. *To keep it simple, decorate solely with wreaths and or garland. Add lights to help them "pop." *Place lights around the home's arch(es)for a pretty outline of your home. *Position lighted Christmas trees in your front porch pots. *Decorate and place lights around your deck to enjoy the view while warm inside your home. *For lines with 100 lights, use only 3 lines of lights per plug, to avoid blowing your circuit. *Put you lights on a timer to conserve energy and turn on and off on a consistent schedule.
- From staff reports
Grosse Pointe News, September 24, 2009 Friends dress up Mack By Kathy Ryan Staff Writer
It was a chance encounter, the landscaper and the hairdresser, but the end result has been keeping a small section of Mack Avenue alive with the colors of the season. Jan Ornsten, president of American Lawn Corporation, was having her hair done at Friends Hair and Nails several years ago, and a conversation with owner Andy Bernard led to a friendship and partnership that has them making beautiful landscaping together. "It started out with me doing some landscaping," Ornsten explained. "Then we added flowers around the tree, and then Andy suggested we take out the grass and put in pavers." That led to flower beds and a continuing show of seasonal blossoms and colors. It also brought some unusual blooms, such as Gardenia's in planters near the door, appealing to both the eye and the sense of smell. "Clients comment all the time on how nice the entrance and front of the building looks," Bernard said. "We also notice people stopping as they walk along Mack." Ornsten already has an eye to fall, as mums and pansies are in the beds, with a promise of Halloween-themed decorations and beds coming soon. After that, the Christmas decorations will go in. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as Bernard and his salon are recognized annually by the city's beautification commission. "It's important for all of us to keep up the image of the city," Bernard said. "It helps us all." And while Ornsten and her company do most of the "heavy lifting" on the landscaping, Bernard does his part by keeping the flowers watered. "I live in a condo, and with three businesses to look after, I really don't have the time to do landscaping projects, so this is perfect for me," Bernard said with a laugh.
Article from Macomb Daily - Section D - Sunday, October 18, 2008
Enhance the beauty of your home with fall maintenance
Our pool days are over for the season. That is for sure. Beautiful flowers and bushes, however, are still providing color to Michigan's landscape. So go ahead and store the floats and pool toys, but leave the watering can out.
"In the fall, Michigan still gets hot, sunny days that dry out the soil," said Jan Ornsten, co-owner of American Lawn Corporation of Birmingham. "Water flowers daily to keep them strong and colorful, or pull them out to create a clean and neat environment."
For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:
Jan Ornsten of American Lawn Corp. in Detroit plants flowers for one of her area residential clients.
July is a great month for Oakland County residents and businesses to plant and nurture their flowers and embellish the grounds around their home and building.
Jan Ornsten, president of 49-year-old American Lawn Corp. in Detroit, offers easy tips for summertime plantings.
“Enjoy planting your flowers, and be sure to give them daily attention,” says Ornsten. In 1961, her husband, Dan, founded the professional landscaping company, which serves residential and commercial clients throughout Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.
Ornsten shares the following tips to ensure that area residents grow healthy and vibrant flowers this summer:
— Out with the old and in with the new. Remove your tulips and pansies, as they are cooler-weather flowers, especially if they have turned yellow or brown. Plant annuals and/or perennials to add more color to your garden.
— Create a vivid color flow. One of the reasons we love the summer months, Ornsten says, is because of all the beautiful colors. Flowers, plants, bushes and trees are growing, blooming and vibrant. So, create a vivid color flow with annuals such as zinnias and marigolds, which provide consistent color, and perennials such as tulips, irises, daylillies and black-eyed susans, that offer shorter periods of color at different times throughout the season.
— Drainage is a definite. Water is essential in helping flowers grow and bringing forth color. When you water your flowers, keep watering them until you see drainage in the pots. When you’re purchasing flower pots, be sure they have drainage holes; otherwise, your flowers may rot.
— Prune away. Trim your flowers by removing dead stems and buds. Use a pruner, as it does a better job. Just be sure that it is sharp. If your flowers are quite dry, you can cut off the stems/buds with your fingers.
When you go away on vacation, If you have a sprinkling system, set it for daily watering and place your flower pots in the midst of the water stream so that they are watered every day while you are away. Consider hiring a teen down the street to water your plants daily. Demonstrate what flowers to water and how much to water them, and talk to his/her mom, to make sure her child handles this daily task.
Tips For Effective-Safe Snow Removal
Updated: Thursday, 07 Jan 2010, 10:32 AM EST Published : Thursday, 07 Jan 2010, 10:30 AM EST
DETROIT, Mich. – As more snow is predicted for the area, local residents and businesses will appreciate a variety of snow removal tips to help them ensure that snow and ice is removed in ways that protect their area surfaces and grass.
“We’ve professionally cleared drives, walkways and parking lots for nearly 49 years,” says Jan Ornsten, co-owner of Detroit-based American Lawn Corporation. “There’s still time to contact a service to clear your snow professionally,” she says.
American Lawn Corporation has provided below important snow removal tips to help local residents and businesses effectively remove snow and ice in ways that protect their surfaces and grass:
Snow Removal Tips
When hiring a company to snow-plow your drive, be sure their plow is not wider than your drive. Otherwise, the plow will eat up your grass.
Ensure the snow plow has a rubber protection blade, to protect your driveway from damage. Also, be sure they replace the rubber blade each year.
For stamped concrete, do not use a snow plow to clear your drive. Stamped concrete has uneven ridges, rather than a smooth surface. So, a snow plow's blades will scrape the cement. Instead, ensure your drive is hand-shoveled or cleared with a snow-blower.
When tossing salt on your drive, walkways and deck, use Peladow ice-melting salt instead of rock salt, as it melts three to four times more ice and is less damaging to surfaces. While it is more expensive than rock salt, you will save money in the long run, not needing to fix your drive, walk and deck in the spring.
Businesses should make sure that their city walks are shoveled, as cities will serve them with a 3-day notice and an eventual fine if walks are snow-covered.
Even after you've cleared the snow, be aware of blowing snow and drifts that can quickly accumulate.
For more information: American Lawn Corporation: 313-526-3595