Matthew Cohen -

| Wild Foods & Nature Walks | Gardens About Matt

Focusing on Edible Landscapes, Wildlife Friendly Gardens, Native, Drought Tolerant & Low Maintenance Plants.

Garden Coaching/Consulting. I work on an hourly basis at $75/hr plus my travel time. I can provide you with ideas or instruction on topics such as: pruning, transplanting, dividing, identifying ornamentals in your yard, identifying native vs. non-native invasive plants, suggestions for low-maintenance edible plants, how to grow vegetables, how to build and where to put raised vegetable beds, what plants to use where, or any other gardening questions you might have. I keep most of my work to within 5 miles of Takoma Middle School.

Landscape Designs. Designs generally range from $500 for a small section of your yard to around $1500 for a complete yard. A design is useful to give you a vision and road map for transforming your yard. See some sample designs below:

Installations. I only occasionally do small installations such as planting a few trees or shrubs. I can help you get started with planting projects by procuring plants and laying them out where to be planted. I partner with Father Nature Restorative Landscaping and they may be able to do installations of designs I have done.


Ten Ways To Green Your Yard

1.  GROW YOUR OWN FOOD -  By using vegetables and fruits in your landscape, you reduce the need for gas guzzling, long-distance transport to bring your food. Produce is fresher, tastier, and pays you back in reduced grocery bills. There is nothing like the satisfaction of eating food you grew yourself! 

2.  USE NATIVE PLANTS - These are plants that existed in America before European contact. They have evolved to take the extremes of our climate and sustain our native wildlife. When appropriately selected and sited, native plants need little maintenance. They support many times more native butterflies and other pollinators than non-native plants. By landscaping with natives, you are helping to tip the scale back in favor of the biodiversity we keep losing when natural areas disappear to new construction such as housing developments, parking lots, and roads.

3. REMOVE INVASIVE NON-NATIVE PLANTS - The number two cause of habitat loss, after new construction, is caused by non-native, invasive plants. Invasive plants out-compete our native plants because their predators, parasites, and other natural controls were left back in their homelands of Asia or Europe. Non-natives support much less wildlife than native plants and when they overtake a park like Rock Creek Park or Sligo Creek, our local songbird and butterfly populations suffer. Remove these plants from your yard and replace them with natives!

4.  REDUCE YOUR LAWN - Lawns encourage gas-guzzling, air-polluting practices such as mowing, leaf blowing, fertilizing, and irrigation. If every U.S. household replaced just one square yard of lawn with alternative plantings, we could create 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat and eliminate 1.2 million hours of lawnmowing.

Swamp milkweed is a beautiful raingarden plant that supports monarch butterflies.

5.  CREATE A RAIN GARDEN - A significant portion of pollution in our waterways comes from water running down storm drains and crashing into rivers -- gouging the banks and dumping sediment, trash, and pollutants. By channelling water from your roof into raingardens, supporting a beautiful array of native plants, you help improve water quality, and slowly recharge groundwater.

6. USE RECYCLED YARD WASTE - Every year we set out on the curb mounds of leaves and other yard waste. The cities of Takoma Park and College Park recycle these into leaf mulch, compost, and wood chips. Use these local and recycled quality amendments for landscaping your yard.

Blueberries are tasty and attractive plants.

7.  AVOID CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS AND PESTICIDES - Many of these toxic chemicals wash into our local streams and can be dangerous to your family and your pets.  By following several of these other actions, such as using native plants resistant to pests and disease, creating diverse plantings, and enriching your soil with compost, you can avoid the need for chemicals. I only use herbicides as a last resort and only under the right conditions.

8.  COMPOST YARD AND KITCHEN WASTE - Composting both reduces waste and creates excellent soil conditioner. Try composting your own leaves and yard waste in the backyard before hauling it out to the curb -- you'll have rich, organic fertilizer for your yard.

9.  CREATE WILDLIFE HABITAT - As sprawl replaces native habitat with lawns, buildings, and pavement, our local wildlife suffers.  You can attract a variety of songbirds, butterflies, and other animals to your yard by planting a diversity of native plants that provide seeds, fruit, insects, nectar, and shelter.  Adding a birdbath or pond rounds out the habitat.

10. GARDEN WITH KIDS - Better yet, give them their own plot to grow flowers or food.  Grow plants that attract butterflies and birds. You'll connect the next generation to the earth and can enjoy their sense of wonder at the mystery of how things grow.