Nature enthusiasts got into the spring of things with Neil Sperry Thursday night in the latest installment of the Profiles and Perspectives series sponsored by the Noble Foundation.

 


Nature enthusiasts got into the spring of things with Neil Sperry Thursday night in the latest installment of the Profiles and Perspectives series sponsored by the Noble Foundation.

 

Sperry, a noted author and radio personality, kept the considerable crowd at the Ardmore Convention Center entertained throughout the night with his experience in landscaping and ever-present wit. Leaning on a 20-step presentation designed to help those in attendance maximize their outdoor space, Sperry put together a program designed on one basic goal; how to transfer ordinary landscape to something great.

 

The most basic step that Sperry presented was fundamental — start with a plan and then determine the areas of each landscape. Sperry divided each landscape into three areas; front yard, back yard and work or service area. He noted that the difference between the front, or public area and the back, or private area is that in the public, one is on the outside, looking in. While in the private area, one is on the inside, looking out.

 

He noted that gardens are like homes and that they are made up of rooms, creating several different looks within the landscape. Sperry went further and encouraged everyone to work toward a natural look, exclaiming himself a “middle of the road, common-sense gardener.”

 

“You want it to look like it naturally belongs,” Sperry said. “If God wanted us to have four-foot shrubs, he would have given them to us. Work with nature, not against it.”

 

Sperry did suggest that in landscaping, people should opt for plants that are not native to the area and that they should use limited numbers of species in odd numbers while planting in clusters and groups.

 

In terms of other items to place in landscaping, Sperry said bed edgings provide definition and recommended metal edging. He was also in favor of art.

 

“Art is where you find it,” Sperry said. “It can go in small spots and become focal points to rooms in your garden.” He also said the patterns within an area can become art as well.

 

While creating the landscape, it was stressed that a focal point should be established and that it should be a visual funnel. Among the examples were the front door in the public area and fountains and pools and bridges in the private area.

 

Shapes of plants were discussed in terms of optimizing a landscape as well as creating privacy with fences and plants. And among the ideas that were stressed was to plan for color throughout the year, rather than have an entire landscape fall prey to extreme weather.

 

But for all the ideas and examples that were presented, the foremost came at the conclusion of the lecture.

 

“Above all, have a good time landscaping,” Sperry said.

 

Michael Pineda
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