Category Archives: Local events

Tour Christie’s Garden June 11th, 2017!

We are proud to announce that Christie’s personal garden will be featured in The Garden Conservancy’s upcoming Greater Boston Open Day! Come see what a landscape designer and professional furniture maker have created at their home, which The Boston Globe calls “a work of art.” After 10 years of developing their garden, Christie and Patti are unveiling 2 new sections for the very first time, complete with a dry pond and stone bridge.



For the addresses of the five open gardens on June 11th, see the link below. We hope you will come by to see Christie and Patti’s garden at 353 Park Street in West Roxbury!

Greater Boston Open Day


For more information as to how to visit these and many more beautiful gardens, please visit:

Tasked with preserving America’s exceptional gardens and deepening the public’s appreciation of gardens as elements of our national artistic and cultural heritage, The Garden Conservancy arranges for clusters of private gardens to open their doors to the public each summer. Often a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a private creation, each garden is chosen for its merits and visitors decide which gardens they want to visit and in what order. There is a $7 admission at each garden, donated to the Conservancy.

“We Need to Block that View!” – Creating Privacy with Landscaping

Contributed by Christie Dustman

I can’t count the number of times I have heard someone say, “We need to block that view!” In fact, many people go on to describe how they wave to their neighbor at night, kitchen window to kitchen window.

While we all love living in proximity to the city, we also want our privacy. How can landscaping help with this dilemma?

This is the rub: we want plants to do lots of things for us, but sometimes using plants to block out a particular view is almost as visually unappealing as that view itself. For example, think of that house you drive by with an A/C unit enclosed by a fence that screams, “Hey, A/C unit here!” 

This Saturday, April 22nd at 9am, I’m hosting a Walk and Talk at Allandale Farm to discuss ways to approach this common dilemma. Register here and come to learn some new options! 

Check out other Walk and Talks I’m hosting at Allandale Farm this spring here. I hope to see you at one!

Pruning Workshops at Allandale Farm April 15, 2017

Contributed by Christie Dustman

Every spring, my internal panic measure ratchets up as the weather warms. Suddenly, all of the woody plants in my garden seem to need immediate help and I feel pressured to work on each plant. For each of these plants, I have to use my brain as well as my tools. It takes a lot more brain power to prune than simpler tasks like weeding or deadheading. Imagine that – pruning my plants engages my brain as much as my tools!

For many people, spring brings up those perennial questions of how, where, why and when to prune woody plants such as shrubs, roses and smaller trees: “What plants should I touch now?”, “How far should I cut it and where?”, and for almost all folks, “Am I going to kill it?”

Allandale Farm

Good news! I am teaching a 2-hour pruning workshop, “Pruning for Healthy Plants,” at Allandale Farm this Saturday, April 15th at 9am and again at 11:30am. I will show my tools and tool belt, then delve into the indispensable thought process that should precede any cutting. Just like you have an end goal when you walk into a hair salon, you should have clear goals and reasoning behind any pruning actions. As we all know, a bad hair cut can really ruin your day!

You can register here – hurry up, space is limited!

I’ll be teaching four other classes at Allandale Farm on Saturdays this month and next. To see the full listing, check out the events page on Allandale Farm’s website.

Enter the Cone Zone

Enter the Cone Zone!Grout Hill Farm

Come take in 4 exquisite private gardens nestled in Southwestern New Hampshire this summer.  New Hampshire boasts natural beauty – mountains, farming, granite, forests and water and this natural scenery is the backdrop for these four gardens.  We will explore a garden in cultivation for 45 years, two in cultivation for 25 years and a new 10 year old garden.  In addition to conifers, Beech and perennials, we will view a Sugaring house, a natural cranberry Fens (floating bog), a farmstead built in 1790’s and a newly built medieval style manor house complete with stonework by renowned mason, Dan Snow.  Stay a few days and take in Brattleboro Vermont, the White Mountains of NH or hike Mt. Monadadnock.

Follow the link below for tour details and registration with the American Conifer Society. Join Christie and the crew this summer for some spectacular gardens!

2016 Northeast Regional Conifer Meeting


8-26-14 saw and pegs - CD weldingAs a grown-up who didn’t go to camp in the summers, this summer I found myself surprised to be looking at a list of “what to bring” to sculpture camp. My partner and I went to SNOWFARM, a New England craft program in Western MA. It is where grown-ups can go for a week of intensive craft learning and practicing. We went to learn Welding.

Many of you know about our penchant for rusty stuff and you have seen it perched and studded throughout our garden. Imagine stuffing a Subaru full of rusty junk and then putting your clothes in a separate car just to get out to the place. Two cars for two people. Our hoarding loot was met with oohs and ahhs from our other classmates, I will have you know.

Patti and I learned Stick and Mig welding techniques as well as bending, shaping, grinding and cutting metal. So what does a garden designer make, you wonder. Well, two 7’ tall sculptures using saw blades and gears, and a twirly concoction. I also made a skiing inch worm but that is not for prime time….

What I realized is that I love sculpture in the sense of gardens and objects being 3 dimensional. I want to see shapes and combine shapes in ways that are pleasing to the eye and to viewing from different perspectives. In its more basic form, garden designing is sculpting with different shaped objects.

Enjoy the photos.

8-26-14 welding seeing one8-26-14 saw and pegs - completed 3


One of the 'bibles' of landscaping.

One of the ‘bibles’ of landscaping.

Over the past 10 years outdoor trends have shifted from preening sprawling lawns to now providing habitats for wildlife, reducing turf, and using native plants in the gardens.  Christie Dustman & Company has been growing gardens for 16 years and has witnessed many trends, fads, and changes in common practices based on research. If we didn’t stay current, the cutting edge would leave us buried in the dirt!

Part of staying up to date and expanding our knowledge base is participation in continued education, gaining professional certifications, attending industry trade shows, and networking with other professionals. By taking a quick look at our ABOUT page, you can see what each of us brings to our team.  We are a diverse group of educated professionals.  But it is our relationships with our green industry colleagues that keeps us fresh and forward thinking.

Five of our team recently went to the 2014 Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association Summer Conference held on the turf fields of Savage Farms in Deerfield, MA.   Typically these events have vendor booths set up so that you can connect with plant suppliers/growers/product manufacturers and then hear a series of lectures from various professionals in the industry. This July though was a special event because the keynote speaker, Michael A. Dirr, a Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, is a LEGEND in the horticultural world.  Imagine hearing the guru of your profession.  Dr. Dirr has tremendous energy for teaching, writing, and growing plants. Normally just basking in a guru’s shadow can be satisfying – but one of our team, Jim Lynn, actually knows Dr. Dirr.  They had a wonderful handshake and hello, connecting again about plants and what’s on the cutting edge.

There is pride amongst our team knowing that as we connect and learn from these green industry power players, you, our clients benefit.  We look forward to continued education and networking so that you no longer have to imagine loving your garden, because you do love your garden!



Blog 5-28-14 small photoGardeners are inquisitive.  Let’s face it:  you walk down the street and see a sliver of a garden.  You want to go and see it.  You drive by a house and see a sliver of a garden.  You want to see it.  You are talking to your neighbor and see some interesting garden refuse in their “plant waste” barrel, and you want to see where it came from.  Can whatever it is be divided?

We are inquisitive, but with a purpose if we are honest.  Behind the smiles and oohs & ahhs, we want to know what you have, does it look better at your house and do we need to run out and buy one too?  Hopefully the last one so we can brag about it.

I may exaggerate here, but as a bonafide garden aficionado, I want to see gardens, and I MAY have some mildly competitive tendencies.  I want to get inspired, see plants in different arrangements and see how people use their space.  I want to see things that surprise and delight me.  And I want to compare.  Thankfully, I can be happy for others when I see their plant “x” outperforming my plant “x”.  Otherwise gardening would be a depressive activity.

So I muse on about this because The Garden Conservancy has arranged for 9 private gardens in the West Roxbury area to be on view on Sunday June 8th.   Often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a private creation, each garden is chosen for its merits; visitors decide which gardens they want to visit and in what order.  There is a $5 admission at each garden or $30 ticket at the host site, the Wakefield Estate in Milton.

Two Christie Dustman & Company, Inc. gardens will be featured on the tour:  the “Dustman-Ryan Garden”, and another I designed and maintain- the “Resplendent Spring Garden” in West Roxbury.

For the addresses of the nine open gardens in the West Roxbury area on June 8th, please find the list below.  We hope you will come by to see all of these special gardens.

Greater Boston Open Day

For more information as to how to visit these and many more beautiful gardens, please go to:

Winter Offerings by Julie Campbell, Design Associate

Would you like something fun [and garden-related] to do to carry you through the monochromatic and dormant days of winter? Why not expand your plant knowledge and continue to learn even while the leaves are off of the trees by taking a class, attending a seminar or joining a garden group?

Continue reading

The Food Project: Building Raised-Bed Gardens in Boston and Lynn

Build-a-Garden is a program designed to get more people to grow their own food in Boston and Lynn. The Food Project will build a raised bed garden and provide the support needed to grow food successfully. Raised beds have many benefits: they can be built on pavement or on top of contaminated soil; it is easy to learn how to grow food in them; and they can be planted intensively to produce lots of food in a small space.

Continue reading

More meetings on Asian Longhorned Beetles in Boston

Because of the wide range of tree species that may be affected by ALB, its potential presence here is a significant concern. Federal, state and local officials have made plans to further investigate the source and extent of the infestation, and have scheduled meetings to inform local residents and businesses about the effort.

Continue reading