Each summer, Belmont Patch features a series that profiles gardens and their creators in the community.
Owning a garden center and a landscape business has certainly helped Mark Saidnawey with the creation and maintenance of his own bucolic site outside his home on Grove Street
“I spend seven days a week caring for thousands of plants,” said the long-time Belmont resident. “And I have an eye for what will look right in a garden.”
The co-owner with this brother, Tom, of Pemberton Farm and Garden Center in Cambridge and its two-year-old landscaping design company, Saidnawey spends his entire life around plants: selecting healthy ones to sell each year, keeping them vibrant until they are purchased, staying current on what threats the vicissitudes of weather and garden pests may pose each year and disseminating advice through articles he writes for gardening sites and a television series where he is the expert guest for CBS Boston.
Immersed in flora 24 and 7
Despite his busy schedule, Mark still finds time for tending to his own garden. He describes it as a deceptively simple border garden with a large lawn that leaves plenty of space for play and recreation.
When he bought the house on Grove Street in 2002, Mark’s goal for the garden was easy maintenance and having most of its color during the summer and fall when he has a bit more time for leisure.
It’s primarily a shade garden with herbaceous perennials sitting alongside unique species of woody plants including Japanese maples, weeping hemlock and umbrella pine. Mark has maximized vertical opportunities in borders with clematis, roses and climbing hydrangea.
When he learned his would be part of the Belmont Garden Club tour earlier this summer in addition to serving as the hospitality tent and the site of a series of gardening and floral demonstrations, Mark was inspired to add an additional bed of summer- and fall-blooming plants on the western side of his house.
“When I picked what to put there, I kept in mind having color in July, August and September,” he said.
To that end, for the summer he has Shasta daisies, Echinacea, black-eyed Susans and moonbeam coreopsis. For the fall, the new bed has sedum autumn joy, fall-blooming anemone and asters as well as caryopteris white surprise.
There’s also a fountain nestled among the flowers that Mark selected with an eye toward having it blend in with the fence.
Table for two now
Mark tended his garden by himself from the time he moved into the house nine years ago until fairly recently. Last fall, he married Karla Wildman Saidnawey who is now a part of the gardening decisions and maintenance.
Although Karla is not a professional gardener like her husband, Mark said her father owned a landscaping company in Ashland and she always gardened with her family.
So he found space on the Grove Street property for his wife to tend her own vegetable and herb garden.
“Being in the business with a garden center (and its accompanying gourmet shop), I never needed a vegetable garden before,” Mark said. “But Karla always had one so we now have peppers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers, as well as herbs, growing in our yard.”
And Karla helps Mark with necessary garden tasks, particularly by watering their lawn every other day.
That’s only one part of keeping the lawn healthy, however, and Mark fills in by putting down fertilizer – all-natural corn gluten meal – right around the time forsythia bloom in April. Throughout the season, he continues fertilizing the grass with organic lawn food and aerates the soil in the fall.
“Watering is key,” Mark advises. “You really have to do it every other day.”
Having the nice open space that a lawn provides is very calming, he said.
“And I prefer to have a large lawn in the backyard where I can toss a ball around,” he said.
If you tend a bucolic space -- whether with flowers, shrubs, vegetables, aquatic plants -- or know someone else who does, please contact us in the comment section and tell us a bit more about the garden so we can more fully describe its glory.