CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jerry Fritz is a successful landscape designer, garden center owner and speaker. What caught my ear was the fact that he not only has been on "The Martha Stewart Show," he's visited with her at her home and they are, yes, friends!
He spoke recently to the West Virginia Nursery and Landscapers Association conference, and he's quite a character.
Fritz started his chat (it was so down-to-earth, the title "lecture" just doesn't apply) talking about meatballs. Not the type on your plate, but the type in the landscape. He showed a slide of a front yard in Pennsylvania where a gentleman had worked tirelessly to create perfectly round shrubs, taking particular care to make sure they were all exactly the same, and not touching. The landscapers in Jerry's audience sighed a collective sigh at the sight -- static, contrived and just downright ugly.
But Fritz then used his gardening, landscape and retail experience to help the landscape group find ways to get homeowners away from these types of yards and into more interesting, natural and, importantly, beautiful landscapes.
Fritz is a graduate of Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture in Doylestown, Pa., and 2011 marked his 22nd anniversary as the proprietor of Jerry Fritz Garden Design Inc. and the 11th year in the development of Linden Hill Gardens, his retail nursery and destination garden in Ottsville, Pa.
He's written books and magazine articles and is a popular speaker on the garden lecture circuit. Co-written by Nancy Ondra, Fritz's "Lessons from Linden Hill: Design Tips and Planning Pointers" is a great source for all gardeners.
The delightful Fritz said most of his clients' first three questions are, "How much will it cost?" "When can you start?" and "When will you be done?"
He likes working with clients without using a lot of technical drawings.
"People have trouble reading the bird's-eye-view drawings," Fritz said. "I like to walk them through my display garden. The husband says, 'I don't like this. I like that.' The wife says, 'I like this. I don't like that.' I play horticultural psychiatrist."
He talked about the "farmistas" -- women 28 to 32 years old.