Philosophy

Leslie Bean

I’ve always had a deep love of the natural world and a keen interest in gardening, enriched by a childhood spent watching my grandmother work in her New Jersey flower and vegetable gardens. College studies in Art History and Fine Art trained my eye and horticultural work as a young adult trained my hands. After college, art gallery work gave way to a full-time career in horticulture. Since then I’ve worked in practically EVERY field of horticulture: plant nurseries, working alongside other landscapers and gardeners, crafting designs for florists, and much more. Learning how to grow and care for, as well as identify, endless plants ranging from annuals to trees provided the backbone of my horticultural knowledge and experience. For me, this feels even more valuable because it was hands-on from the start.

In 2004, shortly after moving to Bucks County PA, I launched my own gardening business Millefiori. A loyal clientele built very quickly through word-of-mouth, gaining popularity and a reputation for fine gardening and extreme attention-to-detail in all aspects of what we do.

In 2014 my business name changed to Dirty Girl Gardening, known particularly for meticulous horticulture, unique and artful container plantings, and specialty pruning including Japanese Maples and specimen trees. I believe plants should grow as naturally intended, which starts with choosing the right plant for the right location so that unnecessary and harmful pruning isn’t required. I prefer naturalistic landscapes that blend and incorporate the nearby natural landscape.

After 14 years in business (and over 25 years of work in the field of horticulture), I am interested, more than ever, in sharing my knowledge/skill of organic gardening practices, proper pruning techniques, unique container design… and all with an artistic bend.

We have been officially all-organic for many years now, as clients have realized that their properties are important components of the larger ecosystem. We use only natural mulches, such as leaf mulch as opposed to toxic dyed mulches. For all aspects of gardening where landscapers tend to use chemicals that are harmful to the environment, wildlife, our pets, and ourselves, we use organic alternatives. We are devoted to ecological conservation, and realize that we, as gardeners providing a service to the public, have a responsibility to do everything we can to be careful stewards of the environment.

For services that I do not offer, such as large-scale tree pruning, IPM/plant healthcare and lawn care, I stay closely connected with local companies offering organic services and can refer you to my network of trusted, responsible contractors.

The Dirty Girl Team

My team is essential to me. They are literally an extension of my own hands and mind. Each potential new employee goes through a crucial trial period to prove their work ethic, experience and gardening ability within a short time in order to be considered. Once hired, I provide intensive, continual hands-on training. Many of my employees have been gardening for years, and those who haven’t been schooled for horticulture have gained knowledge through their work experience.

Many a client has said that upon the crew showing up for a “regularly scheduled maintenance visit” they themselves couldn’t see exactly what needed to be done (besides the obvious weed pulling), but when we were done, they absolutely could tell that we had been there. THAT is successful maintenance. Other clients have described my crew and I as “a swarm of bees”, working as a team, moving through the beds as a group, handling one area and then the next until the job is done and everything is looking perfect.

I’ve been honored to have many of the same crew members for many years. The crew has a true love of horticulture, of nature, and enjoy hard work. They love what they do, find it rewarding and wouldn’t want any other profession.

“Making a garden is not a task or an action whose goal is the creation of a garden. It’s a condition, a form of being.” — Umberto Pasti

“For all its imagined bliss, the life of a professional gardener can be hard, stressful and anything but lucrative. It is a world of insect bites, near-heatstroke and the steady degeneration of the spinal column. People are driven to do it because they know that, on their best days, they can take their beloved, coddled plants and turn them into art.” — Adrian Higgins, Gardening Columnist

© 2019 Dirty Girl Gardening.

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