Kate strives to create gardens that are adapted to and express and are appropriate to the locality; the spirit, as well as climate, soils and biodiversity that lives in each area. She believes that each garden should have a goal of giving to the environment through compositions of flower filled spaces, shrubs, trees for shade and development of healthy soils- that together provide habitat for insects and birds and are vital, vibrant spaces that express joy to the viewer.
Her gardens aim to be experiential and participatory; to leave a lasting impression about the specifics of place through smell of flowers and resinous foliage, taste of herbs or fruits, the interaction of foliage with sky, and a profusion of flowers filled with the busy forms of insects and birds. Habitat gardens are one of her specialties.
In addition to naturalistic, ecological garden design, Kate also consults and works with businesses and estates to develop or renovate existing landscapes to sustainable practices and greater efficiency- besides enhanced appeal to visitors. Management is a focus: Kate has helped businesses and gardens on large and small properties greatly reduce their budgets and staffing needs by introducing many aspects of efficiency and horticultural practices designed to increase soil and plant health and reduce maintenance time. She enjoys educating employees on all aspects of horticulture.
Some of the aspects of horticulture Kate has extensive experience in are: soil development and health, plant health and productivity, propagation, pruning, irrigation and plant selection and maintenance. Specific types of gardens/landscapes Kate has worked with are: creek and woodland restoration, native gardens, bedding plants, perennial/annual borders, drought resistant gardens, woodland gardens, cottage gardens, low maintenance gardens, vegetable gardens, ornamental edibles, production agriculture and lots more….
Master builder and craftsman, problem-solver, and motivator, Ben Frey works with his wife, Kate on all of the show gardens and overseas projects managing the work teams and doing all the construction, hard landscaping and irrigation, besides designing and building artwork to embellish each project. He participates in designing spaces that are practical to accomplish and comfortable for people to be in, often using materials at hand for his artistic efforts. Consequently, his work is a reflection of each place, rather than having a standardized approach.
Ben works with wood, stone, metal and cast-off items to create elements and objects appropriate to each space. His background in construction and project management enable him to work quickly and deliberately at each site. Growing up on a family organic vineyard and winery has given him extensive experience with farm equipment and many aspects of growing crops.
Together, Ben and Kate make a great team, their talents and experience enhancing and complementing each other.