Welcome to Kate Frey ecologically-friendly, profuse, productive, and floriferous gardens. Kate Frey is a world-class garden designer and consultant, specializing in sustainable, bio-diverse, ecological gardens and landscaping. Kate won the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London, receiving gold medals in 2005, 2007, and receiving a Silver Gilt in 2003. Kate met Queen Elizabeth in ’03 and ’07 at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2009 she was invited to participate in the World Garden Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan, and in 2011 she and Ben went to Malaysia to participate in Floria, a flower show in Putrajaya. Kate directed and taught at Sonoma State University’s Sustainable Landscape Program with Extended Education for six-years, as well as consulting for noted and highly recognized wineries and residences around California, such as The Melissa Garden in Healdsburg and Lyn Mar Winery in Sebastopol. For two years she and her husband Ben worked for a Prince in Saudi Arabia on his small organic farm near Riyadh. Kate currently works as a consultant, designer, educator, and writer. She writes two columns for the Press Democrat Newspaper, and her book, The Bee-friendly Garden, co-written with professor Gretchen LeBuhn, was published in February 2016. In 2017 their book won The American Horticultural Society’s Best Gardening Book of 2017 book award.
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 enables 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.