Giottini: Landscaping With Artful Sensibility

(Photo by Ryan Morrill)

Pam Giottini is the kind of woman who gets her hands dirty, who throws “Golden Sword Yucca” and “Hollywood Wacholder” and “Vitex / Keuschenbaum” into casual conversations and doesn’t crush any words.

“Being an entrepreneur: it’s not fun. People say and do things to a woman that they would never do to a man. “Fortunately, over the decades she has learned not to let anyone take advantage of her.

Giottini saved a little time to chat in the middle of a major project – a total “landscaped gut” in John and Stephanie Lutz’s beach house – that is making them exciting in the transformation.

“I look up (the Lutz property) and it’s a work of art. I’m thinking about how it turns out, ”she said.

Giottini started her business, Giottini Landscaping, in 1999, but her résumé goes back much further. When she was working on projects in Newark with her brother, she designed apartment buildings along the stockade and planted fountains. Suffice it to say that her experience has given her a broad and eclectic skill from which to draw the inspiration and expertise that she brings to any job.

(Photo by Ryan Morrill)

“This is a gift from God. I am gifted for what I do. “

Her grandparents came from Italy. She grew up learning to care for fruit trees and tending kitchen gardens. Then her parents had their beach house on 86th Street in Harvey Cedars, where she learned about the climate, weather conditions, the shape of the beach and the quirks of nature.

In 2005 she completed the Rutgers Master Gardener program offered at the Cooperative Expansion Office, which was where Target is now, where they had “the best of the best.” She learned from tree and shrub expert Richard Buckley; She learned about integrated pest management. She discovered that black flies are attracted to the color royal blue. She finished second in her class.

“It’s’ live and learn,” “she said. “This is my calling. I’m working on the honor. “

She is sensitive to the needs of plants. Just like in humans, stress can make plants sick. She is well versed in abiotic disorders such as: B. Drought stress, suntan, frost / wind / chemical injuries and lack of nutrients.

“I know how to create a microclimate,” explained Giottini. “I study the properties (that I’m working on) to see what certain winds do. That’s what makes me so successful. “One particular claim to fame is a southern magnolia in the dunes of Beach Haven – it survives thanks to the Nelly Stevens holly it planted as a wind block.

When she designs a project or, as she calls it, turns a garden into a “feast for the eyes”, she trusts her instincts and her artful eye.

“I am confident in my decision-making,” she said. “I get a feeling for something, I don’t make a cookie cutter.” She is also a perfectionist, so every detail is important.

(Photo by Ryan Morrill)

At work at Lutz, everything has been replanted, with the exception of a few existing trees from 25 years ago. With the help of Greenwood Tree Service, she was able to manually relocate a mature tree by digging and drumming the root ball (a lost art, according to Giottini). “Tears came to my eyes,” she said.

As a small independent company, partnerships are important, she noted. “I will be family for my customers,” she said. She also has a special relationship with SMP Farms Kindergarten in Williamstown.

“I’m not just here to make the money,” said Giottini. “This is my passion.”

In addition, she thinks about the immediate future beyond how the farm can be maintained and allowed to thrive. When an owner doesn’t plan on signing up for routine maintenance, she teaches them pruning. “I give people landscapes to control,” she said.

One of their specialties, but by no means their only one, is easy-care landscaping with a xeriscaping approach (from the Greek xeros means dry) – a practice or philosophy that is beneficial for both the plants and the environment as a whole as a cost-saving measure for the Owner. “It’s not a desert style garden. It’s a misunderstanding, ”explained Giottini. Instead, think of water conservation through creative landscaping. By choosing the right plants and hardscaping materials, it means reducing water usage, but not that you are anhydrous. Say “dry” and many homeowners imagine cacti, yucca, and agave. However, xeriscaping plants can include classic drought tolerant succulents, prairie plants, ornamental grasses, and cottage garden plants.

(Photo provided)

The climate on LBI wouldn’t allow full water protection anyway, she added, and plants take at least three years to develop a good root system.

A rain garden setup is a helpful way to maximize rainwater with gutters and directional outlets, native plants with deep roots, and a berm in the garden to hold back water after heavy rainfall.

A very helpful Barnegat Bay watershed low maintenance landscaping guide can also be downloaded from Ocean County’s Rutgers Cooperative Extension. – VF

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