Marti Neely, FAPLD

Marti Neely

Growing up in a military family, Marti was fortunate to travel to and live in some diverse locations, from North Dakota to Puerto Rico. In her earliest gardening memory, sunflowers were like Jacks’ beanstalks reaching into the clouds. Their huge heads revealed hundreds of tasty seeds to be devoured by flocks of birds. Her grandmother Elsa often sent photos of herself in front of the famous floral clocks that were prominent in the display gardens of the Pacific Northwest, where she lived. Photos of irises and peonies were some of her favorites to share, and those plants continue to bring a smile to Marti’s face each spring.

As a newlywed, Marti tried her own hand at gardening with varied success, and with continued practice and also through reading gardening books and periodicals, her skills improved. Her B.A. in fine art and a foray into designing the annual flower beds at her church led her to study horticulture and landscape design at her local community college. Marti is now a Fellow of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (FAPLD), has over 30 years of practice as a residential landscape designer with continuing education in professional courses through various organizations, and has traveled to gardens across the United States, England, and the Netherlands. She has had the opportunity to see the best of the best and experience the challenges, successes, and failures one finds in the world of gardening. Using this knowledge to create outdoor living spaces that enhance the quality of life of those who use them and sharing these skills with others is what Marti does best.

  • native viburnum
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    The Best Native Viburnums for the Northern Plains

    The great plantsman Michael Dirr once said, "A garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music and art.” Viburnums (Viburnum spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) are a large…

  • fragrant vines
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Hardy, Fragrant Vines for the Northern Plains

    When you need a tall plant but don’t have a lot of room, a vine is the perfect solution. And when vines have fragrant flowers, they check off yet another…

  • Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Plants for the Northern Plains to Add to Your Shopping List

    Whether you’re walking through your local garden center, flipping through the pages of your favorite catalog, or scrolling the website of an online retailer, the sheer number of plant choices…

  • A Lightweight Shovel with Extreme Endurance
    How-To

    A Lightweight Shovel With Extreme Endurance

    One of my favorite shovels is my long-handle round-point floral shovel from Ames. This tool has been with me for well over twenty years. It’s smaller than your standard shovel,…

  • plants in shades of red
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Designing a Garden With Sequential Color

    Every garden I design has a theme, even if it is just about color. A sequential color design is not created with the aim of one plant blooming after another,…

  • bright pink and white hydrangea
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    New Hydrangeas for the Northern Plains

    Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) have become one of my favorite shrubs when designing gardens for my clients. They come in many sizes and shapes and have various…

  • compact conifers
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Compact Conifers for the Northern Plains

    Gardens should appeal to the senses in every season. I find that one way to ensure winter interest is to plant evergreens. There are more evergreens available than one can…

  • canna rhizomes
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    How to Overwinter Tender Plants in the Northern Plains

    Winter weather can be challenging for gardeners in the Northern Plains. However, we are still able to use cold-sensitive plants in our gardens if we take the necessary steps to…

  • tree with pink samaras
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Underappreciated Trees for the Northern Plains

    If your garden needs a new small tree, you should look beyond the usual candidates and add something different that will diversify your landscape. Here are some of the most…

  • Yellowwood
    Northern Plains Regional Reports

    Plant in Fall for Spring Color in the Northern Plains, Part II: Trees and Shrubs

    When designing for spring color, one should look past the typical displays of flowering bulbs and think of what can be offered by our early-blooming shrubs and trees. When combined…