By Jill Nagy
“Landscaping can be both beautiful and good for the environment,” said Jesse Peters, a landscape designer and builder whose business, Jessecology, specializes in sustainable design using native plants raised in her own gardens and greenhouse in Ballston Spa.
“We focus on sustainability and habitat restoration,” she explained.
Peters, a Skidmore College graduate, has been doing landscaping for 15 years. She has seen an uptick in business with the pandemic and has a waiting list for the company’s services. She believes that people who are spending more time at home want to make their surroundings more beautiful and relaxing. “They love the chemical-free option,” she added.
She has seen a growing demand for rain gardens, a fairly new approach to storm water management. A rain garden is planted with plants that don’t mind getting wet. They hold on to storm water and allow it to slowly seep into the ground instead of running off.
“It’s one of our favorite types projects to work on,” she said.
In addition to the perennial flowers and bushes from her greenhouses and nursery, Peters can now include large trees in her projects thanks to an affiliation with Eric Parisi and Don-Mar Landscaping and Greenhouses in Ballston Lake.
Parisi has been a landscaper for 30 years and his family has been in the business for 60 years. He has a tree nursery, but also buys native trees on the wholesale market. Trees include birches, hemlocks, maples and oaks.
Planting a big tree is one of the best things a person can do for the environment, Peters said, noting that a single white oak can support 256 species of butterflies. A 15-20 foot tree, which would be five to 10 years old, can add $900 to $1,000 to the landscaping bill.
While a more formal business arrangement may be in their future, for now, Parisi and Peters are “sharing services,” she said.
Peters also has two employees whom she refers to as design apprentices.
Most of the work Peters does is at people’s homes. She also does some landscaping on school campuses, parks, and other public spaces.
“We love public work,” she said. She sees a trend toward less lawn and more trees, bushes and perennials. She aims to plant “what is beautiful and good for the environment.”
A favorite plant of hers is mountain mint, a native perennial that flowers for several months. She also raises seven to nine different asters. Occasionally, she will also plant vegetable gardens, but she said she prefers to specialize in flowers.Jessecology also does a limited amount of “hardscaping,” the pathways and patios that are often part of a garden landscape, “but we prefer the plants.”
Beginning this fall, the company will also sell its native plant seeds on a wholesale basis to architects, engineers, and others. She thinks she will be the only local source for native plant seeds.
“Everything will be grown right in our gardens,” she said. There are no immediate plans for retail sales to the general public but, she said, that is a possibility for the future.
Jessecology does not have a retail store. She attends some festivals and plant shows and “would love to do retail in the future.”
Client intake is via the company’s website, jessecology.com. The telephone number is 518 -932-1991