Welcome graphic

Agave neomexicana blooming spring 2004
Agave planted July 2003

My gardening services and many photographs of my experimental exotic garden in Silver Spring, MD


In my garden I have the goal of intimately mixing cold hardy xerophytes and water loving ornamentals by controlling the edaphic environments of the plants. I have an extremely wide range of ornamentals under cultivation as a result of this eclectic theme. The website was inadvertently named by my next door neighbor, Dave. He has a wicked sense of humor, and, as I began to construct the garden 10 years ago by chopping down the two big maples in front of the house and planting many cacti and large yucca, he just stared at the project and said "It looks like Tucson East". I instantly fell in love with the moniker and thus the name of the site.Launch of The Abstract Gardener Starting about 20 years ago I finally began the long task of learning proper structured computer programming by working on cutting edge computer imaging problems with my brother Gene, a talented traditional oil and water color painter and computer graphics artist. It was a Godsend for my science, though I was unable to solve the very difficult image manipulation problems my brother posed over the course of nearly a decade. Despite the fact that I was fascinated with the manipulation of images at the pixel level using mathematics, I “put it to bed” for nearly I decade. Recently though, my longstanding desire to write my own image manipulation software and use it to make art bubbled up from my subconscious. In a burst of  creative computer programming I created a large powerful graphiocs engine to produce my own distinctive brand of Abstract Art. Much of my work utilizes pictures of flowers from my garden as featured on this site. You can see a large number of my pieces (for sale as fine art-contact me if you are interested) at my website: www.theabstractgardener.com. Enjoy!!!                          


As of September, 2011, I am soliciting landscape design business. As you peruse my site note my extensive experience with plants "outside the box". Also note that I grew up in the landscape nursery industry. My parents owned the outstanding landscaping and nursery business in central New Jersey in the 60's and 70's and I spent four years landscaping with the family business between graduate schools in that period. Later I was the landscaper for Potomac Garden Center in Potomac Maryland from 1977-79 and still later I had my own landscaping business, The Intense Gardener from 1986-1991. The landscape designs I created and executed through my own business included several very large gardens in Potomac, MD. In the present reincarnation I will not be installing landscaping, but designing it. If you are a lover of exotic plants and you want expert creation of a really original landscape, including landscapes that are both elegant and easy to maintain, then I can provide you with the inspiration you seek. I am based in the Washington-Baltimore region, but I would entertain major projects further afield. Send me an Email at the address listed at the bottom of the page if you wish to discuss pursuing a landscape design project with me.


Because of my nearly 50 years of involvement with ornamental horticulture including years as a molecular level plant cold hardiness researcher, I bring a unique set of rhetorical skills to my gardening lectures. I generally talk about plants I believe are overlooked in the Northeast. But my style is an interactive anecdotal, design, and plant science filled ramble like a tour of some virtual botanic garden. Since I can talk for many hours about my whole suite of interesting plants , I usually ask my hosts whether they want an emphasis on trees, shrubs and vines or herbaceous plants. I can also mix it up with samples from each category. I feel that an audience should come away from my talks not only intrigued by unfamiliar plants but inspired to try new design directions, more sensitive to the often overlooked ecology of gardening and more cognizant of how to help plants cope with environmental stress. Please contact me by my email below if you wish to explore my giving your garden club or organization a presentation.


You can Email me at allenhir@earthlink.net
I am a top landscape designer in the Silver Spring, Maryland Landscape Designers guide on GardenScout.com.