Diane Lampert is on a mission. She is determined to make knowledgeable gardeners out of all of us, whether our trowel is brand new or one that has weathered many a season. She wants us to quash the shop\/see\/buy impulse whenever we visit a garden center. Doing that usually ends up, Lampert said, in a rag-tag panoply of horticultural profiles on our properties, which she readily admits she once did. She encourages us to take up her mantra: Learn before you buy. A former successful economist on Wall Street, Lampert brings the analytical skills of her previous career to her precisely orchestrated grounds in Greenwich. On a tour of her gardens (she conducts several a year under her company's umbrella, Bringing the Greenback), Lampert told visitors what she had to contend with as a new owner of the two-acre site that only seven years ago was a vast field of weeds. Out went the vegetative marauders and in came whatever plant she saw in bloom at garden centers. A huge mistake. Her gardens lacked harmony in texture, leaf shape and color. Layering was a concept she had not thought of, but it is of prime importance in garden design, she said. "Like so many other homeowners, the plants I bought shared the same trait: They were currently in bloom. Over time this meant I spent more money on plants than I ever needed to and the gardens were either in complete bloom for a very short time or as boring as can be the rest of the time," Lampert said. To figure out what she did wrong, Lampert became a certified Master Gardener. Now she wants to share what she has learned with others and to do that, she turned her property into what she calls "a landscape showroom." "I want you," she told us, "not just to admire the landscape but to learn what works well together, in what sun or shade environment, in what would be the perfect soil for a garden." Tour day in mid-September was glorious, cool and brisk, with brilliant sunlight scribbling through the leaves of maple trees. Lampert's husband Spencer joined the visitors, some with cameras, all masked and properly shod to perambulate through the grounds. And what sophisticated grounds they are. The canvas spread before us was enough to quicken the pulse. There were shrubs and trees not usually seen at local nurseries, and in many cases, there were multiples of the same plant - one in part shade, for example, another in full sun - to assess how well it does in different circumstances. "A lot of what we do here," Lampert said, "is a combination of art and science. We need to see which plants look good together and how they perform in our neighborhood. With such variety on the grounds, visitors have the opportunity to figure out which color themes and garden styles they like." The excursion began immediately - at the flower beds at the entrance from the mailbox and then through the deer-deterrent iron gates up the winding driveway that meandered past huge deciduous trees that had been limbed up as high up as a cherry picker could go. These were kissed at their base by tall evergreens which in turn were flanked by low, compact evergreen shrubs. The gardens were tempered by whimsy: a bucket suspended over a well, an overturned milk can ("Spilled Milk"), bird houses and feeders, a small waterfall and lily pad pond, a bench resembling a golden butterfly, wagon wheels and a horseless-drawn carriage bigger than my Mini. We passed "Theodore Rooster Velt" and the moss-covered "Moodonna" cow topiary (lots of plants have been baptized with names), past beech and birch trees with interesting barks. Each specimen merited an explanation of why it was planted in a certain spot and what was noteworthy about the plant. We learned how to prune a witch hazel (back to a node), and how dramatic the "lemony lace" elderberry is as a focal point. She added that she puts Bio-tone (a plant booster) and compost in every new planting hole. "We want people to leave with a lot more knowledge than they had when they came here," Lampert explained. You begin, she said, by "understanding your style, for example, contemporary or traditional, and what works best for you. We want you to be inspired." What works particularly best for Lampert are plants that attract birds and butterflies. There is only one patch on a back lawn that sports an abundance of summer annuals, gaily colored zinnias, among them. The entire landscape is designed to be of interest all year long, even in winter under a white mantle of snow. Our tour ended at long, low stone steps crammed with pots of perennials and shrubs, some propagated by Lampert. She offered another tidbit of advice: Sometimes leave the plant you bought in the flower pot it came in, place it as is in the spot you want it to grow. See if you like it there before planting or move it to another area and repeat. "Interestingly, my true passion isn't necessarily gardening," Lampert said. "It's helping others learn about gardening. Most people have the desire to learn, but don't have access to educators in this field. I'm hoping to make a sustainable difference to all who visit here through Bringing the Greenback." Garden tours will resume in the spring, more information about the tours can be found at Lampert's site mygreenback.com. Rosemarie T. Anner is a frequent contributor to Sunday Arts & Style.