Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Plant Indication of Heat & Humidity

Even under normal conditions, grapevine is considered a garden thug...

Good Timing

Photographing mature gardens is always serendipitious: on the days when I am free to photograph, the weather doesn't always accommodate. This is particularly true of snow while it is still fresh & clean. Light is the other big challenge and of course, rain. Not to mention street cleaning, construction and block parties. I lucked out yesterday while driving back from a current client's installation in Evanston, when I swung past a client's garden that we had installed a few years ago. Not only was it cloudy, but at the end of the day as well, so the light was soft & at a good angle.
Most people know that blooms are often the last thing I contemplate in design (after form, foliage, texture, seasonal interest, movement, frangrance etc.), but here I was pleasantly surprised by the bloom on the native coralbell (Heuchera villosa macrorrhiza). Below, you can see its creamy, bottlebrushy plumes waving around bemusedly.
I also want to point out another plant that delighted me in its seasonal combination: the Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia caespitosa 'Goldtau'). It is a pretty tough grass that takes less than full sun. Its simple, elegant foliage contrasts effectively with the many other larger & rougher leaved plants in this garden.
This spring, these clients had such a busy life that they asked me to plant the windowbox that they usually do so well themselves. I had fun playing with foliage to compliment the home & garden and was pleased by the lushness of the annuals after our summer of heat & humidity. Hopefully, in this space, you will appreciate the subtle play of those many traits I hope to create in a garden to engage the people living nearby.

Friday, August 26, 2011

You mean: I get to do this for work?

After a long summer of heat and humidity, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather to tag some plants for upcoming jobs at our primary wholesale tree & shrub nursery. How fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rick of the Green Thumb

I arrived home yesterday to find my amazing plants neighbor, Rick del Vesco, watering his Staghorn fern on the north-facing stairs of our back entry. Aside from helping customers at the great local nursery, Anton's Greenhouses, Rick adds delight to our condo. And I get sanity from him when I am going nuts with our condo's increasing misunderstanding and poorly-directed actions (or inaction) regarding landscape. But that's another story...

Due to challenging lighting conditions, I couldn't get a good shot of his porch. But if you look closely, you can see the hanging Rosemary Rick has overwintered for 5 years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Graceland Cemetery Tour

Whenever guests visit Chicago, I take them to three places: 1.) Oak Park to see the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio plus walking tour of Wright's creations; 2.) Millennium Park to see the fun and the Lurie Garden (designed by K. Gustafson & P. Oudolf & R. Israel; and 3.) Graceland Cemetery to experience the landscape work of the great landscape designer, O.C. Simonds and to learn Chicago history through the graves.
Last Friday I led a tour of Green Corps staff around the grounds. I could rhapsodize endlessly, but instead will just encourage you to go yourself...
Above: tree-like gravestone. Below: tree damage from recent storms. Below below: some of the Green Corps staff explores the island in Willowmere Pond where Daniel Burnham is buried.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Road: Ohio (#1)

Back home from Ohio road trip a while...swamped with design (luckily). No time yet to document the great cultural things we saw. So will start with these images made on my iPhone with super fun App: "Hipstamatic."