Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Virtue of Flat Terrain: Cloud View

Looking West past Buckingham Fountain.

Looking up near Western & Foster.

Looking East towards Lake Michigan on Roosevelt Road.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SSG: Celebrating Our Tax-Exemption!

Even though we are polar opposites of Tea Party groups, Sustainable Sharing with Guatemala (SSG) still waited a long time (15 months!) to receive our Tax Exemption from the Cincinnati office of the IRS. It will be nice to remove the "pending" from our 501 (c) (3) tagline on our website! So now we are a "public charity" and the real work of educating people about our Guatemala/Chicago non-profit and the amazing people it serves can begin in earnest. And now we  can fund-raise to make things happen. If you haven't seen our website, please visit us on-line. You can read about the Guatemalan non-profit (AFOPADI) we currently assist here. If you don't read Spanish, it's very easy to click on the picture pages and get a sense of the people, the places and the projects.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Northwind Perennial Farm Talk: 7.20.13

I was shocked to realize my last visit to Northwind Perennial Farm was in September 2010. If all nurseries were as outstanding as this, not just in plants, but in the educational and engaging way they grow and present the whole place, we would all be better, happier gardeners.

Since July 20 (this Saturday at 10:30 am) is the only date I am able to speak (hot summer, although hopefully our heat wave will break the day before), I chose to focus on their non-plant  offerings. I am such a snob about garden objects that I love Northwind for being one of the few establishments that always tempts me with their superb selection.

Things are displayed so artfully that it will be a pleasure demonstrating Design Concepts on the ground...also, I knew I would be so busy this year: I needed a topic that did not require a PowerPoint.

So, if you can't join us on Saturday to hear and see my take on how to "Accessorize Your Garden," please make a trip to this valuable institution another time. And support it by buying something!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Process#3: Sustain Nature...Plant Some Natives

This native shrub we recently planted at a client's is Cephalanthus occidentalis or Buttonbush. Can anybody ID our winged friend?
The question of what is Native and whether or not to use all or some is complicated. So, I generally try to get in as many as I can, starting with some trees that will attract a good number of desired insects. For details check Douglas Tallamy's BRINGING NATURE HOME: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (Timber Press).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Process #2: Placing Perennials

I confess that I have never found any adequate formula for computing the number of perennials to order for a site. Large, non-custom companies unlike ours, usually place perennials 18" on center. This will not do for me because perennials range greatly in size; one may ultimately require 5' and another 1'. So it was with great delight last week, on a huge job (above shows about 1/5 of the site), that I found I had ordered the perfect amount of perennials. This process I call "Plant Voodoo." Why? Because it is the result of doing things very systematically and then adjusting the numbers very intuitively. My husband says it works because of my many years of experience, but (after talking to some colleagues who have encountered the same struggle to get amounts right), I think it was Grace.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Process #1: Placing Plants from the Inside Out

Make sure you look from client's viewpoint inside to place important plants outside. Here it was the trees, but I was pleasantly surprised that these chartreuse Hosta read so well from above.