The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program – June 23:
On Sunday, June 23rd, make plans to become inspired by five private gardens in Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Winnetka, opening to the public to benefit the Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit whose mission is to preserve exceptional American gardens across the country. Admission is $5 per garden and children 12 & under are free. No reservations needed, tours are self-guided, and are rain or shine. Visit www.opendaysprogram.org or call toll-free weekdays, 888-842-2442.
The two Lake Forest gardens are NOT TO BE MISSED. Incredible: one of them has a grape arbor said to date back to Frederick Law Olmsted. Visitors will see modern and classical sculpture within the landscapes, classical garden arches creating a passage through a parterre, enclosed garden rooms, a topiary garden, views of Lake Michigan, a garden designed by Rosemary Verey, colored waves of native plants, and the ancient precision of labyrinth geometry.
Additional area Open Days will take place on July 21 in Elburn and West Chicago; and July 28th in Lake Forest and Mettawa – mark your calendars!
Congratulations to landscape architect Darrel Morrison, a friend to many designers here in Chicago who have known him since he taught at the University of WI Madison, for a wonderful article about his new native-to-NY-area garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden [BBG]. Read the article here:
Darrel was starting this garden when I had the opportunity to visit our daughter, Danielle, in Manhattan in 2011. Darrel and I went to dinner and he told me about the fun of going with BBG Curator Uli Lorimer to discover rare plants at the pine barrens in New Jersey, for example. Taking seed from these plants and then assuring their success in Brooklyn meant engineering duplicate soils [isn't that amazing?], a story broadly told in the article. Read more
TWG [The Weedpatch Gazette] subscriber Adrienne Fawcett, who nobly publishes news of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff on her blog, Gazebo News, wrote to ask how to control Japanese Beetles on her Knock Out Roses, which are claimed to resist Jap Beetles. So much for truth in advertising…
My shoot-from-the-hip answer is, “From your lips, Adrienne, to God’s ears. Ain’t no control except doing what Mom did (so gross, but I do it too). Pick ‘em off and throw them in a can of gasoline”. Or, Adrienne, I can suggest this: we once owned a wonderful little chicken named Henrietta, and that bird loved loved loved Japanese Beetles. Sweet lil thing would follow me around, so eager for me to shake the roses. Alas, Henrietta has passed on. She did live a good long life, but could it have been longer if she did not overconsume? No matter, this is what Henrietta and I would say, “eat and be happy”. Also, Adrienne, get yourself some beetle-lovin’ chickens. Read more
Hi from Rommy & her Webmaster - Just a short note from someone who knows the web, but is new to figuring out RSS-driven-blog-subscription! To all of you new subscribers, please don’t give up on us yet; I think we have it figured out. The next email you receive should be correct, and you will see Rommy’s latest post in your inbox. Also, you will receive it ONE time, and not multiple times. Thank you for your patience, and thanks for subscribing!
Can you believe it’s June 1st already?! Sorry to have been out of touch…planting season…our farmhouse gardens to be photographed for Country Gardens Magazine
Country Gardens magazine’s photographer shooting June garden
…family…volunteerism…Leah’s college graduation…technical issues with this website…such a busy time of the year. Even the local wildlife is busy. When I drove into our driveway today, there were six (!) chipmunks running around like nut cases on the asphalt. They were glutinous, eating the seeds of maples, a phenom I had never seen before. BTW, we are assured that those little seed nuggets are entirely edible, tasting like peas. You first.
Gardening world good news: tulips, redbuds, and big lilacs are done, but smaller (Syringa meyeri Palibin, Miss Kim, and ‘Boomerang’) lilacs are blooming with the azaleas. Huge amounts of foliage clothe all the shrubs and trees this year–even a lot of the ash trees aren’t as dead as I expected them to be. Wild geraniums, iris, wild phlox, hawthorns, variegated Solomon’s Seal, shooting stars, tree peonies, primroses and dogwoods are glorious. Fringe tree [Chionanthus virginicus] is about to “feather”. Did I mention the foliage and growth of the Beech trees–amazing! The bad news is that my (formerly) incredibly shaped Seven Sons Flower tree (Heptacodium miconoides–I love saying the name of this amazing tree which you must put in your garden) took a big hit from the winter wind (I think) and I had to chop it all to hell. Also, a big Redbud, a fragrant Viburnum carlesii, and a Juniper s. ‘Skyrocket’ died from drowning.
Did I mention the elegance of my all-time favorite shrub: Viburnum plicatum? Read more
Three weekends ago I planted 15 potatoes in our vegetable garden. I bought the seed potatoes at Paquesi’s Garden Center, and was drawn to these packages because they carried the “certified organic” label of the USDA. Never one to trust, I discovered that they are packed by Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. Here’s how I think: Irish? Potatoes? Starvation?
If you are strapped for space, experiment with growing potatoes in a container: http://info.irisheyesgardenseeds.com/index.php/grow-100-lb-of-potatoes-4sqft. This looks like a lot of work to me, but hey, it also promises to yield a bumper crop of spuds. And you could use the extra cash, right?
By the way, the varieties I planted are: Purple Majesty (purple fingerlings for soups and salads); Sangre Red (round, hot pink, good for roasting); and Yellow Finn (sweet buttery taste). Some “new potatoes” (yum!) should be ready in our garden by August, but by letting the vines die and not watering much, I read that harvests are more plentiful, later. I must also remember to hill them up every two weeks (OMG: I have to do this immediately–the plants are already “plants”!) and water the foliage with seawood fertilizer (I added cottonseed meal to the soil when planting). Go organic! Go Irish! Don’t starve! ## Read more
This morning’s simpering heat, combined with a brief uptick in the wind and quickly clouding dark skies, made it easy to think about the tornadoes that ripped across Oklahoma and Kansas yesterday. Sadly, more tornadoes, hail storms, and slow-moving thunderstorms (ie a lot of rain in one place), including some aimed near Joplin, Missouri and north to Minnesota, may occur today (Monday). Remember that the Chicago region [link to map] is already in a Federal Disaster Zone because of the devastating rain storms of April 18th, just a month ago. Lots of Chicagoans are still mopping up and cleaning out, unfortunately. [Here's a link about how you can help and/or donate to Chicago flood clean-up efforts by the American Red Cross.]
Profuse blossoms on 2013 fruit trees
There’s good news and bad news about the amazingly full blossoms you are noticing this year on crabapple trees and other fruit trees. Read more
Oh, here’s another great event for you to attend. This is WONDERFUL because of the sponsors, Rich & Susan Eyre, who have a personal goal (already partially realized because of YOU gardeners!) of building 100 new hospitals in Bolivia. Buy hosta, build hospitals. Can’t improve on that idea! [BTW, if you have a personal charity that is in any way related to gardening or conservation, please tell me so all our readers can learn about it and help you achieve your dream! This website is about gardening and conservation, true, but it’s really about supporting each other’s passions.).
Hosta Sale and Fundraiser
Saturday June 8, 2013 9am-4pm
Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
11618 McConnell Road Woodstock IL 60098
All proceeds benefit Heifer International and Mano a Mano International Partners. Cash or check only! Read more
Having grown up in Weston, Connecticut, there are a few East Coast preferences that I will never shake. One is the New York Times. I read it assiduously. So from time to time I’ll post some news and/or links that gardeners, conservationists, environmentalists (yes there is a diff between conservationists and environmentalists), land use planners, and whoever else is reading this blog might be interested in. And please, comment or write a follow up article…this blog is not supposed to be just the Queen Bee sounding off. It is here to exchange information, questions, and great commentary (emphasis on “great”).
Here are some snippets:
- Sally Jewell is the new 51st Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Who, you ask? Sally Jewell, 57 (young!) former CEO of REI, an outfitting store that is hard not to like. Jewell has no political experience, but she is a mountain climber so that bodes well for running an agency in Washington DC with 70,000 (!) employees, an $11B budget, and stewardship of 20% of the land in the U.S.. Why are you, a mere backyard gardener or landscape professional, interested in Interior? Because the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2012 designated the country’s newest National Wildlife Refuge, called “Hackmatack”, in McHenry County and overlapping towards Lake Geneva, WI.. You are also interested because Interior administers the Endangered Species Act (thanks to Tricky Dick Nixon, 1973). Also, Interior regulates the private leasing of our national lands for oil wells and the like (pipelines). And it sells Duck Stamps (thanks to Herbert Hoover, 1929) to duck hunters, which raised $700 million for wetland conservation in 2013. Interior makes a difference in each of our lives.
- Columbus, Indiana, is an “unlikely trove of midcentury modernism”. Oh, how I want to make a road trip here and see not only 70 examples of great architecture, but great landscape architecture. For example, you can tour the 1957 house designed by Eero Saarinaan and Kevin Roche [oooh, a fuchsia conversation pit!] but the gardens designed by landscape architect Dan Kiley. Alas, the Monet water lilies that was in this house was sold in 2008 for $40 million. Did any of you happen to purchase it?
- A future post will cover the gardening impact of 400 ppm CO2 levels. We know we must plant trees and more trees, but should we be burying the dead ones instead of chipping, burning, or letting them lie on the ground to disintegrate? The latter options are ways to accelerate the release of more carbon. What do you think?
Anywho, this NYTimes article explains that average worldwide warming has now been proved to be 5 degrees, warmer over land (such as Chicago) and even higher at the Poles (15 degrees). Actually, a 2008 article about weeds loving CO2 (REQUIRED READING!) says that the average city condition NOW compared to the suburban temperature is exactly what is predicted worldwide…. This is what I know. There is no question that Santa is shaving his beard cause he’s too hot: the NYTimes reports that in 2010, only four ships carrying 110,000 tons of cargo made the northern passage between Asia and Europe. In 2012, 46 did, carrying 1.3 million tons. Less ice? Scary.##