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Darn Those Landscape Architects!

If I heard it once, I heard it a million times: “The final landscape plan shall strive to be a model for the community with a focus on removal of invasive species and planting of indigenous species”.

And then something like this follows: “Species Palette: Birch, Eastern Red Cedar…” NOT indigenous (birch) except maybe to a ravine, and thisclose to invasive (cedar).

Or I read, “Our plant palette includes coneflowers, black eyed susans, sky blue asters, and prairie dropseed”, as if they were the only plants in a woods, a wetland, or a prairie. Could we at least hear that you are planting a milkweed for the Monarch butterflies?

AAAAAGHHHHH. Can you landscape architects get it right, please? Do you ever crack a book on ecology or take a botany seminar?

Landscape architects and municipal foresters who let landscape architects get away with nonsense should know better and do WAY better. And they should stop planting crap in our ecosystems. Especially when saying that they are “models” of ecologic design.

Between Forest Park, Northwestern Hospital, and Whole Foods–all in Lake Forest–I can’t even fathom what might be happening in the larger region. Help us all to call their bluff: the Emperor has no clothes.##

Garfield Park Conservatory and Mothers Trust Foundation: Congratulations

Garfield Park Conservatory, located on the far west side of Chicago not too far from Oak Park, is one of my favorite places. I love love love the fern room there–it’s a wonderful respite from the “concrete jungle”:

“Designed by Hitchings and Company, with the brilliant assistance of Jens Jensen, the Conservatory was completed in 1907. It is still one of the largest conservatories in the world. Jensen’s use of native limestone in layers is used to create ponds, waterfalls, cliffs, and lush winding paths. The total effect seems to overwhelm one’s senses as the sound of the water, the verdant greenness, and the pleasant aromas calm the nerves and transport me to another time and place, when the prairie was a nearby paradise..”. (Cindy Mitchell, The Weedpatch Gazette, Summer, 1998).

 

Garfield-Park-Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory won a 2013 Philanthropy Award from the Make It Better Foundation:

 

Congratulations!

And congratulations is in order for Mothers Trust Foundation which also won a Make It Better Philanthropy award. Take a look at this excellent video and see if you can spot me, in good company at a meeting with other wonderful volunteers.##

Save the Raptors, Savor the White (But Don’t Drink the Milk)

A small blurb in the Lake County, IL Audubon Society‘s fall newsletter caught my eye…and as a result I visited a website called, barnswallow.net. What a wonderful thing that Wauconda resident Linda Breuer is doing to care for and raise owls, hawks and other raptors. Don’t you just LOVE LOVE LOVE people who are so devoted to animals? And don’t you just LOVE LOVE LOVE “Boopie”, the owl? He needs your money to care for his amputated foot.

Boopie-the-Owl

Autumn is the time to savor orange and red and yellow, but this year I particularly noticed a white flower growing prolifically in a local park and also volunteering in my garden. And it’s not just me: bees and insects noticed the White Snakeroot [Eupatorium rugosum] too. Turns out that this native plant is NOT one that you should encourage in your landscape if you are anywhere near cows. This plant’s flowers may be beloved of bees and pollinators, but its leaves and stems contain a toxic oil that can cause cattle to get tremors, especially in the flank and hind legs, and a fatal lethargy. Horses prefer grass and goats seem pretty immune, but cattle eat everything, so this is how cow’s milk becomes poisoned. And you all know the story of Abraham Lincoln’s mother dying of…milksickness. The settlers were drinking raw cow’s milk poisoned by Eupatorium rugosum.

White snakeroot with bee Eupatorium 9-24-2013 10-40-23 AM 480x640

CIMG1191 snakeroot

CIMG1241 white snakerootA slope full of White Snakeroot

What you may not know is that an Illinois woman was the person who figured out the connection between the fatal illness and this pretty white-flowered plant. Her name was Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby (1812–1873) and she was a physician: that is, as much a physician as a woman could officially be in 1830: midwife, dentist, nurse. She was alarmed by the quick (1 day to 3 weeks) death of her mother, sister-in-law, and serious illness of her father, along with other people in the region around her small town on the IL/OH border. She realized it was seasonal and affected people who drank milk and ate butter, but it was an old Shawnee woman who told Dr. Bixby the connection to the White Snakeroot. It wasn’t until 50 years after Dr. Bixby’s death, however, that she was given credit for discovering that a plant was causing a fatal illness. Moral of the story: do not drink raw milk from cows AND make sure the seeds from your plant are staying put–away from cows, horses, and foraging humans. Speaking of milk, there is a version of this plant named, ‘Chocolate’. Death from Chocolate Milksickness?!

One more white feature in our Midwest landscape. This GREAT EGRET (the black legs tell you it’s an egret), cavorting yesterday in the mist with his friends at Mellody Farm Nature Preserve…

P1080872 great egret

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A WEDDING GARDEN

It’s June! Time for graduations (congratulations to our Leah for graduating from UCLA!) and especially for WEDDINGS (congratulations to my husband, John Drummond, for marrying me 25 years ago. Smart move.).

In honor of June weddings, I thought it would be fun to design a garden that celebrates weddings. A “Wedding Garden” would be so exciting to design and install at the Chicago Botanic Garden or other venues so that brides could be surrounded by plants that add to the joy by virtue of their names. (I’ve designed but never installed a Dentists Garden and a Candyland Garden full of “sweet sugary” or “toothed” plants).

By the way, having reviewed long lists of plant names, my research reveals that plant hybridizers have their preferences (who knew?) in names. “Wedding names” mostly come from people who hybridize daylilies [Hemerocallis]. But other types of growers make some interesting choices. For example, Hosta hybridizers like…FOOD. There’s Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Hosta ‘High Fat Cream’, Hosta ‘Golden Waffles’, Hosta ‘Candy Hearts’, Hosta ‘Cherry Berry’, Hosta ‘Donahue Piecrust’, Hosta ‘Spilt Milk’, Hosta ‘Vanilla Cream’, and Hosta ‘Regal Rhubarb’.

On the other hand, rose hybridizers prefer proper names, especially if you are a Duke, Duchess, Queen, Dr., Frau, General, Kaiser, Lady, President, Princess Prince, Sir, or Saint. Check out this amazing list of Rose names: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rose_cultivars_named_after_people

Nonetheless, here’s my list of perennials, shrubs and trees that are good candidates for a WEDDING GARDEN: (If you have photos or more plant “wedding names”, please send them to me.)

SHRUBS and TREES

Abelia grandiflora ‘Silver Anniversary’: (Zone 6): a 3’x3′ shrublet with white-margined foliage with white flowers

Halesia tetraptera ‘Wedding Bells’: (Zone 6): 20′ tall rounded tree with white bells

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’: (Zone 4): 10-12″ flower clusters open cream and age to pink, rose and red

Hydrangea ‘Wedding Ring’: (Zone 5): 3-4′ shrub with reblooming bi-color lacecap flowers

Spirea thunbergii ‘Mt. Fuji’: (Zone 4): This is “Bridal Veil” Spirea, blooming white in spring

Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’: (Zone 5): ivory-white flowers in summer

Syringa vulgaris ‘Bridal Memories’: (Zone 4): Fragrant, creamy-white single flowers

 

PERENNIALS

Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’: 2o” lavender – blue spikes, July-Sept

Aster nova-angliae ‘Wedding Lace’: 36″-48″ white daisies in Sept-Oct

Astilbe arendsii ‘To Have and To Hold’: 28″ purple-pink plumes in June-July

Astilbe arendsii ‘Diamonds and Pearls’: 28″ silver white plumes in July-Aug

Astilbe arendsii ‘Vision in White’: 18″ conical white spires in June-July

Astrantia major ‘Ruby Wedding’: 28″ dark red frilled flowers from May-Sept

Buddleia davidii ‘Attraction’: 36″ magenta-red flowers from July-Sept

Chrysanthemum ‘Bridal Bouquet’: 6-10″ double ruffled white shasta daisy from June-Sept

Cimicifuga simplex ‘Black Negligee’: 60″ lacy black/purple leaves with white flower spikes in October

Delphinium ‘Sweethearts’: 36-60″ with pink/white flowers in June and Sept

Dianthus hybridus ‘First Love’: 15-18″ white aging to rose from April-Sept

Dicentra eximia ‘Burning Hearts’: 10″ dark red hearts from May-Sept

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’: 24-30″ red hearts in May-June’

Echinacea h ‘Fatal Attraction’: 26″ rich pink with dark stems in July-August

Echinacea h ‘Secret Desire’: 36″ multi-color pink and orange from July-Sept

Echinacea h ‘Secret Joy’: 24-28″ double pale yellow poms from July-Sept

Echinacea h ‘Secret Lust’: 25-31″ fiery-orange double poms from July-Sept

Echinacea h ‘Secret Passion’: 18-27″ coral cone with pink rays from July-Sept

Echinacea h ‘Secret Romance’: 28″ salmon-pink double flowers from July-Sept

Athyrium ‘Lady in Lace’: a 12″ frilly fern

Gaura lindherii ‘The Bride’: 36″ white flower aging to pink from June-Aug

Helleborus h ‘Sparklyn Diamond’: 12-14″ double white from March-June

Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’: 24″ heuchera with fuzzy lime-green leaves and white sprays from Sept-Oct

Hibiscus h ‘Heart Throb’: 48″ plant with 10″ wide burgundy-red flowers from July-Sept

Hibiscus h ‘My Valentine’: 48″ plant with 9″ wide deep red flowers from July-Sept

Hosta ‘Bridegroom’: 18″ green pointy leaves with purple spikes in July-Aug

Hosta ‘Everlasting Love’: 14″ blue-green leaves with wide cream edges, lavender spikes in July

Linum perenne ‘White Diamond’: 12″ dwarf white flax from May-August

Lychnis chalcedonica ‘Burning Love’: 16″ dwarf red clusters of flowers from June-Aug

Papaver ‘Royal Wedding’: 30″ poppy with white flowers in May-June

Peony ‘Bridal Gown’: 32″ double creamy white flowers. Midseason

Peony ‘Bridal Grace’: double bomb with a deep creamy infusion inside and some red flecking outside; 32″

Peony ‘Bridal Shower’: Ivory white double bomb framed by white guard petals; 34″

Phlox subulata ‘Maiden’s Blush’: 4″ pale pink flower with a lilac eye in May and Sept

Rose ‘Burning Love’: I couldn’t find a description: coral red, I think, but…

Saruma henryi: 12-16″ heart-shaped downy leaves topped by soft yellow flowers from May-Sept

Scabiosa japonica ‘Blue Diamonds’: 6″ lilac-blue flowers from June-Aug

Veronica ‘First Love’: 12″ bright pink spikes from June-August

DAYLILIES

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’: 40″, early-mid season, fragrant, yellow

Hemerocallis ‘Bride Elect’: 36″, mid-season, fragrant, coral pink

Hemerocallis ‘Bride to Be’: 28″, late, cream melon pink with gold edge and yellow pink throat

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’s Bouquet’: 30″, mid-season, very pale yellow

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’s Dream’: 21″, early, lavender wine spider with wide green and yellow throat

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’s Garter’: 26″, mid-season, fragrant, cream with purple eye and purple gold edge, green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’s Halo’: 30″, mid-late, fragrant, orange pink blend with orange halo and green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Bride’s Kiss’: 36″, early-mid, rosy red

Hemerocallis ‘Bridesmaid’: 42″, mid-season, red

Hemerocallis ‘Bridesmaid’s Gown’: 28″, early, fragrant, light pink with gold edge and very green throat (Author: Bridesmaid’s Gown: this plant must be really ugly!)

Hemerocallis ‘Dayton’s Last War Bride’: 32″, mid-season, very fragrant, yellow with rose halo and green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Diva Bride’: 30″, mid-season, fragrant, ruffled cream with pink blush and butter yellow edge and throat

Hemerocallis ‘Fairy Bride’: 30″, mid-season, fragrant, orchid pink with yellow throat

Hemerocallis ‘Filipina Bride’: 30″, mid-season, blue pink with a slightly darker eye and yellow throat

Hemerocallis ‘Gypsy Bridesmaid’: 20″, early-mid season, rose edged white with green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Hopi Bride’: 28″, early, fragrant, cream with burgundy eye and yellow green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Journey’s Bride’: 32″, mid-season, fragrant, pink bi-tone with gold edge

Hemerocallis ‘June Bride’: 34″, mid-season, yellow

Hemerocallis ‘June Bridesmaid’: 25″, early-mid season, fragrant, light pink bi-tone with darker pink edge

Hemerocallis ‘Princess Bride’: 36″, early-mid season, very fragrant, white with green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Quaker Bride’: 44″, mid-late season, fragrant, yellow

Hemerocallis ‘Radiant Bride’: 29″, mid-late season, fragrant, red wine with chartreuse green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Sabbath Bride’: 14″, mid-season, white to cream with yellow to green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Seminole Bride’: 36″, early-mid season, fragrant, strawberry pink with darker pink eye and green throat

Hemerocallis ‘September Bride’: 36″, early-mid season, fragrant, light lemon yellow

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Blushing Bride’: 23″, mid-season, light pink with green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Bridesmaid’: 20″, mid-season, pale pink with rose eye and green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam June Bride’: 20″, mid-season, pale pink with green throat

Hemerocallis ‘Snow Bride’: 20″, early, fragrant, diamond dusted near white with green throat

Darrel Morrison and the “Native Flora Garden” in Brooklyn

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:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/garden/native-flora-garden-opens-at-brooklyn-botanic-garden.html?pagewanted=all

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.

Darrel-Morrison-hand-drawingDarrel Morrison has had a celebrated career, specializing in native plants. He is a classic landscape architect–on his kitchen table, I saw hand-colored drawings he was preparing for a fabulous Montana ranch. Computer drawings are just not the same as hand drawn, n’est-ce pas?

 

 

darrel_morrisonMorrison’s re-design and expansion of the Native Flora Garden builds on a 100 year old habitat. When it was first opened in 1911, “groves of trees and shrubs were planted to create genuine woodland conditions through the gradual maturation of the woody plants; at the south end, wildflower beds were laid out in systematic fashion—that is, arranged according to plant family and evolutionary relationships.” By the 1920’s, the garden was re-designed to become one of the first ecologically themed native plant gardens of its kind in the U.S. It highlighted nine plant communities found in the Northeast: serpentine rock, dry meadow, kettle pond, bog, pine barrens, wet meadow and stream, deciduous woodland, limestone ledge, and coniferous forest. Read more about it: http://www.bbg.org/discover/native_flora_garden_expansion

View the photos below that I took in Fall, 2011 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. What I like about it is the feeling of “age” in all the hard-scape and in the mature trees.

I am not sure what public garden in Chicago is comparable to the Native Flora Garden in Brooklyn. Please let me know if you know the answer.##

Tulip Mania!

P1040568I snapped this photo of tulips while passing by the gatehouse at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I’m usually not a fan of tulip mixes (too gaudy), but I thought the yellow/orange and blue/purple combo used here was excellent. If you want to copy the example, the tulips used are: Tulipa ‘Big Smile’, ‘Blushing Apeldoorn’, ‘Caravelle’, ‘Gavota’, ‘Golden Parade’, ‘Jenny’, ‘Negrita’, ‘Salmon Pearl’, ‘Yellow Present’), backed by fragrant viburnum (Viburnum farreri) and underlaid with Fizzy Fruit Salad pansy (Viola wittrockiana ‘Fizzy Fruit Salad Mix’).

And then all you need is lotsa money and a musclebound hunka-hunka to plant 1,000 bulbs, but no problem with finding those, right?##