Advertisement

From the Editor - MarApr 2017


I once knew a woman who vacuumed her rock garden. Seems a revered expert from the East Coast was coming on an inspection tour and she wanted everything perfect with nary a weed or fallen leaf in sight.

I was thinking about her as I pulled out my spent tomatoes and put away the cages this past fall. I had a reasonably successful garden in 2016, but I’m sure she would have looked askance at no end of horticultural errors and mishaps had she descended for a visit chez moi. Fortunately, she wasn’t invited.

I like an orderly flower bed and a well-edged lawn as much as the next person, but nowadays, when it comes to sallying forth with that half-moon edger and knees that are developing suspicious symptoms of arthritis, I often end up thinking, “Well, maybe tomorrow.”

It’s important to remember as we start gardening in 2017 that we do it for pleasure, not pain, and we need to maximize the former and minimize the latter. Thus, if you have to yank the lawn mower cord 15 times before it starts and you end up tearing your rotator cuff, then maybe it’s time to hire out this task so that you can save your shoulder for the fun stuff, however you define fun. Like designing and planting containers, perhaps, the topic for this issue’s cover story (page 42). Or growing a gazillion food crops like city gardener Gloria Ciaccio, our focus in Gardens of the Pros (page 53). Another feature story highlights the garden of Irwin Goldman, a funeral director who counterbalances his daily occupation by nurturing living plants to create beauty and solace at his suburban home (page 48).

Other stories in this issue have a more practical bent. We recently heard about a major onion-growing operation in northern Indiana and nursery co-owner Julie Oudman-Perkins tells us home gardeners how to grow them. Then Jeff Rugg reviews the pros and cons of clover in the lawn – or what about a lawn planted exclusively with clover? As we become increasingly aware of clover’s benefits to soil and the environment (those flowers are good for bees), it’s something to seriously consider. Aesthetic ideals change over time and reflect the contemporary culture. Men no longer wear powdered wigs. Maybe Kentucky bluegrass is equally old-fashioned.

The soil around Lake Michigan is sand-based rather than clay, and those of you with homes in Indiana and Michigan have soils that are seriously sandy. What grows there? Garden designer John Eskandari offers suggestions based on his experience.

We also have a story about early pollinators by greenhouse owner Liz Holmberg and design tips drawn from a project by Mariani Landscape.

If you don’t want to do even a modicum of work in a garden, then it would probably be better not to have one. Lay out pavers, buy a pot of red geraniums and be done with it. But if you aspire to something between an overgrown weed patch and a super perfect garden swept bare by a vacuum cleaner, turn the page. We have lots of suggestions for you.

categories

Chicagoland Gardening Advertisement

Espoma Advertisement

popular

Article Thumbnail
Columns
Milkweed For Monarchs

A new project from the Garden Clubs of Illinois is hoping to halt the diminishing numbers of monarch butterflies.


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Recreating that Vintage Garden

When it comes to old houses, it’s not often that you’ll find one with its original garden elements. Wood arbors and fences ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Go to the Flower Show!

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show opened this past Saturday at Navy Pier and I’m here to report that it’s worth the price of ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2014

This is our “Ideas Issue,” designed to be a keeper, although of course we hope you keep all of our issues. So to get this ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Attack of the Killer Asparagus

I had one of those horticultural dreams the other night. You know what I’m talking about. The ones where you’re being ...


questions

I have read that purple coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good source of food for birds in the winter. Will they be okay if not trimmed back until spring? If so, how early should they be trimmed?

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

Besides mums, what are a few other plants you would recommend for containers for fall color?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement