There’s something about green spaces – gardens, forests, prairies, etc… – that calls to us to approach, to touch, and to explore. They effortlessly hold our attention, while also setting us free of stresses and worries. There’s a theory called the biophilia hypothesis, developed by Edward O. Wilson, that proposes our love of nature and other life forms is part of our evolutionary history and genetic makeup. We are attracted to life (animals and plants) because they support our life and have historically suggested a potential for food. We have evolved over time with a deep connection with nature and though the industrial age has largely shifted us away from nature, we potentially still have this internal urge to connect and subconsciously recognize its benefits to our lives. It’s in an interesting theory and may explain why the rustle of leaves, the rolling waves, and the crunch of a path beneath our feet seem to inherently draw us outside.Read More
The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer since the real beginning of summer annuals is December 15th (which is when nurseries ask for next year’s summer annuals orders), though you could argue that it begins even earlier when our client relations managers are developing annuals contracts and forecasting their summer annuals sales. However, in terms of installation, May 16th is our official start of summer annuals. With the threat of frost largely behind us (although this past weekend was not indication of that), we begin rolling out the summer designs. There may be some fluctuation on this date based on weather, but by and large this is it.Read More
Earth Day is an opportunity to recognize the impact that we all have on the environment and the ways that we can protect and improve it. Gardens that are designed well using appropriate plant material, properly addressing water and drainage on site, and installed using best management practices are all aspects of a healthy environment (and a beautiful space). Even little changes can make a difference. Planting natives, or bee and butterfly attracting plants, and installing bird feeders or insect houses can be a small, but effective way to have a positive impact on the environment.Read More
Go ahead and hug a tree. Perhaps not a hawthorn tree with all those thorns, but a friendly maple or littleleaf linden would be nice.
Illinois celebrates Arbor Day today (April 29) throughout the state (and nation) where communities and homeowners plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Arbor Day traces its roots (ha! get it?) to 1594 when a small village Spain held the first documented arbor plantation festival. Arbor Day is a day recognized around the world, and is often celebrated with the planting of a tree. In fact, in Nebraska, in 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in furtherance of the cause.Read More
It’s that time of the year again, the Masters at Augusta National are in full swing (ha! pun intended). Some people watch for the players and their amazing golf feats, but I tend to be more interested in the course setting. I longingly look at their blooming azaleas and dogwoods and wonder why I’ve committed myself to Chicago’s “winter-springs.”Read More
It’s hard to believe that the end of summer is unofficially here. Somehow, we’re already three-quarters of the way through the year. What happened?! Similarly, how did we have 90 degree weather last weekend and 70 degree weather planned for this weekend? Mother Nature needs to work on her transitioning skills, but this is still beautiful weather so I can’t complain and I’ll take what I can get.
More than just beautiful weather, Fall is also a season with some truly stunning perennials – asters, Japanese anemones, goldenrod, black-eyed susans, coreopsis, autumn joy sedum, and a variety of ornamental grasses. When summer favorites start fading these perennials burst forth and stay strong, filling the void the summer flowers left behind. Without their presence in our gardens, it can be a long and dull wait for spring (especially if you don’t have plants that provide winter interest or early spring bulbs). So pull out your long sleeves and sweatshirts and enjoy this cool weather and the perennials still out there blooming for you.
Have I told you recently about how much I love bulbs? Maybe I’ve mentioned it once…or twice…but I strongly believe that bulbs improve your garden (and your life!). I’m going to go as far as to unscientifically claim that as fact.
I’m taking the time to wax ecstatic about bulbs again because now is the time of order and schedule bulbs for fall installation. Perhaps this is the most wonderful time of year, when all that lay before you are possibilities. Grab a bulb catalog, consult with your project manager, and internally debate daffodils vs. tulips vs . crocuses vs. winter aconite (unless you’re me, in which case replace ‘vs.’ with ‘and’). And just so you know that I’m not practicing what I preach, let me tell you that in a moment of weakness and excitement, I ordered 700 bulbs. I regret nothing; however, come late October I may be singing a slightly different tune when I have 700 bulbs demanding to be planted.
If your garden is overrun with squirrels, deer, and rabbits you may want to reconsider planting tulips, or plant the in such quantities that after they’ve had their fill you’ll still have some left over for your own enjoyment. What’s the seed saying…four seeds in a row, one for the rook, one for the crow, one to die, and one to grow? Have a similar mentality when it comes to tulips and you won’t be disappointed. That’s a bit of an exaggeration and depends on how many squirrels, deer, and rabbits are in your area; what other food sources are available; and if your house is the only source for a tulip bulb feast. Some other bulb options, which are not on the preferred list for these garden intruders, are daffodils, winter aconite, alliums, Siberian sqill, snowdrop, grape hyacinth, fritillaria, and a handful of others. The variety of daffodils alone could fill a garden for months. Add some snowdrops and alliums and extend your bulb season into late winter and early summer.
Embrace the possibilities and let us know how we can help your bulb dreams come true.
June is National Rose Month, which is appropriate since all the roses are currently in bloom. Though some organizations in our industry seem to have moved away from awarding traditional gardens and have instead embraced contemporary designs with monoculture planting schemes, I remain charmed by these cheerful hallmarks of the traditional garden. Bursting with color, roses have long been associated with love and appreciation and so I think this is a good time to reflect that love and appreciation back to them. (Roses have also been symbols for war, politics, and religion….Truly, roses are for every occasion.)
At Scott Byron & Co., we work with local growers and nurseries for most of our rose needs. In the fall, we work with Roses & Roses & Roses in Wadsworth, IL to order all our hybrid tea roses so that we have the quantity and quality that we need and that our clients expect and in the spring we work with other growers, such as Midwest Groundcovers, to fill our Knock Out rose and other shrub rose needs. So far this year, we’ve already planted over 500 roses! If you’d like to add a rose garden to your landscape or need help maintaining an existing garden, we have you covered.
Unrelated to roses, but something interesting nonetheless…I was looking up other national month holidays that are associated with June and found a strange one. June is also the National Fight the Filthy Fly Month and June 21st is St. Leufredus’ Day (St. Leufredus is the patron saint against flies). The more you know! Basil plants, lavender oil, and whole cloves are supposedly fly repellent, so get them out for any outdoor activities this weekend and maybe St. Leufredus can intervene and keep your Father’s Day fly free.
Take care and have an amazing weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Over the weekend, I caught up on the Chicato Botanic Garden’s blog. Another great resource of up to date information. Their most recent post was in regards to the viburnum leaf beetle that has been working its way across the states. A couple years ago it arrived in the Chicago suburbs and a few days ago they found the beetle in two separate locations in the gardens.
In both instances they were found on the arrowwood viburnums, which seems to be their preferred food source (at the moment, at least). The beetles bore into the branches to lay eggs and then feed off the leaves, defoliating the plant in the process. Over a span of 2-3 years, a heavy infestation can kill the plant.
As if the Japanese beetle and the emerald ash borer weren’t enough to contend with, we now have to worry about the viburnum leaf beetle. For now, the easiest way for a homeowner an infestation is by getting a bucket of soapy water and tapping the branches to let the beetles fall into the bucket. Not a very glamorous solution and it won’t prevent them from situating themselves in your garden, but it’s an effective method of dealing with any current issue. In late winter or early spring, examine young branches for egg sites (areas that seem to swell). Prune out and destroy the branches.
If you are interested in more information on the viburnum leaf beetle, you can check out the Chicago Botanic Garden’s website (Link: http://my.chicagobotanic.org/news/pest-alert-viburnum-leaf-beetle/), Penn State College of Agricultural Science’s website (Link: http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/viburnum-leaf-beetle), and
Cornell University’s website (Link: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/vlb/)
Knock on wood, we are done with winter and snow. The days have warmed and rain is soaking the earth and encouraging plants to grow. Spring has sprung! The North Shore is awash in delicate blue scilla bulbs and daffodils are beginning to pop up through the beds. It’s my favorite time of the year, when everything is new and everything has potential.
This time of year, our Property Improvement crews are out in force doing spring cleanups for our clients. Cutting shrubs, perennials, and grasses back; clearing beds of leaves and debris; and spreading mulch where needed. A little tighten up for the garden so that everything has a chance to grow in the best conditions. An added benefit of doing your spring cleanup is uncovering the early emerging plants. Suddenly the garden isn’t quite so drab with little hints of green and bulbs sprouting up. And if you haven’t planted bulbs in your garden yet, all I can say is…WHY? By now, winter has made me stir-crazy and I am desperate for a glimpse of life in the garden. Bulbs are that glimpse and they tell me winter is over and we have survived. I digress, as I often do when it comes to bulbs, so I’ll circle back around to spring cleanups.
By this time of the year, the landscape looks downright tired. The dry hydrangea heads that have been our winter interest have gradually been leaning ever further down and are now nearly prostrate. Ornamental grasses look to be melting back into the ground. Thank you for your service hydrangeas and grasses, but it’s time for you to be cut back.