Posted on June 4th, 2013 No comments
The 14th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate is happening Sunday, June 16, 2013 and starting at 7:30 a.m. at Long Field in Evanston. Proceeds from the Race benefit the work of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, especially in areas of violence prevention and racial equity.
We’re a proud sponsor of the event and are excited to announce a cash giveaway to thank participants of the race!
As a race participant, you’ll be eligible for a chance to win one of seven cash prizes! Check your race packet on race day for the winning card.
There’s still time to register, but hurry, the deadline is June 11. Click on the green box below for more information on the event. Good luck!
Posted on May 24th, 2013 No comments
Each year there are countless plant varieties that are introduced to the green industry. They all look wonderful in catalogs, but we choose carefully. After a year or two on trial in our garden, we let everyone have a chance to enjoy them at home. Here are some of the recent additions to our nursery.
The Raymond Evison® series of Clematis is the result of 50 years of breeding, offering colorful flowering vines that are beautiful, very hardy and bloom a long time. Their smaller stature makes them ideal to plant near a patio to be appreciated up-close during summer months. Last year in Barb’s garden, they bloomed in June and July… and re-bloomed again in September and October! Some of our favorites: ‘Abeline’ (3-4′ h) with deep pink flowers with yellow anthers, and deep pink stripes appears as the flowers fade; ‘Crystal Fountain’ (6′ h) with double lilac blue flowers with large anthers, giving blooms a full, ruffled appearance; ‘Cezanne’ (3-4′ h), which has lavender blue flowers with a yellow center; and ‘Rebecca’ (6-8′ h) with impressive, 5-inch deep magenta-red blooms.
Golden Hops is another vine that makes quite a statement in a garden and is perfect for beer lovers and home brewers. Easily grown in a full sun location, it quickly covers an arbor with bright chartreuse foliage. Its vigorous growth may require regular cutting back for maintenance. Hops are ready to be harvested in the fall, dried and used in home brewing.
Looking for something to delight your senses from spring to frost? We’ve got two easy-care, long-blooming roses with wonderfully fragrant flowers. Miracle Sensation Shrub Rose has delightful, single pink flowers, while Milwaukee’s Calatrava Rose bears pure white, double flowers fading to pink. Both grow 3-4 feet tall.
To add pizazz between smaller perennials and large shrubs in a shade location, Bobo Dwarf Hydrangea is ideal. Small in size, growing only 3 feet tall, it’s big in presence, covered in large, cone-shaped white flowers that fade to pink. The flowers, held on strong stems, even appear to grow longer as they bloom for weeks!
Rufa Bamboo imparts a distinctive Asian feel and makes a pretty focal point by itself, or massed as a hedge. Graceful and well-behaved, clump-forming and non-invasive, it grows 4-6 feet tall, and can thrive in either sun or shade. Another plus: it stays evergreen even in winter.
Two Kousa dogwoods are not particularly new to us… but could make the perfect new addition to your garden, with their pretty flowers, beautiful horizontal branching habit and wonderful fall color. Heart Throb Dogwood offers large deep pink flowers in summer and brilliant red leaves in fall. Samzam Dogwood has clear white flowers in summer, and wavy, variegated leaves that turn burgundy in fall. Both mature to 15-20 feet tall, and require sun.
Columnar Purple Beech, with its dramatic, dark purple foliage and tight, neat upright habit, is perfect for tight spaces and screening. Slow-growing to 40 feet.
Ryusen Weeping Japanese Maple, makes a wonderful accent in a part shade garden bed, with its cascading, bright green, palm-shaped leaves that turn a vibrant orange-red in the fall. Grows to 10 feet tall.
These are just a few of the endless plants that are available in our nursery. Our landscape designers can help you create the perfect combination of plants to express your personality and tastes, while enhancing your property.
Posted on April 12th, 2013 No comments
Take a look out your window. How is your garden looking? If you feel like it’s lacking, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, here are three things that can be done now. Attending to your garden’s bed lines, lawn and old shrubs will make a big impact in your garden as the weather warms up and the season of outdoor living nears.
Formalize Bed Edges
Well defined, crisp, clean bed lines set a landscape apart. When there is no clear separation and balance in the yard, everything seems to run together with a lack of form. Mowing the lawn is a much more difficult task and the lawn inevitably creeps into the planting beds. By using large, sweeping, defined bed lines, the overall look of the landscape is simplified and the eye is not confused. Spade edged beds should be established and maintained at a depth of 4-6”, then mulched or planted with groundcover or perennials to prevent weed growth and conserve soil moisture.
Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn
Nothing gives more visual impact to your landscape than a beautiful, lush lawn. The best way for a thriving and healthy lawn is to win the battle against the weeds by core aerating and overseeding.
Soil compaction is a major ally to weedy species taking over an established lawn, and for this reason, it is important to core aerate every year. It is the single best thing you can do for your lawn. Core aeration not only allows new germination of seed to happen faster, but it strengthens the plants that exist already by breaking up the thatch layer and allowing each plant to put out new growth. Your lawn is in a constant battle between the desirable turf grass species and the undesirable weedy species that try to invade; and the strongest army will usually win the war.
Bring in more troops (or plants in this case) than your enemy by consistently overseeding the weak areas of your lawn in both spring and fall with high quality grass seed. Make sure you are using the appropriate seed for the particular area of your property. Shade is prevalent along the North Shore, and shade seed is readily available. You will attain considerably better results establishing a lasting lawn in the shade with the right seed. Overseeding yields the best results when seed is pre-mixed with a mixture of organic matter such as compost and a medium to retain moisture, such as peat moss. It is appropriate to mix these in a 1/3 ratio and spread around patchy areas of the lawn. This mixture improves seed to soil contact, protects bare seed from being blown away or easily eaten by birds, and allows the seed to be surrounded by moisture for a much longer period after irrigation.
Prune Old Shrubs
Whether it is a 30-year old Forsythia, a 15-foot tall Dogwood hedge or leggy Spirea, nothing sends your old landscape shrubs to the fountain of youth like a good hard pruning. Rejuvenation pruning refers to cutting the majority of the plant back, sometimes to the ground, sometimes just to the primary branch separation, so that vigorous new growth will sprout out. This will promote better overall plant structure, larger and more abundant blooms on flowering species and decrease pruning frequency associated with the plant. This should be done as early as possible in spring, so all the energy in a shrub’s roots can be diverted into developing new shoots instead.
Completing these tasks will start a good foundation for your garden’s development. Next post, we’ll show you wonderful new plant introductions to enhance your outdoor living.
Posted on March 14th, 2013 No comments
Nothing celebrates the season of spring quite like a big, flowering Magnolia tree, with its branches covered with hundreds of large flowers. Pink and white-flowering Magnolias are common varieties in our area. In this post, we take notice of a less common, yellow-flowering variety, Magnolia acuminata ‘Butterflies’, or Butterflies Magnolia.
Butterflies Magnolia is very hardy in our area, and in late May, it blooms with 4- to 5-inch, upright, creamy yellow double flowers, resembling butterflies resting on branches. After flowers have bloomed, bold dark green leaves follow. It has a neat, pyramidal form and reaches a mature height of 20 feet. A sheltered location is best, organically enriched soil is preferred, in full sun to partial shade.
Since it blooms in late May, after any frost danger has passed, spring is a great time to introduce it to your garden.
Posted on January 16th, 2013 No comments
Our clients purchased this charming 1920’s Dutch colonial house with plans of making it their own.
The existing landscape consisted of a traditional front lawn with overgrown shrubs and a scattering of perennials. Our clients wanted to simplify the maintenance, add curb appeal and create a garden for all to enjoy.
After remodeling the home’s façade, they were ready for a fresh look for the front yard. We removed the lawn and plantings, saving some perennials to transplant. Removing the overgrown plant material revealed a beautiful stacked limestone retaining wall. A new paver sidewalk and sitting area were installed to provide a place for the homeowners to enjoy their garden and chat with passersby. Stepping stones tie the areas together and allow one to meander through the lush cottage garden. A mixture of evergreens, hydrangeas, roses, grasses and perennials were added to create a year-long showcase and welcome birds, bees and butterflies. Containers of colorful annuals, landscape lighting and drip irrigation complete the garden rejuvenation.
Posted on December 17th, 2012 No comments
For the second consecutive year in a row, Nature’s Perspective Landscaping has been awarded the prestigious Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the businesses rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service and health providers.
“We’re thrilled once again to earn the Super Service Award from Angie’s List. Our reviews serve as a testament of the dedication and commitment to quality that everyone in our company has,” said Barbara Schwarz, Vice President.
“Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “The fact that Nature’s Perspective Landscaping can claim Super Service Award status speaks volumes about its dedication to consumers.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines. Ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2012 Super Service Award logo next to Nature’s Perspective Landscaping in search results on AngiesList.com
Posted on November 2nd, 2012 No comments
Nature’s Perspective recently completed construction of a restorative water garden at Three Crowns Park, a senior community in northwest Evanston that has served its residents for over a century.
In the early spring of this year, Ariel Schrodt, a new resident of Three Crowns Park, had a vision of creating a memorial garden for his late wife, Ellen. He wanted to recreate the pond that he and his wife had lovingly built together at their previous residence. He donated several tons of Chilton Limestone boulders that he had used to build his own pond.
Nature’s Perspective was contacted to work alongside the community at Three Crowns to turn his vision into a reality. We began the process with multiple concepts and renderings to show how his vision could be incorporated into a restorative garden.
Throughout the summer, the community at Three Crowns came together to raise funds by selling memorial pavers and other donor items. In late summer, the community’s fundraising goal was reached, and our design for a restorative water garden was selected.
We began construction in October. Being a large site, access was easy, but utilities were not. We were challenged by having to incorporate our garden into the existing irrigation system. Other obstacles included wiring a GFI outlet for the water feature, routing lighting cable, and securing benches to a solid foundation.
The end of construction coincided with the 5th anniversary of Three Crowns’ 2007 facility expansion. Despite the cold and windy weather on October 29th, many made it outside for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Restorative Garden Design Principles
Outdoor spaces of all sizes and settings are designed based on a set of principles. An outdoor area at a senior community must be easily navigable on paths of a smooth hard material. It must also allow access, circulation, and full use by persons with disabilities. Beyond accessibility, these photos show other design principles that came into play in this design:
These photos show how the layout invites exploration. The path was designed with materials that replicate the colors of a forest floor. It winds through other garden elements to create hidden views.
The senses are brought alive in this space, especially when viewed at night. Moonlighting is a landscape lighting technique that casts shadows of tree branches and leaves onto the ground. Here, moonlighting is used for wayfinding.
A memorial garden can be the perfect place for quiet reflection. Three seating areas in the restorative garden provide safe, protected areas surrounded by lush plant life changing by the season. We can’t think of a better place to sit and enjoy nature.
Posted on June 15th, 2012 No comments
What better way to spend a Father’s Day than creating some good old home brewed beer with Dad! With home brewing all the rage and many home brewing retail locations opening, you can start a home brewing operation for under $200.00. Brewing beer is a very simple process that many do-it-yourselfers have grown to love. Northern Brewer, a home brewing supply company, states “If you can cook macaroni and cheese from a box you can brew beer.” Beer only consists of four major ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast. Many home brewers find this hobby very rewarding, especially when enjoying the fruits of their labor. After a few batches many home brewers have gained experience and are constantly experimenting and attempting to improve their recipes. One fun and exciting way is to grow, harvest and use your own hops for brewing.
Nature’s Perspective is pleased to announce that we are now carrying a variety of hop vines available for installation. Growing hops is an exciting and fun way to add a new twist to your brew. Hops come in many varieties that can produce very different flavors and aromas. All hops are grown from a root-like cutting known as a rhizome. Hops grow in a vine form commonly known as bines. Hops grow in full sun, so southern exposure is ideal. They grow exceptionally fast and spread over 25’ in a season, and can weigh over 20lbs. It’s important to use a strong trellis or other structural support to ensure a bountiful crop. Hop cones are typically ripe and ready for harvest in late summer or early fall. Just one or two hop plants can produce a healthy yield that would satisfy any home brewer. After the hop cone is harvested, it is dried in a paper bag or on a screen and then weighed and measured. At this point you can decide to use the hops to brew or vacuum-seal them and put them in the freezer for proper storage for a later brewing date. At the end of the season the hop bines are typically cut back to 3 feet, and survive over the winter. Growing hops is a great way to add some green to your back yard and add a personal touch to your home brew. We currently have Chinook, Tettenger, Nugget, Cascade, Centennial, Mt. Hood, and Golden varieties of hops available. Supplies are limited, so if you are a home brewer and want to take the next step, give us a call!
1) Hop bines beautifully grace an arbor. Talk about double duty!
2) Hop cones ready for the picking.
3) Paul harvests a bounty of hops… grown right on our premises!
4) Once dried, hops are ready for brewing, or can be stored frozen for later use.
Posted on May 25th, 2012 No comments
The most important thing you can do for your landscape during the summer months is also the simplest: WATER, WATER, WATER.
Chicago summers are hot, and plants need you to make sure they have moisture. This not only keeps them growing, but also helps ward off diseases that attack plants weakened by thirst.
Don’t over-water, though. Plant roots need oxygen, and too much continuous water keeps the soil from breathing. Water thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry enough so that the air can penetrate before watering again.
When you water, water well. Just wetting the leaves and soil surface quickly may do more harm than good. This encourages plants to develop shallow roots that will be extremely vulnerable in dry spells or to sudden freezes.
Most people don’t have the time or patience to water a whole garden with a handheld hose. Use a sprinkler. Until you become accustomed to the rate your sprinkler distributes water, you may want to use a rain gauge (or a cup or can) to measure. A measured inch of rain or sprinkler water will penetrate the soil about 10 inches. In dry periods, water at least a measured inch every week. Note that it may take several hours for a sprinkler to distribute an inch of water.
Interestingly, a 35-foot tall tree loses 30 gallons of water on a hot summer day. During a dry spell, even large trees must be watered to ensure good health and promote growth. Give special care to all new plants. Trees, shrubs, evergreens and groundcover planted within the past four years should be considered newly planted. Generally, soaker hoses deliver insufficient water for newly planted trees and shrubs. When you water, water well.
The simplest rule of thumb? If your plants are looking dry, water them!
Posted on April 13th, 2012 No commentsWe are proud and excited to announce that we are in the final process of installing two 1,700-gallon rainwater storage systems here at our nursery. With this system in place, we will capture the rain water off our roof and direct it into the two underground storage tanks. From there the water will be pumped into our drip irrigation system to water a large portion of our nursery stock. We plan on capturing rain from roughly 6,000 square feet of roof space, and a 1-inch rainfall will fill the entire 3,400-gallon system! To calculate this you take the square footage of roof area (X) .6 = gallons per 1 inch of rain. Based on results from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculations of average annual rainfall for Illinois (1971-2000) we will harvest 141,552 gallons of rainwater per year! Try this calculation on your own roof and discover how much rainwater you can harvest.
The rainwater storage system will significantly reduce the amount of potable tap water we use to keep our plants healthy and happy here at Nature’s Perspective. It will also reduce our ecological footprint by capturing fresh water that nature intended for plants and using it for that purpose rather than letting it run off down the drain. The initial phase of the excavation and installation of the two tanks are complete. As we near the completion of this project we are finalizing plumbing the downspouts into the appropriate locations and plumbing the drip irrigation system. This weekend’s rain will be the first test of the new system. We are grateful to Lake Street Supply of Chicago for their generous help and collaboration on this project, as well as supplying us with the Graf System. Stay tuned for future blogs about our system.