Blog: Landscaping and Gardening

 
  • January 17, 2023
    mike

    Native Alternatives to Exotic Trees, Shrubs and Vines

    Many gardeners and landscapers are drawn to the unique beauty and variety of non-native plants, but the use of these exotic species can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. As awareness grows about the importance of conservation and protecting native species, more and more people are looking for alternative options that still provide a diverse and beautiful landscape. In this post, we will introduce you to some of the best native tree, shrub and vine alternatives to common non-natives.

  • December 15, 2022
    mike

    Native Plant Grants

    Are you a homeowner, community organizer or municipal civil servant looking to fund a planting project in the Midwest? Are you planning a native garden, or would like organize a tree planting in your neighborhood? We are excited to present this resource to make that effort a little bit easier, with this compilation of local, regional (Midwest) and national grants relevant to urban forestry, native garden projects and more.    
  • February 01, 2021
    kelsay

    Oaks Grow Slowly...NOT!

    We recieved a call just the other day from a person looking for for a "fast growing" tree and that a smaller starter plant would be preferred. I offered up a Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinquapin Oak) and ran down the list of superlatives that made it why I'd plant that for his needs other than many others that might work for him. I was stopped half way through; "Woah, woah, woah. Oak trees don't grow fast. They're oaks. They grow slow. I want a sugar maple." After a brief exchange, I was left thinking about why people continue to think oaks grow slowly. So I thought I would post a very quick note.

  • January 15, 2021
    stephanie

    Creating Color in the Shade with Native Plants

    For many, creating a colorful landscape in the shade can be a challenge.  Typical options are often limited to hostas, hostas, and more hostas!  While hostas certainly can serve a purpose filling in the north side of a garage or hugging a tree, they don’t offer much to enrich the color or texture of a landscape. Native plants offer a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors that thrive in the shade.  You can create a rich, layered, textured garden that offers color throughout the growing season while creating a healthy ecosystem for birds and insects by choosing from these native shade-lovers.

  • June 30, 2020
    kelsay

    Using Natives in the Garden

    Our raison d'etre! Beginner's guide to help conceptualize using natives in your garden. Includes links to more resources.

  • February 22, 2020
    kelsay

    There are no insect-free plants, but there are good insects - Our Butterfly List

    There are no insect-free plants, but there are good insects!

  • February 07, 2019
    stephanie

    Surviving Winter

    It’s cold outside today…like, really cold. And while our solution to keeping safe in these temperatures is simply not to engage, our plants just don’t have that option. From the cozy warmth of my insulated home, I gaze out at my perennial garden and think about the lush green plants that will begin to pop up in the spring. Year after year, they endure freezing temperatures and still manage to emerge in all their glory when the time is right.

    Part of the joy of planting native perennials is knowing that they are cold hardy to our climate zone. In Illinois, our cold hardiness zone is 6 for the northern part of the state and 5 for the southern half and the small area surrounding Lake Michigan. Native plants of our region have evolved to survive the harsh winters in these zones, but how exactly do they do that??

  • October 02, 2017
    kelsay

    Small Window: Using Natives vs Cultivars for Pollinators

    Several months ago I was talking to a friend of mine from the east coast, and we were discussing pollinators and the plant lists that seem to be leaping from every corner of the web from all kinds of sources. We both agreed that the whole idea of gardening for pollinators is a good thing and that the use of natives were improving, along with understanding of native plant needs and importance. But many of the sources included or were dominated by non-natives or cultivars.

  • April 19, 2016
    tristan

    What's That Pretty Weed?

    In 2003, I purchased my first money pit, a.k.a my home. I made it clear to my realtor that the house was secondary to the yard.  It had your normal cookie cutter landscape. You know, the kind with the circle and square shaped plants. The only plant left aone was a lovely white birch, which was a great selling point for me. I knew right then and there I could plant anything I wanted. Being the offspring of Connor Shaw, my first move was to bring nature back to earth.

  • March 04, 2016
    stephanie

    Monarchs, Milkweeds and the Rest of the Pollinator Story

    When I first started as the Greenhouse Manager at Possibility Place Nursery, I learned one lesson very quickly: produce as much milkweed as possible.  There are great reasons for this, both economic and environmental. For decades, monarch butterfly populations have been on a major decline, and educated native plant enthusiasts have realized they can help by planting milkweed.

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