1. Birch forests of Beaver Island, Michigan

    July 25, 2012 by MAX

    Native to sandier soils of northern -tier states and Canada, the Paper Birch is a thing of beauty. The paper bark glistens white, with distinct black ‘eyes’, and other marking on the bark. This species is tolerant of suburban soils around Chicago if well drained, and some what sandy. Heavy, alkaline soils are not tolerated. Used as specimen or group plantings especially nice along woodland edge, or part shade.

    Also good in some areas of the lower Lake Michigan, Chicago region, suburbs too.

    Fussy where located, but birch will thrive if sited properly.


  2. Wetlands or low lying areas of your property

    July 15, 2012 by MAX

    Even wet areas of your land can be transformed into something wonderful: soils too wet for common landscaping or shrubs can be quite a challenge for some.  Instead, consider wetland plant species. Seen here is a temporary water retention area, and when flooded, these Bald Cypress (taxidoium dist.)  are loving it!   Like a scene from the bayous of the gulf coast, but actually in Wheaton,  Illinois.  Yes, bald-cypress have quite a range.   Found naturally- occurring up to S. Il  in the Shawnee Nat’l Forest (Cache River area).  Quite hardy for our area of Chicago and the suburbs, and quite durable.  Here is a picture captured after an intense rain fall  (close to 3″ in 30 mins.!!!)  in the middle of our drought riddled summer of 2012.  Whew!  What a relief it was for this wetland group and for much of the area, has been VERY dry.   Also seen are Swamp Rose, Black Alder, Swamp Oak (Quercus), and Buttonbush; all native to wetlands.

    Taxodium, quercus, buttonbush, swamp rose, and alder. Larger specimens were planted in the late 80's, and younger plantings are about 8 yrs old.


  3. Hummingbird-hawkmoth, very unusual

    by MAX

    Not to be confused with a hummingbird, this moth (of Lepidopteras) even has a humming sound when close, plus visits blossoms that true hummingbirds are fond of as well. A very cool creature – by adding plants with tubular type blooms, you  too will get these strange fliers in your  landscape and gardens.Common here in western Dupage County.

    in WEst Chicago gardens

    Butt out- sucking up the nectar of the petunia

    orange color wehn wings are beating

    back view, hovering


  4. How to attract Monarchs, and other butterflies

    July 14, 2012 by MAX

    If you plant it they will come.: The Milkweed family is the main food source for the Monarch butterfly. Whether it be the native milkweed:

    Seen in a nitves garden, in Geneva IL

    Plant milkweed for the butterflies!

    Milkweed, (aesculus) fragrant too, similar to lilac?

    plant it, and they will come!

    Or consider: Swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, and Joe Pye weed to attract many various butterflies.


  5. Storm fells much of our tree canopy in Western Dupage area

    by MAX

    This storm (July 1st) produced cat. 2 hurricane force winds, toppling many of our oldest, and largest trees in the area.  Now the clean up has begun, and it is time to evaluate what best to plant to replace our oldest oaks, hickory, cherry etc. (West Chicago seen below, hardest hit, Wheaton, and Glen Ellyn were slammed as well)

    !00 year old  and more West cHicago trees

    this hickory felled right on, and into the barn

    Trees down in Unincorporated Winfield Township

    lane closed:

  6. Trevia (artificial flagstone)- a new option for patios and walkways…

    by MAX

    Seen here at our Aurora project- installation of this Uni-lock product called ‘Trevia’, which resembles natural flagstone, and a perfect fit for those wanting the look of a a natural product, but without the unevenness that often comes with natural stone

    Aurora, Fox valley patio, paver installation ‘Trevia’ flagstone patio in Aurora, Naperville area
    paver, Trevia patio, in the Fox valley area of IL

    Almost -finished project in Aurora Il

    eco friendly option using this sand filler

    HARDSCAPE- patio and landscape , final finish!

  7. Terracing the front beds: using faux (pictured) or natural stone

    July 3, 2012 by MAX

    What a differance a landscape renovation can do for the home’s front!

    A landscape renovation will follow in Aurora, Fox Valley, Naperville Il area

    A new Landscape design will make quite a change here!



    Seen in Aurora Il, Naperville Il landscape.

    New landscape after the renovation!


    Seen here in western Dupage county landscapes

    Shade and sun landscape in Aurora, this stone is lovely!