1. Osage Orange tree (Maclura pom.) Failure – A century and a half year old tree goes down in West Chicago, Il

    November 9, 2017 by MAX

    A tale behind the pictures below:  (with some embellishment).

    Picture this……Originally oak savannah, mixed with occasional tallgrass prairie…… early 1800’s perhaps…..pre-settlement, with sizeable native – American  (in what is today West Chicago Il. ).  Then…….along came settlers and farmers looking for arable, loamy  farmland.      And they found it.     So in the process of clearing and maintaining their holdings (as time went on), by the mid 1800’s the idea of hedgerows came to be the norm.

    And one of the more common and cheap forms of hedgerow materials was Osage Orange, a native to Texas and Oklahoma.  

     

    Tree care near Geneva and Winfield Il, arborist and designers on staff, maxlandscape.com for trees and garden design

    Osage orange tree failed in late October 2017.  There had been storms the past month, but none severe- it was too heavy w/ a co-dominant (or pair of) stems. This tree had been in this spot since the 1800’s…..now an unrecognizable jumble of weedy invasives.

    The farmer would then head out to his or her property borders and plant  the sections of live Osage Orange into the rich earth every few yards, and VIOLA!…..the lifeless (dormant) wood sprang to life. And live they did. For close to 2 centuries! (See annual growth rings pictured). This species was also used (by the U.S. and WCC) as hardy a windbreak during and after the dustbowl in the central U.S., to combat erosion and wind.

    So, if you ever come across a lonely row of Osage Orange along a roadside, or in a neighborhood, remember the lore of the farmer and his hedgerow.  HINT: Look for those odd, and rather decorative lime green fruits in fall. They are produced by the female Osage Orange. Yes, they are sexed- male and female (or dioecious). If you ever have the urge to plant for the fruit- you’ll need both sexes to have fruit. In today’s market, most Osage Orange are of the male clones only, so no fruit. And sadly- up until recently, Osage Orange are hard to come by. But I recommend such trees- as they are hardy, seem to have few insect or disease issues, and live for centuries!

    History of trees  in the Chicago area…..See our native tree list for more info on reliable and sturdy trees for our changing climate in the Midwest. Ed Max is a certified arborist and naturalist, and would be happy to stop out for a consultation. Fall is best time for planting, as is spring.

    Wheaton Il historic trees, native trees , Arborsit and landscape designs

    Osage Orange – ancient hedgerow species of the 1800s, arborist Ed Max tells the tale. Trees of West Chicago, Winfield, Il are his specialty and passion!

    * With a warming climate, and climate change- deciding on a tree for long term benefits is important – use native species such as oak, and hickory. Or Gingko, maple and Cypress.     Ed Max is a certified Arborist and a member of the International Arborist Society, and is a landscape designer in the western suburbs of Chicago.


  2. Bluebells: a naturalizing beauty for any woodland or shade garden setting (seen here in a Wheaton, Il. landscape)

    May 2, 2017 by MAX
    native and natural landscapes, shade gardens of Wheaton

    Bluebells a bloomin!
    Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia) in bloom in Wheaton, Il. mid April. Quite a show. Mertensias  naturalize well, come up all over, then quickly vanish.

    Also a bumblebee magnet. Important and early species, provides important nectar for pollinators. Even competes well with invasive species such as garlic mustard!

    Bluebells (Mertensia virg.)  a native woodland ephemeral, good for wooded, shaded and wetter areas. Will spread well if content. Mix with later blooming plants such as fern, hosta, zig zag goldenrod, shrubs such as Spicebush, witchhazels, and pawpaw.

     

     


  3. Native perennials in this West Chicago Landscape. (Mertensia virg., Bluebells)

    May 5, 2015 by MAX
    native landscapes of West Chicago,  custom design and landscapes of Wheaton,  shade gardens of Winfield

    In this wooded garden ….the Bluebells are thriving and in full bloom on Cinco de Mayo 2015, West Chicago Il, 60185.

    Native landscapes and pathways made of wood. Seen here in the shade garden. Stone and pavers aee also well suited for a shade garden or native landscape.


  4. Native Bloodroot – soon to appear

    March 12, 2014 by MAX

    We can’t wait for this snow to melt. One reason, is that when the soils are exposed to the sun in a woodland garden, Bloodroot, and many other very early spring ephemerals emerge-and quickly, before the trees leaf out. We here at Max’s Greener Places and maxlandscape.com try to incorporate native species into the landscape where at all possible. Reasons are: beneficial for all poliinators (many of which are on the decline), no need for additional water once established, and for their incredible beauty!

    Bloodroot  (Sanguniaria can).red juice from the root. Was utilized by native Americans in many ways.

    Dupage county natives, maxlandscape.com natives

    A native of our northern hardwoods and used in our landscape designs at maxlandscape.com , seen in Glen Ellyn, Wheaton shade gardens

     


  5. Oak Park /River Forest Landscapes:

    February 13, 2014 by MAX
    oak park landscapers, maxlandscape.com

    Utilized many of the existing plants to renovate this charming old home

    landscapers, oak park, maxlandscape.com

    another vintage landscape utilizing native and vintage plants, plus new intros, all to create a colorful and lively landscape

    We are the design/landscapers that have been creating wonderful, and fun landscape settings in Oak Park for years:

     


  6. A West Chicago garden progressional bloom (late winter through late spring:

    February 10, 2014 by MAX
    West Chicago landsacaper

    West Chicago landscapers choice here. Easy to establish, first to bloom!

    Witch hazels of the midwest

    Non native, but a beaut. Blooms in the dead of a West Chicago winter!

    name refers to the blood like sap in the root

    The earliest of native blooms in the Oak Brook, Hinsdale shade garden

    landscaping west chicago, maxlandscape.com

    A woodland of West Chicago Il

    An eye-catching flower, blooming in late May

    An eye-catching flower, blooming in late May

    Mid April in the West Chicago wildflower woodland garden, full on natives, and daffodil/.

    Mid April in the West Chicago wildflower woodland garden, full on natives, and daffodil/.

     

     

     

     

     


  7. Garden Structures (functional or not) can lend to the scenery and enhance the landscape.

    January 7, 2014 by MAX

    Natural landscapes enhanced by the bridge, maxlandscape.com

    Functional as well as handsome. Made from native materials found on site.

    Structures in the garden can add interest and aid in drawing the eye to a part of the garden that might otherwise go unnoticed. Here we have a naturalistic wooden bridge- functional too, spanning a wetland and  made from materials found on sight: limbs &  lg logs from rot-resistant species such as Black Locust (Robinia), Walnut, and Oak. Not only do bridges, sheds, or scultpures add color and folly, but also give the landscapes an additional line of sight and can help pull it all together!

     


  8. Landscape design for 2014- now is the time to plan for spring,so give us a shout!

    December 12, 2013 by MAX

    We’d be happy to meet and  discus your landscape need: be it a new patio or a paver/brick driveway, garden walls, a new shade garden, or maybe an updated garden.  We also do consultation, and offer professional arborist advice. Click on photo.

    Shade gardens, Naperville Il, woodland gardens

    We incorporated sedges, grasses, lg. hostas, perennials, hydrangeas and more to this semi-shaded area. We first pulled many invasive shrubs such as buckthorn and honeysuckle


  9. Visions of a colorful spring to come (don’t I wish)!

    December 8, 2013 by MAX

    It just finished snowing….and it’s only Dec. 8. Ouch. A long winter ahead? Would do some good if it were severe enough to knock back pest insect populations, reduces rodent populations and on and on….but for now, let’s just pretend it’s nearing that magical spring moment as the sun warms the earth in say…late March:

    Woodlands of West Chicago, Winfiled landscapes, woodland landscapes

    Small lemon-drop sized yellow blooms, the aconite is one of the first to appear. Multiplies readily. Non-native species


  10. Oakbrook Landscape Projects: patio and water feature (pondless) phases seen below

    December 5, 2013 by MAX
     
    A water feature has all the effects of a pond, but without the open water. Attracts wildlife as well.

     

    Oakbrook landscaping pond, patios, stone walks

    Will need a year or two to fill in. Using low grow native dropseed grasses, juniper, geranium, thyme, Asters

     

    Oakbrook, Downers Grove Il, landscapes

    Natural stone added to this waterfall, pondless water featrure. Sedges (Carex) are a good choice, esp. if the area is moist.