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. Another unique (and healthy) Custom Landscape of Elmhurst, Il. from Max

    June 16, 2017 by MAX
    custom landscapes of Elmhurst Il, edmax head landsxcape designer , natural landscapes, using natives for monarch and pollinator friendly habitat.

    Classic  (and newer) Elmhurst, Il. home with vintage architecture followed up w our naturalistic free-form landscape design (2 yrs aft.) using vintage and native species and a rain garden.  Unilock paver called ‘Thornbury’ was used for the patios, and large front paver walkway, plus a Bio-swale (to hold run-off from back) w wetland obligate species and pollinator friendly landscapes!  (Wetland species -Swamp white oak, winterberry, sedges, native wetland species), plus Bur oak (Quercus macro.) for truly majestic trees to frame the house (one day). A truly long-term plan w nature and pollinators in mind.

     

    Designs and consultation by Ed Max, certified arborist, naturalist and head designer of Max’s Greener Places and maxlandscape.com.

     

     

     

     


  3. Rare and beautiful White Ladies Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium candidum), a beguiling and shy native not suited to most of our landscapes

    May 19, 2017 by MAX

    And best left in the wild!, as seen here, and in nice numbers at this rather secluded and secret site near West Chicago, Winfield areas. A super rare native orchid-  mostly due to illegal,(and  bone-headed) harvesting from the wild. When dug in bloom, mortality rate is off the charts.  Endangered in most northern states, l,isted as threatened in Il.,

    Best admired, and photographed, but leave alone and enjoy this cool plant structure!

     

    native and natural landscaping in West Chicago Il, Wheaton Il natural shade beds, landscapes by ed amx

    White ladies slipper mid may 17, and native species of prairies, Midwest landscapes

    A denizen of wet prairies and fen habitats, with few remaining, so habitat is critical.

     


  4. 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.

     

     


  5. Dance of the Wood Betony (Pedicularis), a lovely parasitic native

    by MAX
    Native landscape by ed max, butterlfy gardens of wheaton, glen elly woodland native species, west chicago native landscapes, natural landscape by ed max,

    Swirling beauty! This semi parasitic native of our higher quality prairies is quite a sight in spring.   Easily spotted when little else is in bloom in the prairie or oak savanna.

    • Not a plant easily obtained. Not recommended for most gardens – just a fun plant worth knowing and looking for while hiking.
    • Always buy native species (especially rarer types) from known and reputable growers. Never dig plants (such as betony), as they will most likely drop dead upon arrival to your gardens!
    • Inquire for plant lists and growers whom are local.
    • Designer Ed Max is also cert naturalist plus cert arborist, and designs many gardens , woodlands, and other properties (both traditional and naturalistic) and meshes native with non-native species for wonderful and varied garden and landscape!

  6. A victorian era townhome landscape design- in the Frank Lloyd Wright district of Oak Park , Il

    January 4, 2017 by MAX
    Vintage landscape of Oak Park, Il, River Forest vintage designs, old fashion plantings, Oak Park landscape designs by Ed Max.

    What a gem is this unique 1890’s era townhome in the town of Oak Park, Il. And what a unique opportunity to landscape this small space!
    Located just to the south of a rather significant Frank Lloyd Wright home, this is in the heart of the historic Oak Park area. The front is terraced, and framed out in impressive limestone edgers, dating back over 100 years.                                   The soils are intact- meaning deep loam throughout this area. There were not massive earth moving vehicles then, so we enjoy deep black soils; a rarity out in the suburbs. Back in the day, they just dug a hole to fit the loose stone foundations. Adding the new plants and creating this design was exciting.
    We’ve added in some vintage landscape species here: hydrangea, bulbs, and azalea, but used manay other more ‘modern’ species that fit this small site and shade situation.                            Native species such as Little Bluestem and Prairie Dropseed grasses, Bluebells, Rosanne geranium, and sedges for seasonal color, plus a touch of small but beguiling specie tulip, which do well in these habitats, and naturalize well.

     

     

     

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    designs by landscape designer Ed Max

    Vintage landscapes , new design at this 1890’s era home in Oak Park, Il.

     

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    Contact Ed Max and Max’s Greener Places soon for spring designs ,updated landscapes, seasonal bed care and more.

    Maxlandscape.com. Oak Park, Il, landscape designs by Ed Max


  7. Big Roo (and his flock of hens) in the garden (Chickens in West Chicago, Il.)

    December 26, 2015 by MAX

     

     

    permaculture and edible landscapes by Ed Max

    Chickens in the yard, part of the cycle of Permaculture : a system of natural and mostly organic gardening, of which, chickens can play a vital roll in the whole cycle.


  8. Designer Ed Max’s landscapes in fall, near West Chicago Il.

    December 7, 2015 by MAX
    Edward Max, landscape designer, landscapers of Wheaton and Winfield, using Drought tolerant species for a sun bed , landscape in West Chicago, Winfield, Wheaton Il area,

    Xeriscapes designed by Landscape designer Ed Max of West Chicago Il, and maxlandscape.com: Cactus, thyme, plus dropseeds( Sporobolus)-all planted in this harsh sunny spot and hold up well. Seen in this West Chicago, Il garden in mid season.

     

     

     


  9. Monarda (red, newer cultivar)

    June 29, 2015 by MAX

    Of the mint family, so can be a bit aggressive, but worth the trouble. A spectacular perennial for the sunnier gardens and border beds. Seen here in an Oakbrook cottage garden. Also a magnet for hummingbirds and other pollinators.

    Contact us for landscape renovations and updated plantings. Seen here in an Oakbrook landscape: a cottage garden perennial.

    Perennial beds of Wheaton, ed max, landscaper in West Chicago, maxlandscape.com

    This modern cultivar of Red Monarda grew to 6′ this wet June of 2015. Quite impressive as it towers above the other perennials in this shade/sun bed!


  10. 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.