1. Consider more landscapes, and less lawn: beneficial not just in less humdrum lawn, but better for habitat (less chems).

    April 10, 2019 by MAX
    Interesting article and numbers in this NYT article:
    By Ronda Kaysen
    Spring is here, and that means millions of Americans will soon be seeding, fertilizing and mowing their grass.
    America has a lot of lawns. Add them all together, and they’d cover an area roughly the size of Florida, making grass the most common irrigated plant in the country. And all that grass comes with an environmental cost.
    To keep weeds at bay, homeowners dumped around 59 million pounds of pesticides onto their residential landscapes in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some of those leach into the waterways, potentially exposing children and pets to harmful chemicals.
    Grass is thirsty, too. Americans use about 7 billion gallons of water a day, a third of all residential water consumption, to irrigate. Roughly half of that water is wasted because of runoff, evaporation or overwatering. And then there’s the mowing, edging and leaf blowing. According to a study by Quiet Communities, a nonprofit group, that equipment, mostly powered by gas, emitted 26.7 million tons of pollutants into the atmosphere in 2011. Those emissions contribute to climate change.
    Despite the time and resources needed to maintain a tidy lawn, they provide no habitat for bees, butterflies or the birds that feed on the insects.
    “Lawns are a significant environmental problem,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “We put in these lawns, and we basically turned these important habitats into dead zones.”
    The good news is: You don’t necessarily have to let your yard go wild, or dig the whole thing up to plant rocks, in order to lower your environmental impact.
    You can reduce your lawn by chipping away one weekend and one season a time, dedicating a few of the hours you might normally spend caring for your lawn to planting native grasses, shrubs, trees, flowers and food.
    Consider replacing some of that needy grass with a low-maintenance ground cover like clover, creeping thyme, mint or strawberry. You can also plant a tree and surround it with a bed of mulch. If you already have trees on your property, you could put in shade-loving plants — like hostas, ferns, impatiens and primrose — below the canopy.
    Before you head to the nursery to buy any new grass, plant, shrub or tree, try to choose something that’s native to your area and not an invasive species. If you’re not sure, punch your ZIP code into the Native Plant Finder, which is managed by the National Wildlife Federation.
    Another option for reducing lawn area is to start a flower bed or a kitchen garden. The beauty of these plots is that they can start small and expand a bit each season. Plus, they look great, you can get fresh food and herbs, and they’ll support butterflies, bees and birds.
    Whatever you plant, avoid pesticides and aerate the soil instead. Fertilize grass with leaf clippings and accept that you may need to coexist with dandelions. 
    landscape with no lawn
    Spring time in a near-lawn- less garden

    Bluebells and other bulbs, ephemerals etc will vanish by May, then mow as usual.

    Contact us about landscaping with less lawn, we have solutions!


  2. Parasitic beauty of our rare black earth prairies- Wood Betony (Pedicularis)

    May 10, 2018 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 on the prairie. Easily spotted when little else is in bloom in the prairie or oak savanna.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Native species, landscaping with natives, pollonator friendly species, native landscapes by ed max, natural landscape design by max's greener places, oakbrook il native landscapes

    Its hard to not take photos of this beauty of our natural prairies

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mid-spring is the best time to find these small and colorful blooms. Usually found in moist mesic prairie habitats in a handful of areas around the Chicagoland area.

     

     


  3. An heirloom landscape for a historic home in old Wheaton, Il.

    May 5, 2017 by MAX

    And what a project it was!  Seen here some 3 to 4 years after. The azaleas,  native redbuds, and serviceberry  (Amelanchier) all add the bright spring colors of this garden. The stone wall was on site , just had to be discovered and dug , then reset! We love doing significant homes , and enjoy researching to discover the proper plant types to fit this home and its architecture. Designed in 1895 by famous architect of the day- Jarvis Hunt. Orig. part of the Chicago Golf Club.

     

    traditional and historic landscapes of Wheaton, Il., custom designs by ed max

    Vintage and historic landscaping in Wheaton Il, and its old neighborhoods

    Cottage gardens of Wheaton, Wheaton landscape design

    Historic home in Wheaton, Il., Vintage landscapes are now 3 yrs old, designed by Ed Max, landscape designer


  4. Illinois State Champion White Oak (Quercus a.) near McNabb, Il.

    May 2, 2017 by MAX

    What a monster! To stand near this great plant is awesome! Thought to be at least 350 to 400 yrs old. SW of Starved Rock in the entrance to a farmhouse, you too can see it, near the roadside.

    native oaks, record size trees of Illinois

    Record size state champ, White oak. A very lg. tree.

     

    Oaks are an important species in the Midwest and in the Chicagoland area. Encourage oak planting. Many species rely on the oak for food and shelter. The native population of most oak species is on the decline due to disease, changing climate and especially due to invasive species such as buckthorn and Asian honeysuckle. Little to no regeneration of oaks means that as the large specimens as een here decline, we stand to lose a true legacy tree of the Midwest. Red , bur and white oak were the oak species most common a century ago, when fire was a common occurrence on the prairie.

    Today, with lack of fire, they are losing ground. So plant an oak today!

     


  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. Buttonbush (a native shrub for wet areas) Oakbrook landscape and wetland seen:

    February 26, 2017 by MAX

    And (as seen here), a butterfly magnet. Cool bloom in summer, drab yellow in fall. Masses in sunnier wets and you’re on to something interesting and beneficial to the local pollinators . Landscape with natives, as seen in this Oak Brook landscape  and wetland area.

    Bee gardens, native plantings by Ed Max, arborist and naturalist.

    In this Oakbrook landscape project we added wetland tolerant and native species, plus more traditional species- all of which help out the local butterfly and insect populations. Call for a native or Bee garden today!

     

    Contact us soon for a design, or consultation and list of native species for your gardens!

     


  7. Native species for our native places (like that unsightly border you view out there)

    February 11, 2017 by MAX

    Shade beds, native wildflowers of our woodlands, low maint. ,

    Natural landscapes, with Redbud, bluebells, native plants!

    How many borders do we all stare out at that LACK any sort of function or beauty? Suburbia is loaded with nasty untended and overgrown borders between properties. Full of mulberry (origin: China), Buckthorn (origin: Eurasia), Various honeysuckles (Origin: Asia). None of which do anything but cost monies to remove or maintain.

    Why not cut it out, plant in something worth looking at, AND benefits the local wildlife such as pollinators and monarchs, song birds etc? As I write the statistics bear out some grim news: monarch populations down 80 -90% in the last 25 years, hundreds of song birds- all on the decline.  YOU can help by renovating that border: plant in native shrubs, add a swath of native perennials and prairie species, even add some evergreen for screening (and cover for birds). It’s fun, and rewarding! Contact me for a list of native plants, for color, and healthful attributes for the birds and bees! Pictured is a red monarda in this Naperville landscape design.

    Native Naperville landscapes by Ed Max, maxlandscape.com

    Monarda hybrid (but still a native) is a true magnet for all pollinators, hummingbirds, and butterflys.                         Plant native species !

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Contact us for a list of beneficial trees, shrubs and native perennials for your gardens soon!