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. Fall colors soon? Time for the fall clean up too? And its time to get the correct pruning practices too, on woody shrubs and trees

    October 17, 2017 by MAX

    With a 3 month drought, followed by well over a half foot of water in one day (Oct 12th)- the tree canopy is stressed to say the least.  And let us not forget the opening of 2017, and the lack of regular winter conditions….2017 has not been of the norm….far from it. Is this the new normal regarding climate change going forward?

    Of course, this stresses out trees and most woody species.

    clean up, fall services , landscape clean up, wheaton il,

    A Glen Ellyn Il fall landscape, witch-hazel in color.

    Wheaton, Winfield fall landscape are fall clean up

    Green Mountain Sugar Maple 14 yrs aft install
    A sturdy native species, good fall colors, seen here in a Wheaton fall landscape

    That said –  my bet is we have a rather lackluster fall color display.  And with the ongoing warmth and wonderful weather (who can complain…. mid Oct,  and nary a forsty morn to date)  So,  who dares complain?  When the fall leaf pick up and seasonal bed care comes on, get in touch. We can set up for the clean up and leaf removal. Designs needs too? Winter season is best for us to begin the landscape design process , and get an early jump in spring. Get in touch soon!

     

     


  3. Liveliest colors in fall blooming aster, and pollinators love them all!

    September 25, 2017 by MAX

    New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is one of the Midwestern natives and late blooming. Showy purple blooms w an orange eye. Deer resistant too! Grows to 3 or 4 ft, good for background , rear of sun beds.

    Also very drought resistant. Bees love them, as do monarchs which seek out all aster for late season food source.

    native species, natural landscapes by Ed Max, maxlandscape.com

    Late blooming native perennial, hardy, offers some of the best color in the late gardens.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Contact us soon for advice on late season colors, designs, and pollinator friendly habitats!

     

     

    native aster, woods aster of Wheaton landscapes

     

    Contact us

     


  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. Fine foliage of the Maidenhair Fern (seen in this Wheaton Il. shade garden)

    January 2, 2017 by MAX
    Woodland species, native ferns of the Chicagoland area, native landscapes by Ed Max and max's greener places

    Maidenhair fern has an unusual leaf, with black stems. Landscape designer Ed Max’s favorite native fern.

     

    Contact Max’s Greener Places for spring designs and installations!

     


  7. Japanese maples extend colors into late fall here in the West Chicago landscapes of Ed Max

    December 5, 2016 by MAX
    West Chicago landdscaping, native woodlands, landscaping with trees and shrubs. Landscapes by Edward Max of West Chicago

    Here on our wooded landscape, nothing comes close in intensity than autumnal foliage change of the Japanese maples. Providing that continuation of color in the landscapes here in West Chicago & Winfield region, and in your own landscapes. The small maple (Acer ) group are easy to grow, prefer deep rich soils and some protection from hot mid-day suns.

     

     


  8. 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.


  9. Great Fritillaries of the woodland gardens, mingling with native bluebells , A Downers Grove shade garden teeming with shade plants, native species, and bulbs , designed by Ed Max, Max’s Greener Places

    December 23, 2015 by MAX
    spring bulbs in the woodland gardens, and along the landscpae paths

    Great Fritillaries are not a common spring bulb for the perennial gardens and are rarely seen in our area. (CLICK on PIC)
    Plant in fall, in deep loamy soils, full or part sun, and that’s it!
    They stand high above the surrounding native bluebells seen here, and the bees love them!
    Seen here in Max’s woodland gardens in West Chicago.


  10. Our Oak Park landscapes 2015 (by Max’s Greener Places, Ed Max)

    December 22, 2015 by MAX
    landscapes and patios design, oak park, il, maxlandscape.com

    Oak Park Il vintage looking pavers utilized to compliment the new addition to the rear of this 110+ yr old home.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a look of vintage Oak Park and River Forest of the early 1900's.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a feel of an earlier time in Oak Park and River Forest. This clay paver holds up well under our Chicagoland climate.

     

    Winter is the time to begin consultation and designs for your new landscapes in 2016. Call or email Ed now!