1. Native trees of Illinois: The Famous White oak of McNab Illinois. The State Champion oak tree – and what a tree it is!

    January 18, 2019 by MAX
    White oak state champion tree seen by Ed Max in McNab Il, SW of Starved Rock.
    An incredible specimen. And the photo does not do justice. This White Oak 
    (native to Illinois and the Midwest ) is the largest of its species, 
    nearly 120 ft across!
    The white oak is a durable oak, and can grow to immense size as
    seen here. White oak or Quercus alba has a small acorn, and helps
    to support 100’s of species ; from mammals to fungi, to insects.
    And important species that we should be using much more in our
    urban and suburban landscapes, where space allows.
    A species for the future:
    As the climate continues to warm, the White oak may be a suitable landscape tree (native to the south), able to tolerate a tougher, drier, warmer climate going forward.





    Plant an oak today! Call Arborist Ed Max to set up a consultation on caring for your oaks, or for installing a few new red, bur or white oak, in your landscapes.


  2. The newest Illinois state champion tree: the lg. 200 year old Cottonwood near Byron Il. (plus the previous state champ…the giant bald cypress of the Shawnee, est to be nearly 1250 yrs old)

    January 3, 2019 by MAX

    The Champ- a huge, two-stemmed Cottonwood (Champ trees are determined by their height, trunk circumference, and crown spread (points x 3 categories) which totals to make this giant the largest tree in the state of Illinois.

    A Native Cottonwood- and largest tree of Illinois. There are dozens of native trees in Ill, and few grow the size of Cottonwoods, or as fast.
    Quite a giant; situated in a protected valley, near gravel prairies, and wind swept hilltops. An easy trip from the Chicagoland area. That’s me, Perspective: That’s me, Ed, in the pic….and Im 6ft 4″.

    Cottonwoods (Populus Deltoides) can grow to enormous size and usually the tallest trees of the urban forests and wilderness areas of the Chicagoland region. Perching birds (eagles, hawks, owls) can often be seen in tall cottonwoods as they are great vantage points for spying prey, and awesome roosts!
    Fond of water, they are usually found along stream beds or low-lying areas that rarely dry. Also found in the arroyos of the SW, and the wetlands of the east….a vast territory for this species.

    New clones of cottonwood can be found for sale, though usually male, so as not to create the dreaded ‘cotton’ plumes of summer.

    Discovered a few years ago, near the Bald Hill Prairie thus knocking out the Cache river Bald Cypress (seen below) ….another serious giant, found in the watery backwaters in the Cache (the everglades of the north) in the Shawnee N.F..

    The Cache swamps are the northerly- most naturally occuring wetlands containing bald cypress and tupelo in North America. Taxodium can be found all the way to the keys in So. Florida, and along the gulf. Their range can be extended north into southern Wisconsin if placed in the right conditions.

    In the Chicagoland area; cypress are popular as street trees, landscape specimens and a great tree for wet areas.

    They can grow for a millenia!

    Bald cypress are fond of water- and will grow for centuries, or perhaps thousands of years if lucky.
    State champ bald cypress Il, 36 ft circ. 1200 yr old! Seen here with some from the Illinois Native Plant Society Annual gathering in 2016.

  3. Think spring (and plan for it now) New landscapes, garden designs, revisit that old shade garden

    February 14, 2018 by MAX

    And NOW is the time to get in touch! We offer landscape designs, patio layout, paver renovations, Woodland and natural landscapes, plus shade gardens, and perennial bed installations: Wheaton, Geneva, Naperville, Oak Park, and many more communities where our landscapes can be seen. ED is also an arborist, so we can talk tree health and plant health!

    maxlandscape.com, West Chicago native wildflower

    Pure white blooms in mid spring, native to Winfield, West Chicago woodland areas

     

    We offer native and shade garden designs, to liven up those darker corners of the property,


  4. 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.

     


  5. A woodland garden comes into bloom

    April 30, 2017 by MAX

     

     

    wheaton il landscape comapnies, wheaotn il designers

    Shade gardens and wooded landscape renovations. Adding in azaleas, redbud, native perennials, and hydrangeas.

     

    shade gardens , bleeding heart,

    shade gardens , bleeding heart,


  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. Snowdrops make an early winter appearance in this West Chicago wooded landscape!

    January 31, 2016 by MAX

    native landscapes of Wheaton, West Chicago landscape design, ed max design guy

    West Chicago landscape with Snowdrops peeking through the snow as of late January of 2016!

     

    Landscaping in the woodlands and shaded areas can be challenging. With the right plant combos, there will be color from late winter through fall.

    Call or email now for a landscape consultation and design.

     

     


  8. The benefits of fire on this small remnant prairie in Carol Stream, Il, lit by naturalist Ed Max and crew of Max’s Greener Places

    December 21, 2015 by MAX

    caring for rare plants and controlled burns by Ed Max of West Chicago, Il., prairie plants and fire.

    Fire is the key ingredient to maintaining these few prairie remnants we have left in the Chicagoland area, like this one near Wheaton and Carol Stream IL,
    Experienced naturalist and landscape designer Ed Max led his team on this annual burn. As seen in this picture…it was a success!
    Fire keeps the invasives at bay, and recycles the old growth and debris.
    See maxlandcape.com for more on caring for your open spaces.

    Contact Ed Max for advice and ideas for your prairie, and adding native  species to your landscape palette.

     

     

     

     


  9. Fire in the natural landscape: essential

    April 16, 2015 by MAX

    native lanndscapes and management by Ed max, maxlandscape.com

    An incredible remnant patch of virgin prairie, smack dab in the middle of an otherwise drab and industrialized area next to a very old pioneer cemetery.

     

    Fire, herbicide and labor are the only things we have to save gems filled with a rare habitat such as this virgin patch of prairie. Without intervention, this prairie would be overrun with invasive species, thus shading out the incredible array of plant species that can be found in St. Stephens Prairie, near the cemetery. Not often do we find a patch of undisturbed land from the 1800’s and perhaps long before that!

     

     


  10. Bloodroot: a native of fleeting beauty

    April 10, 2015 by MAX

     

     

     

    native plants, in a woodland landscape of West Chicago Il, maxlandscape.com,  Ed Max arborist, landscape design in Wheaton, Il

    A native wildflower – Bloodroot ( Sanguineria), has a bright daisy like bloom, very short bloom period, but well worth the effort to establish.

     

     

    landscape design near West Chicago and Wheaton il,

    Just emerging native bloodroot, a wonderful addition to the early Shade garden

    Native wildflowers – also call ‘Spring Ephemerals, inhabit our better quality woodlands, especially oak woodlands, where these fleeting blooms have evolved under the boughs of oaks since the last of the glaciers receded some 10,000 years ago. Their moji is to sprout, bloom, germinate, collect energy for their reserves, and then decline to dormancy: all before the elaves fully emerge above! Whew! Hence the reason to get out into your local oak grove to witness their fleeting beauty!