1. A fall season like no other (except last fall?). So that’s TWO wet, cold, snowy fall seasons in a row- what is going on?

    November 25, 2019 by MAX

    Below is a copy of an older blog from a year ago- when we had several snow events, loads of wet days, and very cold temps. Sounds like a broken record-? Fast forward to this November: already have had 2 snow events (one on Halloween), with unreal cold in late October……4 above zero in the far western suburbs.

    Bitternut hickory (Carya) foliage, like so many other species-were still in leaf when the snows came, followed by single digit temps. Many trees and shrubs did not lose leaves, as they froze on the branches. Long term consequences of 2 years of freakish cold so early? TBD.

    With dramatically wetter weather throughout the Great lakes region (ie: record high levels on Lake Michigan), there are also those wild temperature swings (as in early cold spells, polar vortexes etc) and early snowstorms. Much seems to be due to unusual jet streams, and climate change. And as these crazy patterns continue, we see more changes (and damage) to our tree canopy and to the natural communities ( discordant insect vs bird migrations, continually wet soils etc). On the traditional landscape plant list – the damage from early 2019 record low temps (polar vortex) killed off many plant types we have come to love (and perhaps overplant) for decades: boxwood, ornamental Asian maples, Chinese dogwood, and the list goes on…..

    Conclusion: as the climate warms, we had come to accept the idea of planting species accustom to southern and warmer climes. No longer. Conjecture has it that the phenomenon known as the ‘polar vortex’ will continue in future winter months of the upper Midwest, thus knocking back, or killing off southern species. So what to do?

    Perhaps sticking to native species such as *oak, hickory and other hardy northern species- the damage may be lessened? Continuing to plant tender species (Acer palm., Cornus kousa, buxus sp. etc) may be an unwise long- term plan.

    * Plant oaks- help sequester carbon, cool and cleanse the air, and slow the heavier rain loads. Oaks also support more species than any other tree species. Contact us to discuss what species best suits your situation.

    Below- NWS info from 2018:

    PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
    1332 PM CST SAT DEC 1 2018

    …A Look Back at the Climate for Meteorological Fall (September,
    October, November) 2018 for Chicago and Rockford…

    At Chicago, the average high temperature for the fall season was
    59.3 degrees, which is 2.5 degrees below the 1981 to 2010 average.
    The average low temperature was 44.8 degrees, which is 1.6 degrees
    above normal. The mean temperature for the season was 52.1 degrees,
    which is 0.4 degrees below normal.

    A total of 11.68 inches of precipitation was recorded during this
    past fall, which is 2.17 inches above normal. There was a total of
    12.7 inches of snow recorded at Chicago, which is 11.3 inches above
    normal.

    Records established or tied during the fall months:

    September: Record daily high temperature of 93 degrees on the 20th.

    October: Record daily precipitation of 1.56 inches on the 1st.

    November: Record daily precipitation of 1.20 inches on the 26th.

    At Rockford, the average high temperature was 58.1 degrees, which is
    3.8 degrees below normal. The average low temperature was 40.8
    degrees, which is 0.3 of a degree below normal. The mean temperature
    for the season was 49.4 degrees, which is 2.1 degrees below normal.

    A total of 13.02 inches of precipitation was recorded during this
    past fall, which was 4.42 inches above normal. In addition, a total
    of 15.8 inches of snow was recorded, which is 14 Inches above normal.

    Records established or tied during the fall months:

    September: None.

    October: Record daily precipitation of 1.65 inches on the 1st.
    Record daily low temperature of 22 degrees tied on the 22nd.
    Record daily precipitation of 1.36 inches on the 30th.

    November: Record daily snowfall of 1.8 inches on the 9th.
    Record daily snowfall of 2.1 inches on the 17th.
    Record daily snowfall of 11.7 inches on the 25th.

    Record Snowfall of 15.8 inches for the fall season.

    (Thanks to the NWS)


  2. Hardy Cactus in the Chicagoland landscape. One of designer and naturalist Ed Max’s favorite native perennials; as seen in this Oak Park Il prairie landscape

    December 21, 2015 by MAX

    Opuntia (Prickly Pear cactus) is a native of sandier habitats within the Chicagoland Wilderness. Adding them into your drier, sunnier beds will add a blast of lemon yellow blooms in late spring, followed by the edible fruit in late summer. Super hardy, just averse to wet conditions, so placement is important.

    landscape with natives , Ed Max is an arborist, naturalist and landscape designer from Wheaton, and Naperville Il.

    Native, spiny, and edible cactus in the landscapes of West Chicago, and St. Charles. Landscape designer Ed Max uses this unusual native often. Easy to care for- just be sure its in a well drained and sunny location! This perennial can be  part of your drier locations too with little fuss.

    Bloom time: late spring , early summer. Easy to care for, just a bit spiny!

     

     


  3. Ancient white pine of the U.P. of MI. (the Porkies). White pine in the landscapes of the Midwest.

    October 28, 2015 by MAX

    Within part of a lg swath of old growth forest dwells giants:
    white pine (P.strobus) at 150 ft.n 400 year plus yrs old, 300 yr old Hemlock (Tsuga can.), Massive Yellow birch,Striped maple, and majestic Sugar maples.
    Seen here along the Little Carp Trail Fall 2015

    native pines in our landscapes of the Wheaton area, vergreens and poine are important parts of a good landscape design

    150 ft plus 400 yr old + white pine pinus strobus


  4. 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!

     


  5. Natural landscapes in Downers Grove Il and the suburban gardens come alive:

    April 7, 2014 by MAX

    landscape company in Oak Brook, Il

    Species crocus bloom quite early, and spread nicely (Oak Brook IL)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Species crocus, spring native wildflowers, daffodils, and aconites: all coming into bloom soon. The snows have finally gone, though there are STILL many areas here that are still frozen, but the bulbs have popped anyway!. The aconites have peaked by now, and the snowdrops are 6″ tall. Daffodils are up but need a warm day to pop. Soon!!!!

    Helebores are unfurling:

    Helebores, also called 'Lenten Rose', right on schedule!

    Helebores, also called ‘Lenten Rose’, right on schedule!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  6. What’s in bloom in a Wheaton Il landscape: An early naturalizer worth knowing

    April 3, 2014 by MAX

    landscape company in Wheaton, Il, maxlandscape.com

    A Wheaton Il shot of a non native but lovely bulb called an aconite.

    And it is called Aconite. Winter aconite to some. Spreads in the wooded garden, very early to emerge, usually in bloom by mid March.

     


  7. 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

     


  8. Witch-hazel ‘Jelena’ (Hammemalis med.), unusual, very early to bloom, so interesting!

    March 9, 2014 by MAX

    shrubs, trees, arborist , maxlandscape.com

    The earliest of any blooming plant in this West Chicago garden. Click on pic to  enlarge.

    A very cool plant- you will not find any other witch-hazel or other species of plant that blooms earlier, none! Fragrant too. And the bonus is that fabulous red/burgundy fall color!  Vase shaped habit, likes a bit of shade, growing to 8′ x 8′. One of Ed’s favorites!

     

     


  9. Wetland combinations only Mother Nature can create:

    January 16, 2014 by MAX

    BUT, there is no reason why we cannot imitate! Here we see a native stand of Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus)  and Marsh marigold (Caltha) thriving in a wetland setting in spring. If you have an area that remains wet (even standing water), this combo of incredible and rather rare plant species will thrive, in a wooded area or in full to part shade. Wetland plantings attract numerous species of insects and butterflies, and retention of water on the property great as it slows the flow of waters, and filters through the vegetation. CLICK on the picture to enhance view.

     

    Rain gardens, native wetlan plants, maxlandscape.com
    What a sight after a long winter. Skunk cabbage is known to literally ‘melt’ it’s way through the snows of late March to access sunlight. Here we see a mid April setting , with the Marsh marigold in full bloom. Attracts bees and early pollinators when little else in in bloom so early.

     


  10. 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