February 2, 2007


Autumn shot of my Asian pear tree which
prodAAuced a bumper crop of 17 pears in its second season.

Garden Quote : " Far beyond hope the Spring is kind again, Lovely beyond the longing of my eyes. "-Margaret Cropper

The garden center is a treasure trove of knowledge. I am lucky to be within walking distance of one of Chicago's largest and finest -Gethsemane Garden Center at 5739 N. Clark Street.

This is a new blog so you may not have guessed it yet, but yes, it is a kind of DIY or self-help site that intends to inspire and encourage novice gardeners . Besides, all you seasoned jaded gardeners, landscape artists , horticulturist , arborists, etc. already know everything anyhow.

For the novice gardener who doesn't want to pay the big bucks to garden designers like me, I offer these words of advice on how to accomplish a beautiful landscape at minimal cost by perusing the free services offered by Gethsemane garden center. First you must do your homework.

Homework : Begin with just one area of your property and concentrate on that. Make a sketch showing where your house is located, as well as any major trees, shrubs, hardscapes such as sidewalk or patio, fences, etc. Measure the length and width of the area and indicate the exposure ( north, south, etc.) . Observe how much sun/shade the area gets ( do this in early summer ) and how long it gets it . Make digital photos at various angles and print them out.

Now, get thee to Gethsemane and go directly to the Tree and Shrub division with drawing in hand and say, " Help me, please, somebody help me. " Caution : Do not do this on weekends from April to June because it is a madhouse and you'll not be able to get the attention you deserve from one of their designers. They open late in the evenings during the Spring and Summer so go when its not so hectic.

Not only will you be advised on what tree or shrub should go where, their accomodating staff will help you select , deliver and even plant it if you so wish. And, furthermore they will refer you to the pros in the other departments such as perennials ( plants that come back every year if you're lucky ! ) and annuals ( those you have to plant every year ) to fill out the color in your design.

As a Gethsemane " groupie " from the day they opened many moons ago I figure I've dropped a king's ransom there both in my personal garden and my client's. Like many of my fellow Chicagoans I just cannot pass that place without stopping in and picking up a " few things. "

When my husband sees me coming home with new plant purchases he declares that there is not any room to put them. He's always amazed that I find some.

1 comment:

  1. I came upon your post and it found it very formative. I aspire to be a gardener. I have a question for you, My back patio has weeds that keep growing in the crevices of the bricks.I want to be able to sit outside on my patio and enjoy the sunshine, but not with the weeds. Any suggestions as to how to get rid of the pesty weeds for good? I have tried all kinds of weed killers. Thanks.


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