Gardeners pause to reflect during this season of thanks
Garden designer Patti Kirkpatrick at the Joliet Birdhaven Greenhouse and Conservatory in Joliet, Ill., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. Kirkpatrick helps design and plant the hummingbird garden and indoor displays. (David Pierini/Chicago Tribune / November 18, 2010)
Mother Nature's gifts
Garden designer Patti Kirkpatrick, who helps design and plant the hummingbird garden and indoor displays at the Bird Haven Greenhouse and Conservatory in Joliet, is grateful for the "Black Scallop" ajuga (Ajuga reptans "Black Scallop"). It's a "living mulch," she says, "and the 'Black Scallop' is truly black."
Kirkpatrick also is thankful for the great volunteers who help with plant sales, and, she adds, "Most of all, I am thankful to be working with Mother Nature as an artist's medium. It is ever-changing, always challenging, most rewarding. Just to enhance her work, be it for a short time, is such an opportunity. And the appreciation of others who enjoy it is beyond words."
Visit the Bird Haven Greenhouse, 225 N. Gougar Road, Joliet. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily; closed holidays. Check out jolietpark.org or call 815-741-7278.
Landscape architect Scott Mehaffey is thankful for a garden magazine he picked up while in college. "I had been designing and building sets, setting lights and running sound boards when I realized that I wanted to make real places that would last longer than a few weeks," says Mehaffey, director of project development (landscape initiatives and legislative affairs, working in the natural resources & water quality division) for the city of Chicago. "I picked up the debut issue of Garden Design magazine, and I was hooked. I do think my tech theater background still influences me — I pay a lot of attention to scale and perspective, architectural style and site furnishings — and to lighting, of course."
One word of wisdom from Mehaffey's designing side: Get the garden on paper before planting. He says the adage "It's easier to move a plant with a pencil than a shovel" rings as true as "Measure twice, cut once." "A good gardener must also be a good planner," he says.
Check out Garden Design magazine at gardendesign.com.
"I am thankful for the large size container of red pepper flakes that they sell at Costco," says Lora Lee Gelles, whose garden received first prize in this year's garden contest sponsored by the village of Orland Park. "When we are at the height of 'bunny' season, I sprinkle it all over the tender emerging perennials and the newbie annuals that I have planted. 'Ahhh chooo!'"
For more pest-deterrent ideas, go to the University of Illinois Extension Web site: web.extension.illinois.edu/state/hort.html.
Jim Ault is thankful that he discovered the many fascinating aspects of the genus Lilium.
"My wife and I stumbled on the lily show at the Botanic Garden, and we were blown away," says Ault, plant breeder and director of ornamental plant research at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. He has since joined the North American Lily Society and the Wisconsin- Illinois Lily Society and has read everything about lilies from garden magazines to scientific journals.
The couple's backyard in Libertyville has become a breeding ground featuring hundreds of lilies in different sizes, shapes and colors as well as fragrances. "The whole plant breeding thing gets under your skin, and I can't walk away from it at the end of the day."
Learn more about lilies at the North American Lily Society Web site, lilies.org.
Hotbed of horticulture
"I am very thankful for having had the chance to work at The Morton Arboretum because of all the work the scientists, employees and volunteers do to ensure the conservation of our natural world," says horticulturist and designer Sue Miller of Geneva. She credits the Arboretum's former landscape architect, Tony Tyznik, as a source of inspiration.