Site Meter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wet, dry, wet, dry; you think it’s been a bad year for yards and yard work? You are right. There’s been a lot of stress on trees and grass. Somehow weeds seem to thrive no matter what the conditions.

So, in our ever-friendly way we’re going to offer you a couple of suggestions about what should come next. Around here, here being central and lower central Illinois, it’s a big late to re-seed a lawn. We’ve seen lots of plugs cast aside so we know there is a lot of aeration going on. Our suggestion is to schedule aeration for spring. It will do more good then as the next step will be to over-seed the yard. Get your appointment made and mark the calendar. You do know the 2012 calendars are on sale already don’t you.

If you truly are looking to do some fall yard work we commend you. It’s a great time to be outdoors and enjoying the crisp air. Raking leaves seems to be a thing of the past for many who have leaf blowers but what great exercise it is to get out and rustle the leaves into a pile. Do it! If you happen to see children around invite them to jump into the pile. Do it yourself if you can. Remember how it was “back in the day”?

People with trees appreciate them, even if there is some effort of tidying up in the fall. Many do not realize that this is a wonderful time to plant trees. They will get established nicely, develop a good root system and will be nourished by the snow through the winter. Likewise, let’s put in some fresh shrubs and some new perennials for they also will be going dormant soon and will draw their strength for spring growth from the winter moisture.

Here at the nursery, shop and office we are busily creating the wreaths, roping, and other greenery which will soon be taken to our shop in Virden, IL. There’s something about the whiff of evergreen in the air that sets the mood for the next set of holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving. Every year we’ve been in business has proven to be a year of gratitude and this is no exception. We all know there are ups and downs in every situation, in every phase of life. Join us in acknowledging how fortunate and blessed each of us truly is. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, a tradition formally established by President Lincoln in 1863 when he asked the nation to give thanks for the whole country. We all have much for which to give thanks, beginning with our American heritage.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Water - Part of Prairie View

Certainly tis true enough we have seen plenty of water on the prairie fields these past weeks. The rain interrupted other forces of nature. In turn we had a multitude of starts and stops, launching the gardening and landscaping season countless times! At last it appears to be in full swing; just look around you and see for yourself. Irises have been spectacular, lilacs were lush and if the flourish shown in the greenery of day lilies and hostas is any sign of what is to come we are going to enjoy a full palette of color for weeks to come. Get past the cicadas and the extra mowing and it's a beautiful world!

Still, we do live on the flatlands of the midwest and there truly is nothing plainer than the plains. It's up to us to take what is before us (front yards) or in some cases, behind us (back yards) and, well, dress it up a bit. Using imagination to enhance your yard really displays your appreciation for it.

One of our clients chose a natural and dramatic way of diluting the would-be monotony. They put in a pondless fountain. Well, actually, we put it in after they explained what they wanted and how it was to look. Of course it was to look fabulous!

Above you see a long shot, full view of the landscape after our work was finished. True, it was lovely before, with the arch and trees and plantings. And, true, we had a lovely area in which to place the fountain.

  At the end of the day our clients can relax and enjoy the view beyond the porch. There's an ever-flowing fountain creating a waterfall effect both visually and audibly. Here, look at the close up.

We're guessing you'll be able to imagine the sound of the water gently cascading downward. What you don't see is the inner workings which return the water back to the top. It's an easy to care for and easy to maintain system.

What remains is to add some plants which will make the transition from the yard to the fountain smoother and abundant. Then there's nothing left to do but sit back and work on the oooh! and ahhh! factors!

Maybe there's a room needing a view at your home or business. We'll love hearing what you want to do next!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Do You Know or Do You Care?

Back in the 70's (that's the 1970's) a local radio show was named "Do you know or do you care?" We thought it was a good idea then and still do. Here's some of what we came up with:

 It's a great time of the year to visit places such as Lincoln Memorial Gardens or the Botanical Gardens (Washington Park, Spfd, IL or St. Louis, MO).

The monetary award for designing Central Park (NYC) was $2000.

Without the rain we wouldn't have all that is lush and beautiful around us.

A typical 15th century farmhouse in Britain contained the wood of 330 oak trees.

We are animal people!

The "hall" was once not only the most important room in a home, it was the home!

Our nursery is chock full of great plants.

You can celebrate with gifts that grow each and every day.

In the 19th century up to 80% of all household expenditure was spent on food, and up to 80% of that went for bread.

 Every day you have much for which to be thankful.

Chicago is built on mud flats and most older buildings have settled at least a foot unless they are on a "raft".

The tallest brick building ever built is in Chicago: 16 stories with the street level walls being 6 feet thick.

Our lawn service program has begun but you can still sign up.

Thomas Jefferson had 23 different types of peas growing at Monticello and more than 250 kinds of fruits and other veggies.

 Baking soothes the soul. So does planting.

By the close of the 19th century J.D. Rockefeller's personal wealth was increasing by about $1 billion a year (today's money) and there was no income tax. No human being in modern times has been richer.

Raised gardens works!

Each of us needs less than 1 oz of vitamin B-1 to last a 70-80 year lifetime.

It is estimated by some that 60% of today's world's crops originated in the Americas.

Buy local.

We specialize in making ideas become realities.

In 1850 there was no tea being produced in India at all but 50 years later 140 million pounds were being produced.

Queen Caroline (wife of King George II) ordered the Serpentine, a pond which is the first manmade pond in the world designed not to look manmade.

Customer Service is our best product.

After the canal opened to connect NYC with the Great Lakes (via Lake Erie), the cost of shipping a ton of flour from Buffalo, NY to NYC fell from $120/ton to $6/ton and instead of taking 3 weeks to get there it took one.

We thought you'd enjoy some fun facts mixed in with our own business facts!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If you already receive the Constant Contact (which is far from "constant" in our case) then you know we gave some tips on cutting back the ornamental grasses and on splitting daylilies. If you aren't getting the emails then sign up by contacting . We publish something every 4-5 weeks so it's not going to be an intrusion or fill your email box by any means!

We want to keep you focused on your yard so why not provide you with assigned duties? So we give you tips and suggestions and encouragement! After all, if you're investing time in your yard you will appreciate all its glory. Chances are there will be ideas growing as well as plants and trees and grass! That's what we like - you dreaming and figuring out what you want to do next. There's nothing like personalizing the look to match your home and your own style.

Well, we have a few more ideas about the grasses and the lilies and the blog is a great place for posting them.
1. Take a good look at the larger or older ornamental grasses you may have. If they look dead in the middle then it's time to dig them up. Split them and replant in areas where you've noticed there's a need for more "interest". It might be worth offering a portion to friends, neighbors, or family. Maybe one of them makes "to die for" pie and would show their appreciation. You never know.
2. Next, act quickly on the daylily splits. They are growing, well, like weeds. Yes, that fast. So you can tell how thick and clumpy they are going to be this year. Do not hesitate to take action and split them out. You easily will be able to return one part of the clump back in the original hole. Move the others to areas that can use some accent and color. Again, maybe you know people who will enjoy them as much as you do. And, these people may have you over for BBQ when they start up the grill. We're just sayin' - it happens! If you are the recipient of someone else's plant dividing exercise then do something nice for them.

On to even more chores, activities for you to tackle. If you intend to prevent or slow down the invasion of the japanese beetle this summer then now is the time to apply systemic soil drench. It's the only way to get a head start on them. By the way, you'll find we stock it here at the nursery. Talk to a friendly and helpful staffer.

Did we do your decorative concrete edging? We hope so! If you have any at all you should be putting a fresh coat of sealer on it and the best time to do that is when the weather is really great - not too cold, not too hot. Makes sense all the way around, mostly for you!

Oak trees need some attention this time of the year. They'll be leafing out soon and we suggest you prune now because they are still dormant. It won't be long though so grab the pruning shears. Stand back, get a good look at the tree, then tackle the job at hand.

Go out and look around. Enjoy the early and brave flowers that are already in bloom. Feel the joy and energy of a rested and renewed Earth.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

We Were Green Before Kermit the Frog

Finally it seems as if there is a trend towards home gardening - green at its best! After all, done right, you and yours get the benefits in many, many ways. You'll end up with fresh food on the table. Chances are you'll spoil yourselves with the smell of the veggies taken right from the garden to the sink and cutting board and then the table. There is nothing quite like a homegrown tomato. Unless it is part of the full spectrum of freshness you'll be treating yourselves to regularly!
A Song Inspired by Home Grown Tomatoes
You will deserve this and so much more for you'll have your daily exercise keeping that garden looking great. Along with it will be sunshine - the vitamin we all need some of to keep chuggin' along!

Of course you know our nursery is open and we have loads of plants from which to choose. We can talk gardens and gardening all day long, well, till the cows come home as we say out here in the country, land of the rich black soil!

Should you be considering adding shade trees stop on by and let us help you pick out what will enhance your yard. Why, we'll bring the trees you select and plant them for you. Here's an idea: schedule the planting when you schedule your 5 step lawn service.

No doubt you've been wondering where we disappeared to for a couple of months. Well, the truth is Santa wore us out with that "workshop" he had us staffing. We were up to our elf hats in customers wanting trees, greens, wreaths, you know - all the trimmings. So after we were done we took a little R & R because everyone said we should. We're back in great form, ready to go, and as you see below WE ARE HIRING!

We hope you're off to a great springtime. There have been a couple of false starts but a good authority tells us that bright days are not too far off. Put the heavy clothes in storage and start trying on your spring and summer outfits! Be sure to include checking out your outdoor wear - the overalls, tee shirts, garden gloves and hats! (This one's from Yard Lover.) Then, there are the clogs, the mucs, the boots - all needing to be cleaned off because it didn't get done over the winter. Do your tool inventory and gear up for playing in the dirt a bit. We'll tackle your big jobs but we know inside everyone of you there's a kid wanting to make a mud pie or plant annuals.

Lookin' For Work?

We’re Hiring!
Help Wanted: Full time openings for experienced landscape or construction laborers. Must have valid drivers license and ability to do heavy lifting. Salary based on experience. Benefits include: 401k, health insurance, and paid holidays. Great potential for advancement. Call Designer Landscapes, Inc. at 217.227.3256.