Planting outside the box

My first official post had to reflect my plant nerd tendencies just a little bit.  As a designer, I am guilty of planting some very similar plantings that I know are sure to do well in the average yard.  We all love our Autumn Blaze Maples and Ornamental Pears.  While that in itself is no crime, the creative in me screams for something new.  Here are five trees that you may not find in your neighbor’s backyard.

White Fringe Tree

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I love it because the flowers give it a feathery appearance from far away.  It blooms in late May or Early June, which is later than most and is adaptible to moist areas.

Lacebark Pine

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This pine tree has the coolest mottled bark.  It takes time to reveal it’s true colors and I have never used it in a client’s home due to the difficulty of finding it for purchase.  It makes an awesome focal feature in the landscape, especially after the bark ages.

Tina Crabapple

The Tina Crabapple in the foreground hardly looks like a Crabapple at all, but rather a large shrub.  The Tina Crab can be in a shrub form or a small tree.  The best part is they’re great for compact spaces, only getting 8-10′ wide, but have still have abundant white flowers.

Dawn Redwood

Evergreen or is it?  The golden needles actually fall off in the Fall.  This stately tree is a specimen for discerning tastes. It grows slow, but don’t let it fool you into planting in a small space.


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The Tulip Tree has interesting leaves as well as the distinctive feature of having large yellow cup shaped flowers that resemble a tulip.  The flowers may be sparce when young.  The only complaint on this one is that is is a bit more touchy in cold weather than the other picks.  Plant in areas that have some shelter.


New Inspirations

As a former high school yearbook editor, I’ve not made much time in the last 10 years to scribble my thoughts, record my adventures, or pen any sort of epic tale.  For a person who once contemplated journalism as a career avenue, I certainly never expected to hang up my hat on writing the minute we mailed that last page to our production company.

Somehow, after two summers playing in the dirt for my first real job at the Natural Garden in St. Charles, I found a new passion.  And aside from a mishap in the seventh grade upon which I tried to grow my own impatiens via grow light, a lesson in acclimatization gone wrong, I knew I had found my niche.

I’ve had tons more opportunities to play in the dirt in the last 10 years, and to design some spaces that allow my clients to enjoy their own stamp of land.  I hope this blog becomes the beginning of many new things.  A new method of inspiration, a new way to teach what I love, and a new way to throw my hat back in the ring and meld two passions together.