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My passion for landscaping was influenced by my mom’s love of flowers. At 15, I started planting annuals for mother’s day. At 25, I started my first veggie garden and began to dabble in perennials.
In 2000, while working as a graphic designer, I went stir crazy, quit my job anded start a landscaping company in Valparaiso, IN. Even though my knowledge was limited, flowers were a passion that I couldn’t resist. Little did I know, natural stonework would became another passion.
Using pesticides and herbicides was never my thing so I found natural ways to handle gardening problems. Around 2005, I saw Jeff Lowenfels speak and it changed my world.
Backyard flower garden in Valparaiso, IN
Notice the extensive use of non-native plants. These are still the typical finds in most nurseries.
In 2003, I moved back to Chicago and went back to graphic design. Apparently, I didn’t charge enough for my services and needed to make some money! But that didn’t last very long and I soon began designing for a landscape company.
The following are just a few examples of my designs. After looking at my plant choices, I still had a lot to learn about native plants.
Attending the Chicago Flower and Garden Show was always an anticipated yearly event. One year, Jeff Lowenfels was speaking about the benefits of organically treating the lawn and landscape with microbes, compost tea to be exact. This information proved invaluable and led to the start of Organic Garden Company.
We used all battery for maintenance, fertilized organically with compost tea, and added organic nutrients to remedy the soil.
Tend plants correctly
The following are just a few examples of seasonal planters. My goal now is to add natives in my planters too. Best to mix old fashioned types of annuals as well since they attract pollinators!
Here’s a gander of a couple before and after photos.
My clients in the first two photos requested a seating area. The planting area was edged with bluestone to prevent dirt and mulch from falling on the patio and walkway. We all were very satified with the result.
The second two photos are of my long time clients front yard. I couldn’t wait to revamp this space. We put in a above ground timed sprinkler system and most the plants were zone 5 US natives. Eventually we added grass seed but If I knew then what I know now, the lawn would be a native Carex.
Click on the photos to enlarge