{dirt 60631} My Plant Sources

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

A recent garden visitor asked me where I get my plants.  I guess my answer was a shock as she preceded to state that I needed a bumper sticker ... "This Car Stops for Plants".  In retrospect, she may be right. 

I have been known to drive as far as Kansas City to purchase Arborvitae Spring Grove, Thuja plicata 'Grovepli', that I couldn't find anywhere else close.  And while this may seem silly to most, you need to know that I already had some in the garden, and lost a few due to stormy weather and substituting another variety in its place just wasn't going to do.  So, on the Internet I went, and then in the car I drove to Kansas City for two Spring Grove Arborvitae and a visit to Dad's.  I have also been known to follow road signs that advertises a local plant sale; after all, you never know what plant nerd out there is potting up some of their prized possessions that have outgrown their space and is putting them up for sale.  And, I will stop if I see a landscaper tearing out someones garden so I can see whats worth rescuing from the landfill.  So yes, this car does stop for plants!

above.  The entrance to the back garden with a pair Malus 'Prairiefire' in full glory.

Since she was amazed at the sources I use for plants, I though I would share the info for you other plant nerds out there ...

Al's Auto Body and Arboretum.  Yes, Al's Auto Body and Arboretum, Walworth, Wisconsin.  He specializes in hostas and has a unique selection of some older varieties that you don't often see ... twist of lime, golden scepter, lemontini, lemon lime, and 100's more.  He hosts 'Hosta Fest' once a year around Memorial Day.  Its worth the trip to see the three acre hosta farm under large pine trees behind the auto body shop.

The Flower Factory, Stoughton, Wisconsin, is about a 2 hour drive from Chicago and is my source for unique ferns, Japanese iris, Siberian iris and more.  Their catalog is extensive so make sure you go with an empty car.

John Scheepers, Bantam, Connecticut, is mail order and my go to source for snowdrop, daffodil, tulip, and allium bulbs.  My iconic Burgundy Lace tulips come from here.

Hornbaker Gardens, Princeton, Illinois.  I originally heard about this place from a fellow gardener I meet at one of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days.  When I went in July, I was stunned!  Hostas, hostas, hostas, and day lilies, day lilies, day lilies.  Go in July when the day lily fields are in bloom.  You will be blown away.

K & W Greenery, Janesville, Wisconsin.  This a great source for specialty conifers.  This is where I found the contorted Douglas Fir in the back garden and the Tiger Fern in the Fern Theater.

Koepke's, Oregon, Wisconsin, is my go to source for zonal geraniums, scented geraniums, and specialty geraniums.  This is the only place I can find Patriot Lavender Blue.

Meinke Garden Center, Niles, Illinois, is my go to source for David Austin roses and Fuchsias.  They also have the cheapest mushroom compost around.

Milaeger's Garden Center, Racine, Wisconsin, is a source for specialty conifers, unusual annuals, and more.  For those of you that keep asking, this is where I get the large Australian Tree Fern for the Fern Theater.

Northwind, Burlington, Wisconsin, is inspiration.  It has an interesting display garden to walk thru and sells perennials you don't often see.  I was even able to score an antique garden urn here.

Plant Delights, Raleigh, North Carolina, is a mail order nursery.  The Arisaema ringens in the shade garden are from here.  Their catalog is extensive and a plant nerds dream; and, the cover is a hoot!  Every year the cover has a different spoof on the previous years intriguing stories.  They also have a few open houses a year where you can visit and purchase plants.  Next year's open house is on my bucket list!

above.  The Fern Theater starting it's summer show.

If you have a source I don't know about, please, please, drop me a comment.  I'm always on the hunt.  Happy planting!


{dirt 60631} Expectant Mama in Residence

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

We think about and design gardens for our enjoyment.  However, sometimes nature reminds us that there are others who use and appreciate our gardens, especially in an urban environment ... specifically birds.  Many birds visit my garden throughout the year:  cardinals, blue jays, robins, black-capped chickadees, woodpeckers, wrens, grosbeaks, and more.  And, some birds even take up residence. 

Last year a pair of Cooper's Hawks took up residence in the tall White Pine in the back garden and we all watched and listened to them raise two babies ... we even took to calling the back garden 'the killing field' ... birds would come to feed at the feeder, and the hawks would come to the feeder to feed on the birds.  By mid-July, they moved on and things became a little more normal in the back garden. 

This year, a robin has decided to take up residence and raise her brood in one of the Boston Ferns hanging by the front door.  So for now, we use the back door and watch expectantly for the new young robins to poke their hungry mouths out of the nest.  There will be no rest for these parents; she's sitting on four eggs.  They'll hatch in a few more days and be gone in a few weeks; but, in the meantime, we're reminded that gardens aren't just for people.

When coming up the front stairs, BE WARNED:  Protective mama on guard duty!


{dirt 60631} What Spring?

{dirt 60631} is a pictorial journal of Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

OK, its time for Spring now! Winter please leave.  Temperatures in the 40's and 7+ inches of rain is not typical mid-May weather.  But then again, this whole winter/spring has not been typical.  A dry October and November meant the ground was a frozen desert for the trees, shrubs and bulbs.  And then, no snow cover to mention (yes, this is Chicago), and a cold, dry March and April.  So it's no surprise that the daffodils, tulips and alliums weren't at their best; some didn't even make an appearance.

However, with all the the rain, the garden is a lush green landscape and the weeds are running rampant due to no attention given to them in this weather.  But, the pots are planted, the grass is mowed, and the birds are raising their young ... all ready for Summer, as it will be here on Friday.  Spring, we miss you!


Inspiration Wednesday

No words needed here ... just a beautiful moment.