Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Sweetspire

Itea virginica- Sweetspire

  • Native Shrub
  • Fragrant white flower spikes in summer
  • Glossy green leaves in summer
  • Round arching shape
  • Stems are purple red where exposed to sun
  • Spectacular long lasting fall color is a blend of yellow, orange, crimson and maroon
  • Adaptable shrub, tolerates dry or wet sites
  • Relatively pest and disease free
'Henry's Garnet' is a hardy selection with the same attractive features of the species (4'x6')
We have 'Henry's Garnet' in 3G and 7G

Scarlet Beauty™ is a hardy Chicagoland Grows Selection with upright habit and scarlet fall color (4'x6')
We have Scarlet Beauty™ in 5G

Thinking Spring

Glacier Oaks Container material can be purchased wholesale through our sister company Beeson's McHenry County Nursery
To help you plan for future projects, call, or fax or email your plant lists for a quote.

Monday, October 8, 2007


We welcome feedback- feel free to leave comments on any of our posts, simply click under the post where it says 'comments'. They can be anonymous if you prefer.

Monday, October 1, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Winterberry

Ilex verticillata- Winterberry
A Native Shrubs with Lustrous dark green foliage turning bronze to purple tinged in fall. Naturally disease and pest resistant. Adapts well to wet conditions. Abundant red berries provide winter food for birds.

We have a good supply of 3ft #7 container Winterberry selections. Click the button on the left for current availability and pricing.

Berry Heavy® (8'x5')
Masses of bright orange-red berries. Use Jim Dandy to Pollinate.

Winter Red® (9'x8')
Profuse, persistent red fruits. Use Southern Gentleman to Pollinate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Black Aronia

Aronia melanocarpa elata- Glossy Black Chokeberry
Last year we put together an article 'Landscaping Not Just For the Birds', about landscaping with edible plants, and we were inspired to try some of the fruits we listed. The Black Aronia shrubs had a bumper crop of berries last fall, so we picked buckets of them, and experimented with wine, jam, cookies, and bread recipes. They are really quite good and freeze well.

Purplish black fruits have a dry flavor. The fruit clusters ripen in the fall and are best picked when fully black but before the first frost hits. They can be cleaned and used right away, but freezing the berries will release more juice. Aronia berries have a high concentration of anthocyanins and flavonoids, five to ten times higher than cranberry juice. They also contain beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants, polyphenols, minerals and vitamins.

We currently grow Glossy Black Chokeberry and the Iroquois Beauty™ compact selection available in 2-3ft #5 containers. Click the button on the left for current availability and pricing.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tuliptree- Liriodendron tulipifera

  • Large fast growing Shade Tree
  • Yellow-green flowers with orange accents in late spring to early summer
  • Unique leaf shape, bright green in color, turning yellow in fall
  • Ornamental fruit clusters persist through winter and are a food source for squirrels
  • Few insect and disease problems
A magnificent specimen for large sites with some protection from exposure. Grows naturally with Sugar Maple, Beech, Yellow Birch, White Ash, Red Oak, American Linden, and Hemlock.

Tuliptree, as well as many other trees that are difficult to dig, respond well to growing in containers. We currently have available 1", 1.5" and 2" in #15 and #20 containers in our GO Trees Container Growing System.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sustainable Landscaping Conference

A symposium sponsored by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and by the Midwest Ecological Landscape Association (MELA).
Friday, October 26, 2007, 9am - 3pm
Northwest Community HospitalWellness Center
900 West Central Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Topics Include:

  • Sustainability and the Green Industry
  • The Ethics, Aesthetics & Psychology of Sustainable Design
  • How Regional Identity Developed in Midwest Landscaping
  • How Designers Can Help Achieve Healthier Soils
  • Native Plants of Note to Designers
  • More Sustainable Hardscape Materials & Tips

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Virtual Open House

GO Yard is our Above Ground B&B Yard

Click the ‘Current Availability’ Button below the logo to download GO Yard and Container Availability List

  • *Virtual GO Yard- Camera Icon next to plants opens a picture of the actual plant
Please come by and look around GO Yard at the corner of White Oaks and Graf Road off 173 West of Harvard, IL (Map)
Stop by the office at 8501 White Oaks Rd for customer service and container plants

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Update- Project Quercus

Our post earlier this month McHenry County Oak Conservation Collaborative Kicks Off covered the launch of Project Quercus. This event was also covered by Green Screen MC- Environmental Television for McHenry County which shows Mondays 8:30pm on Comcast Public Access Channel 17, and is also available online.

July 16, 23, 30 -The Future Mighty Oaks of McHenry County.
It's been estimated that most of the county's oaks (and the oak savanna ecosystem they host) will be gone in twenty years unless large scale replanting and public education begins immediately.

Watch the launch of the ambitious Project Quercus planting program and the young people committed to turning back the accelerating loss of McHenry County's signature tree, the oak. the video on YouTube

Letter to the Editor

Mary T. McClelland recently sent a letter to the editor after reading three recent articles in the Northwest Herald on pest problems with trees.
Two were on the Gypsy Moth (‘Appetite for Destruction’ 5/24/07, ‘Infested’ 7/19/07) and one on Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) (‘Bug bores way into county’ 7/20/07). These articles described how both pests are exotic – not native to our region, i.e. have no natural controls, and that both pests are attacking our native stands of trees, particularly the oak and ash trees, respectively.

The USDA has done an excellent job guarding our mature plant material by monitoring and preventing the spread of these pests in commercial nurseries, tree farms and public areas--but they can only do so much. It will take everyone paying more attention to the trees in their yard, in their parks and forest preserves and along the roads. Commercial operations are well-regulated with annual inspections and pest prevention programs, it’s our homes we need to pay attention to. Part of the reason these pests spread so quickly is because we are not paying attention to how we contribute to their spread.

The female gypsy moth cannot fly – so, an observant person can spot egg masses, remove and destroy them if they know what to look for. The EAB flies only a few miles (though it can be carried on the wind), but the greatest distance it traverses is hitchhiking in our firewood and mulch.

Sensationalizing pest outbreaks will not protect our existing hardwood forests in the long run. Spraying all the neighborhoods will only provide temporary control. Protection, Prevention and Regeneration of the Oak forests in McHenry County is the best form of long term control. Caring about the mature forests we have left in McHenry County (about 10% of pre-settlement Oak-Hickory Woods are left) and learning what threats (including bulldozers) to look for, will help protect the trees we all take for granted.

Recently The Land Conservancy of McHenry County initiated the Oak Collaborative with state, federal, county, municipal, and private organizations to develop a plan to start rebuilding the Oak-Hickory legacy of the County. Much of the remaining Oak woods are on private land and will require the landowners cooperation and vision. Education and support of private landowners who take the initiative to protect, preserve and regenerate their Oak woods will help everyone in the county as the trees help recharge our valuable groundwater, cleanse our air, sequester carbon, and provide valuable habitat and food for wildlife—and us.

To see the Letter as it was Published go to: Protect the trees Northwest Herald, Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some Interesting Findings

From the NYTimes Small Business Section: July 24, 2007

Results of a survey by the American Express Small Business Monitor, from a sample of 626 small-business owners and managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Of business owners surveyed:

  • 90% of women and 84% of men - use the Internet for work
  • 66% of women and 59% of men- are optimistic about the economy in coming months
  • 65% of women and 73% of men- say they make sacrifices in their personal life in order to run a business
  • 85% of women and 77% of men- said yes, being an entrepreneur contributes to a “happy relationship” with their significant other

Monday, July 9, 2007

Virtual Open House

Welcome to our Summer 2007 Virtual Open House!
Open 24/7, day or night from anywhere

This month we will be walking through our GO Trees-Container Tree Growing Areas

Click here to download GO Trees pdf article.

Our GO Trees- Container Tree product line
is expanding with many GO Natives and new selections.

Monday, July 2, 2007

McHenry County Oak Conservation Collaborative Kicks Off

The Land Conservancy kicked off the new Oak Conservation Program on Friday, June 29 by planting the first of hundreds of small oak trees in locations around the county.

In partnership with Glacier Oaks Nursery and local volunteers, including the Greenwood Handi-Helpers 4-H Club and Girl Scout Troop 1181,The Land Conservancy provided equipment and arranged for the volunteers to plant and care for the trees at sites on Thompson Road in Wonder Lake, and Haligus Road in Lakewood. Glacier Oaks Nursery supplied the 2-year-old Bur Oak seedlings.

McHenry County Illinois was once covered with beautiful oak savannas, which has since become one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States because of increased human encroachment and the difficulties of oak regeneration. The Oak Conservation Program is the beginning of an effort to preserve and restore the Oaks in McHenry County through education and awareness, ordinances, planting programs, and community involvement. Two new sites will be selected later this month for the fall planting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Calycanthus floridus

Calycanthus floridus- Common Sweetshrub (also known as Carolina Allspice, Strawberry Shrub, Sweet Betsy)

  • Native to the Southeast US
  • Trouble-free shrub with few pest or disease problems
  • Excellent garden plant that tolerates sun to shade, and can be used in wet sites
  • Wonderful spicy fruit scented maroon flowers from May into July (Fragrance is best in the evening)
  • Large egg shaped brown fruits in the fall and decorate the plant through winter
  • All parts of the plant are aromatic when rubbed (the bark was been used as a cinnamon substitute)
Flowers are pollinated by small beetles, (flowers pollinated by beetles are relatively simple, purplish, and have musty, spicy, or fruity scents. For more info on pollination see Marketing Scents and Spring Hopes Eternal)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Growing Scene Open House

On May 5th, Glacier Oaks Mary Tree McClelland was invited to speak at The Growing Scene's Open House at their Garden Center on Harmony Road in Marengo, IL.

Thank you to owner Kathleen Carr and her knowledgeable staff for inviting us and for the opportunity to welcome the season of the garden.

An Excerpt From Mary's Talk:
"My topic for today is about using edible plants in the landscape. Our interest in edible plants grew out of our Sustainable Nursery Initiative that we adopted this year in an effort to transition all of our growing practices to a sustainable level.
Practicing weed and pest management as well as healthy growing, in ways that reduce energy use and reduce waste.
Another huge part of sustainability is about diversity and symbiotic systems. Every living thing in your landscape has a function. Worms and micro-organisms keep soil healthy which in turn determines and supports the plants we can grow in our landscape.
If you stop and think for a minute, isn’t it amazing how in the last three weeks we’ve gone from bare branch and brown ground to a covering of every shade and shape of leaf and flower. Most of those flowers will produce fruit—all food for insects, birds, animals –including us!
We started looking at the plants in our nursery with a different eye last fall when the Aronia melanocarpa were literally covered with berries. The birds were having a festival and pointed us in this direction—that ended up with buckets full of the purplish-black blueberry sized fruit. We experimented with jam, wine, cookies and sweet breads."

Monday, May 7, 2007

A Note on Oaks

According to The Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity, our northern Illinois oak-hickory forests and oak savannas have historically supported a world of different living things— from hundreds of species of plants and animals to thousands of species of beetles, spiders, snails and centipedes.

Only a fraction of these old woodlands remain. In fact, in the next 15-20 years, most of our oak-hickory woodlands may be lost. The remaining trees are old (many are 200 or more years old).

The Chicago area is still booming with growth, we are making homes for people and all the facilities we seem to need. But these trees and the community of life they support are under stress from the changing land uses around them. They are rarely protected during the development process, and they are not reproducing successfully.

With existing trees dying out due to age and environmental stress, and with few young trees to take their places as the large trees die, we are likely to see a dramatic change in the landscape across McHenry County.

In less than a generation, we may see our landscape transform into one without the old oak tree we have come to assume will always be there, because its been there our whole life. But we are likely to see these changes impact the health, character and economy of the region--– and the entire Chicagoland area.

We need to tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the old oak tree for more than one reason…

Go to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County Illinois for more information

Thursday, May 3, 2007

We are Thinking Green! Will you help us?

We are now offering several email services that we believe will not only save you time and money, but also the environment!

If you would like to receive all future pricelists, availability lists, proposals, orders or invoices through email, just Email Us with ThinkGreen! Availability, ThinkGreen! Confirmations and/or ThinkGreen! Invoices as the subject line.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Trends in the Illinois Green Industry

Results from a new survey of Illinois green industry professionals and residential homeowners show an increasing trend toward environmentally friendly practices.

Top emerging trends:

  • low in maintenance
  • native plants and grasses
  • drought-tolerant plants
  • disease-resistant plants to reduce chemical use
Download a summary brochure or the report at University of Illinois NRES

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April 11 Snowstorm

Monday, April 2, 2007

Arbor Day or Earth Day Plantings

GO Trees- Container Trees are great for Arbor Day or Earth Day Plantings-
Download GO Trees availability

• Immediate Availability
• 100% of the root system- minimized transplant shock
• Root protection from rough handling

Get more information in our GO Trees pdf article with pictures.

Arbor Day

Arbor Day in Illinois and Wisconsin is the last Friday in April- the 27th this year.

To Celebrate Arbor Day in Chicago, the National Arbor Day Foundation and The Home Depot Foundation, along with local Illinois nonprofit tree-planting organizations plan to plant 100 Trees in the Chicago Area. Kids will take part in the tree-planting and educational activities.

  • “The Home Depot Foundation and the National Arbor Day Foundation are partnering together to plant 1,000 trees in 10 cities across the country. These tree-planting events are part of a nationwide 10-city campaign led by The Home Depot Foundation and the National Arbor Day Foundation to increase awareness of the importance of city trees as green infrastructure in our cities and to create healthier communities in urban areas.”

Monday, March 26, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Mohican Viburnum

Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’ is a GO Natives Selection with

  • Dense compact form
  • Thick dark green leaves
  • Resistance to bacterial leaf spot
  • Long lasting multicolor clusters of orange-red to black summer fruit
  • Nice purple to reddish bronze fall color
Watch for the small, creamy white flowers in domed clusters that open in late April to early May with the expanding fuzzy young leaves.

Mohican is a great Viburnum for the Midwest- great for many tough sites including sun or shade, dry areas, calcareous soils, urban sites. Makes a nice hedge or screen with wildlife value.

We have Mohican Viburnum available in #5 containers from 2’ up to 4’

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

GO Trees- Container Trees- Going Beyond Survivability to Thriveability

GO Trees- Container Trees have:
• Fast recovery time
• Year-round transplanting
• Enhanced root branching with our GO Roots method
• 100% of the root system- minimized transplant shock
• Root protection from rough handling

Many hard to transplant tree species respond to being grown in a container before planting out in the field or landscape. Our growing practices ensure the healthiest, most complete root system possible, regardless of season.
Click here to download GO Trees pdf article with pictures.

Our GO Trees- Container Tree product line
is expanding with many GO Natives and new selections.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Native Landscaping Seminar

This annual event on Saturday Feb 24 by The Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee was well attended, despite the weather. The talks were very good, great info and pictures in the powerpoints, funny and upbeat. They had a book sale, and the defenders had a used book sale table. It was mostly focused on wildflowers, but there seems to be an increasing interest in Native trees and shrubs. Overall it was a nice little event.

Here is a small bite of the huge amount of information provided:

Dr. Michael Jeffords- photographer for IL Steward Magazine wrote the Book ‘Illinois Wilds’ and gave a really great presentation on pollinators.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology Booklet – Water: from Trouble to Treasure Free copies to download

Guy Sternberg- Starhill Forest Arboretum- wrote the book ‘Native Trees for North American Landscapes’ gave a great talk on tough native trees that work well in this area.

  • River Birch- only dependable birch for heat and disease tolerance, Fox Valley is a compact form, good for bird nesting
  • Bur Oak- grows almost anywhere
  • Black Oak- The most colorful catkins- up to 4”, nice branching, nice woolly red spring leaves
  • Soft Hickory- Pecan, Bitternut
  • Hard Hickory- Shagbark, Mockernut, Pignut- hard hickories have bright fall color, Bud scales open up and look light bright flowers
  • Black Walnut- Best tree for turf situations if you can control litter
  • Hackberry- Can grow almost anywhere
  • Nyssa sylv.- Swamps, wetlands, Slow growing- plant from a small container, Good clean foliage- nice fall color, Birds eat the fruit
  • Kentucky Coffeetree- alkaline soils, river bottoms, Forms groves from suckers
  • Hawthorns- A hawthorn for any site, C. mollis- most common hawthorn in IL- early ripening fruit, C. viridus- late ripening fruit
  • Ostrya virg. and Carpinus carol.- interchangeable depending on wetness of site, Competition is a big issue when young
  • Sumac- Staghorn and Smooth, Form groves of suckers, Up to 10” fruit clusters- birds eat as last resort in late winter, Cutleaf Smooth- less suckering, 6-8ft, female clone for fruit
  • Understory Shrubs- Lindera, Viburnum, Rubus, Ribes, Corylus, Amelanchier- laevis and arborea

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Favorite Shrub- Corylus americana

American Filbert or Hazelnut

Every season brings something new with this Native Shrub.
In spring I can't help petting the cute fuzzy pinkish new stems and leaves.
In summer I marvel at the clean green leaves.
In late summer to fall I watch the hazelnuts emerge in their pale frilly coats dry and turn into an edible nut.
In fall the colors are astounding ranging from soft pastel yellow, orange and pink, to bright and bold shades of gold, tangerine, and cherry red.

Beyond beauty, this shrub is useful for many sites and tolerates urban conditions.

We have Corylus in 24in/#5 and 30-36in/#7, give us a call or email if we can help you find some!

My Favorite Shrub

Recently we were asked 'What is your favorite shrub?' and had to come up with an answer on the spot. This question opened the floodgates, and out poured not one favorite, but a whole handful of contenders. We realized that they were all shrubs native to this area or selections of natives. We may be biased in that natives are much of what we grow, and there certainly are many spectacular non-natives and cultivars, but for us, nothing compares to the wonder of a healthy plant in its natural state.
So, we would like to share with you our experiences with our favorite shrubs, and hope you come to love our 'old friends' as much as we do.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Emergence of Glacier Oaks Nursery

Glacier Oaks Nursery is a venture around the plants that Propagator and proprietor of Glacier Oaks, Mary T. McClelland, has been propagating and perfecting for many years. Mary T. McClelland moved from the glacial mountains of northwest Montana to the glacial moraines of northern Illinois with a biology background and a passion for trees. Intrigued by the native oak groves dotting the rolling glacial moraines of the upper Midwest, she has been a partner in putting McHenry County Nursery on the map of fine field nurseries. Like the glacial soils of northern Illinois giving rise to the carved savannas, Glacier Oaks Nursery is a natural progression of practicing propagation and horticulture for the last twenty-five years. We’ve learned from the land and the plants and now produce more than 350 species of hardy woody plants. With a passion for growing, we put this experience to work for our customers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Welcome to the new Glacier Oaks Nursery Blog.