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.