Kale, coneflowers and creativity: The visual delight of Shawna Coronado’s garden


As many of you know, my front yard is currently going through a metamorphosis. I’ve removed about two-thirds of the lawn, soon to replace it with a mixed ornamental and edible garden. Growing edibles in the front yard is not a new concept, but it’s one that has taken a while for me to embrace. As a gardener, I’m more concerned with aesthetic than production. However, due to increasing shade, we no longer have the luxury of sticking the vegetable garden in an out-of-sight corner of the back yard. Read More

Where humanity and nature blend: The garden of William Dick and Katrina Cheney

IMG_8084Torrential had just started to let up as we walked into Katrina Cheney and William Dick’s garden as a part of the Champaign County Master Gardener Garden walk in late June. Their property lies adjacent to the Park District’s Boulware Trail, which was mostly under water at the time of our arrival.

Katrina and William have transformed their large lot into a beautiful garden over the past seven years, centered around a large, multi-tiered koi pond. We spent nearly an hour at the garden, talking with Katrina and William about the garden, koi pond and their pet exotic birds. Read More

Holding our attention: A visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens


My wife and I had the great pleasure of visiting Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin in early June. Situated on 16 acres along the northeast shore of Lake Monona, the gardens were envisioned by Madison attorney Michael Olbrich in 1916, but not opened until after his death in 1952. Olbrich was instrumental in the development of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum as well. Read More

2013 Garden Walk – Metz Garden

Mary Ann and Dan Metz’s home and garden grace their old town Champaign, Illinois neighborhood with mature beds of hosta, peonies, and woody ornamentals that complement the home’s traditional architecture and an elegant, yet almost organic hardscape. The garden’s solid foundation supports surprising moments of fancy and artistic details. Mindy and I visited the Metz garden with our friend Laura (of Durable Gardening) as a part of the Champaign County Master Gardener garden walk on June 22.

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A short course on shade gardening … and hospitality

My wife and I traveled to Madison, WI in early June to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. As the weekend approached, she suggested that we find a few public gardens to tour during our visit. We’ve grown fond of Madison over the years, but hadn’t ever thought about garden tours in our previous visits. So I used a little insider information by way of Ed Lyon, director of Allen Centennial Gardens on the University of Wisconsin campus, who I’d met earlier this year at National Green Centre in St. Louis. Ed graciously took time out of his hectic spring planting schedule to fill me in on all the area horticultural hot spots, and even invited us to tour his home garden on Saturday afternoon.

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