September 24, 2021

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Nicki’s Chicago Garden

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Today we’re visiting Nicki’s beautiful garden.

I have been gardening my whole life and in my current suburban Chicago location for 25 years. These photos show a long planting bed along the west side of my backyard.

When we moved here in 1996, the garden was a narrow strip along the fence with a few sedate plants in it. Over the next few years I expanded the boundaries and added plants, but it became clear that the heavy clay soil needed some serious work. On one glorious day about 15 years ago, most of my extended family came over and helped us dig out almost every plant in the bed, shovel in a truckload of composted manure I had delivered to our driveway, and replant. Some people even brought gifts from their own gardens. Thanks to my family’s incredible generosity (and willingness to get very, very dirty), my garden got a new lease on life.

The garden has evolved steadily in the years since then to accommodate increasingly shady conditions as well as new plants and new ideas. Even now, I know there are a lot of plants in it that would prefer more sun. But that’s a project for another year.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsThis spring, with blooming horsechestnut (Aesculus × carnea, Zones 5–8) on the left and a garden bed with tricolor beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’, Zones 4–7) on the right.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsFront layer: hardy Geranium, Heuchera, Hosta, and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9). Middle layer: iris (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–9), daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 4–9), daffodil (Narcissus sp.) foliage, nodding onion foliage (Allium cernuum, Zones 4–8), peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8), Phlox, and a tricolor beech in the foreground. In the back is a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) and a climbing rose (Rosa hybrid, possibly the variety ‘Dr. Huey’, Zones 5–9).

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsIn this closer view of the bed, the Japanese maple and climbing rose take the limelight.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsClematis grows on the wall in the background, daylilies come into bloom, and the blooms of betony (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, Zones 4–8) add a splash of pink.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsThe daylilies look great against the dark leaves of the Japanese maple, especially joined by the bloom flowers of speedwell (Veronica spicata, Zones 3–8).

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsAs betony blooms with balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus, Zones 3–8), the nodding onions are just starting to show their flower buds.

Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

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