A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Garden

Rethinking the Box

Over the past couple of years I decided that my box o’ grasses wasn’t really working out as I desired. Initially I wanted them to act as a privacy hedge from our neighbor’s yard, and while eventually they did, it would take half the summer before they got tall enough. There were a couple other…

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Garden Scenes

It was so nice today! Didn’t do much except for a little weeding. Last weekend I planted all the veggies in the raised beds but they’re not much to look at right now. I didn’t have it together to do seedlings so I bought a bunch of things including: 4 tomato plants, kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, Vidalia onion,…

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Our Little Oak is Growing Up

Almost six years ago to the day, I bought a Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) sapling for our side yard at the annual Native Plant Sale in north suburban Libertyville. It wasn’t more than 2-1/2 or 3 feet tall with two leaders. Shortly after that we started our attic renovation and “protected it” with our little…

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2014 Recap: The Rest of the Garden

The rest of our garden, extending from the flagstone patio toward the front of the house, did very well last summer. Every spring I think that I should have planted bulbs the previous fall to fill in bare spots as the perennials wake up, but I never do it. I guess there’s always next year.…

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2014 Recap: The Patio(s)

In addition to adding shrubs near the vegetable garden, I also wanted to add some near the patio. After some research, i decided that Little Henry Dwarf Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Sprich’) would work well under the pergola. They’ll only grow a few feet tall and wide (supposedly), so they should fill in this area…

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2014 Recap: The Vegetable Beds

In May of 2013, this is how our vegetable bed and surrounding area looked. For a long time it was the dumping ground for extra dirt, bricks, flagstone, you-name-it. The area in front of it contained leftover native plants that were either over- or under-performing and I no longer wanted. We let those go over…

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Planning the First Outdoor Projects

We received the April issue of This Old House recently. It was a little depressing to read about all the outdoor projects and ideas when we still had a foot of snow on the ground, even with a couple of warmish days of snow melt (which was promptly followed by a snowstorm that dropped another…

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Ready to Grow!

I was excited to receive these in the mail the other day, in the midst of one of our coldest, snowiest winters ever. This winter has reminded me of the winters we used to have here when I was a kid. Back then it was fun; now not so much! Until it warms up enough…

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Final Outdoor Project

After realizing that it wasn’t going to be easy to redo our front lawn because of invading, shallow roots from our Norway Maple we went to Home Depot just to see what our rental options were, if any, to try to improve the lawn. A sod cutter was out because the roots are so shallow,…

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Monarch Caterpillars!

A week or two ago I was very excited to discover not one, but TWO monarch caterpillars on our milkweed. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen these caterpillars in the wild — I’m sure it’s been since I was kid, and back then it seemed like they were everywhere. I saw the bigger…

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