Here are Matt Kilburn's thoughts.... he is a Houzz.com contributor and a landscape designer based in Vancouver, Canada.

Mosquitoes.
In most areas mosquitoes are a major issue in the summertime and can hinder outdoor activities. They thrive in areas with a regular water supply and can multiply very quickly into large numbers if left unchecked. All of your garden's water features should have movement on the surface of the water. Mosquito larvae can survive only in stagnant water, so if a pump is installed in a water feature, mosquito colonies are less likely to survive. Introducing fish into a pond is also a great way to combat mosquitoes, since they eat the larvae before they hatch. Goldfish, minnows and betta fish (also called Siamese fighting fish) are all great options for controlling mosquitoes. Finally, there are several plants you can add to your garden to help repel mosquitoes. Catnip is a natural mosquito repellent that grows in most areas as an easy-growing perennial. Marigolds also have a distinctive smell that is unbearable to mosquitoes. Try planting these annuals in pots around your patio and next to windows, and the smell will prevent mosquitoes from hanging around.

 

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Winnetka, IL Schmechtig Landscapes

 

Wasps.
As the summer winds on, wasps can become a major issue in the garden. These aggressive carnivores have ruined many an outdoor dinner. Unfortunately, vibrant-colored blooms can attract them, so put plants that bloom in the summer away from sitting and dining areas. You can also deter wasps by putting out a bowl of crushed cloves on the dining table — the smell is offensive to wasps, and they will find somewhere else to spend their time.

 

Ants.

Depending on where you live, there are many types of ants that can make a home in your garden. Some ants are harder to get rid of than others.
Thankfully, the ants in Vancouver, where I live, are relatively easy to control. As a rule of thumb for all ants, focus on where they live and what they feed on to dissuade them from your garden. Ants don't like the smell of cinnamon or mint, so if you are able to find the mound where the ants are coming from, sprinkle some cinnamon or move a potted mint plant to the area (mint should always be contained, as it is an aggressively invasive plant) to make the area less hospitable to these little pests. But ants are tenacious critters, and they may just move their home elsewhere in your garden. That's why it's also important to focus on their food source. One of the ways that ants gain sustenance is by "farming" the honeydew secreted from aphids. They will even go so far as to move the aphids onto prime real estate on fruit trees and develop elaborate systems for aphid farms to produce honeydew.

And this leads us to our last pest Aphids.

Aphids can be tricky to eradicate, and the solution usually comes down to a combination of tactics. I've found blasting them off plant leaves with the hose to be the most effective once they've infested a plant (versus soap-based sprays, which can often damage leaves), but there are also beneficial insects that can be introduced to your garden to deal with an aphid problem.

 

Read more of Matt Kilburn's article go to : http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/14611953/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u319&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery25

 

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 19 July 2013 13:43

Is this a plant, insect or both?

A spectacular photo posted today on MSN -  "This mantis looks just like flower it sits on,
its color almost a perfect match to the purple orchid. At a glance, the insect
in the Borneo rainforest in Malaysia appears to be part of a plant, but it's
simply using clever camouflage to hide from hungry predators."

Here's the link to see more incredible photo's:

http://photos.msn.com/slideshow/news/must-see-july-2013/23w213r0

 

 

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 13:34

Fountains

A fountain is your art in the garden. By incorporating a fountain into your landscape, you can create a peaceful retreat that is both personal and
soothing. With a wide variety of styles, sizes and prices to choose from, your landscape architect can suggest a fountain that will fit your unique landscape.
The calming sounds of moving water can be provided in any size garden or patio. There are small, intricate fountains and large stately varieties. We often talk
about creating a retreat for our clients; one way to make your outdoor space special is by adding a water feature. This feature will provide you a peaceful
retreat for years to come

Published in Landscaping

Echinacea (Coneflower)

These native plants are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas and have fresh interest and new colorations. Commonly called coneflowers, they are prevalent to our area.

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 11 July 2013 09:29

Landscaping - A Personal Investment

When we review our personal investments, one area to consider is our home's landscape. We've discussed "curb appeal" in an earlier blog, but the notion of a "true investment" is not to be dismissed. Our clients certainly aren't landscaping their homes for simply a future sell, but as with any other investment, they know the money put into landscaping now will not only be recovered, but increased when the home is sold.

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 13:18

Chef Series - Chicago Botanic Garden

Where can you go and have noted chefs prepare recipes in an outdoor environment? Where can you learn to cook with all your garden-fresh ingredients throughout the entire summer? Where can you get all of this for FREE? There is only one place and it's at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Garden Chef Series. This summer long program brings noted area chefs who prepare recipes in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. This garden is the Midwest's fruit and vegetable gardening information control center. It exhibits the best edible plants to grow in our area and helps you with your organic growing. Seating is first-come, first-serve.  Here's the schedule: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/chef  and reciepes: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/chef/chefrecipes/

 

Published in Landscaping

A Chicago landmark garden, designed by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen, is hidden from view behind a double row of hawthorn hedges in a quiet central section of Northwestern University's Evanston campus.  This tranquil garden has added beauty to the campus for more than 90 years.  The garden was established in 1915 when it became a project of The Garden Club of Evanston because of war time sympathy for our British allies and to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.  Jensen designed the original plan in an intricate "knot style" and planting was complete in 1920.  The many flowers, shrubs, trees and herbs chosen for the garden are mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and are well suited to the Midwest climate.  The Shakespeare Garden contains many of the original hawthorns that were started from seed in France and which form the formal garden's base.  These historic hawthorns are the reason the Garden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.  The Schmechtig Landscape Company is proud to have maintained these historic hedges since 1999.  We respect and appreciate the beauty and historic significance of this site.  Evanston Garden Club members continue to serve as the garden's caretakers and we continue to help them maintain the Shakespeare Garden.  The garden sees courtings and weddings. Students come to eat their lunches there. At graduation time, they bring their parents for snapshot posing. Gardeners find their way there to learn and to appreciate its beauty. Ever-changing and yet never-changing, Shakespeare Garden serves as a center for happy comings and goings, as well as for quiet meditations. As Shakespeare himself said, "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  Schmechtig Landscapes encourages you to visit Shakespeare Garden at 2121 Sheridan Road (between Maple Ave & Library Pl) in Evanston, IL

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 05 July 2013 16:18

Unplug and Chill Out

Rob Schwarz, our landscape architect was quoted in Kelly Konrad's article in this month's Make It Better magazine edition.

The article speaks to creating some true downtown with your personal space outdoors, here's the link- http://issuu.com/makeitbetter/docs/july_2013_final_lr/23

 

 

Published in Landscaping

With just 8 feet or so, you can turn a plain side yard into a garden that lets you get carried away. 

I am sharing a section of this blog entry written by Debra Prinzing, a Houzz Contributor. Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles based outdoor living expert who writes and lectures on gardens and home design.  She featured our tic-tac-toe design for a side garden. Read the entire article with photo's at:  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2917476/list/How-to-Turn-a-Side-Yard-Into-a-Glorious-Garden-Room

Enjoy the article....

Published in Landscaping

Early summer is the best time to view your landscape to see where additional color may be needed for next spring, and to plan for fall bulb planting. 

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Schmechtig Landscapes Lake Bluff, Illinois

When purchasing bulbs for spring or summer bloom, they should be of the highest quality to ensure vigor. After spring blooms fade, the foliage should not be removed until it has turned yellow. As long as the foliage is green, it is photosynthesizing and this will provide the bulb with the needed energy for next year's blooms. To improve the beauty of your landscape,  please call a landscape professional to discuss your spring bloom program.

Published in Landscaping
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