Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Terry's Garden

A few weeks ago I drove down Hillside near Stern’s Woods to visit Countryside customer Terry Young. Terry is a Mc Henry County native and a retired art teacher. His garden, which is ever changing, reflects his artist’s eye. He mixes color and texture to create a wonderful garden. Terry has worked on his garden for over 15 years. Grassy paths meander past islands of color and meet at the vegetable garden at the bottom of the garden.

Since I have known him, Terry has added many late summer and fall blooming perennials, so I was surprised to learn that part of his garden is devoted to spring blooming woodland natives. One of his mentors in gardening and woodland plantings was the late Bill Wingate. Terry has several plants, including a celadon poppy, that were given to him by Bill.

Another thing I like about Terry’s garden is the use of annuals within his perennial beds. Some of his favorite annuals are the tall, colorful zinnias and cleome. He grows both of these from seed. Another of his prize plants is one that came from a 120 year-old farm house in McHenry County. The green coneflower (Rudbeckia lanciata) is normally found in southern Illinois. For the longest time he didn’t know what it was and finally had to enlist the help of the county extension office in Woodstock to determine what variety it was. This plant grows in sun to part sun and can reach 5-6 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.

To the west of Terry’s house is a row of trees that have grown and matured over the years Terry has lived in the house. Slowly, these changes are impacting the garden. Terry has had to reduce the size of the vegetable garden and shift it more to the east. Eventually it will be taken out. Some of the grasses that dot the various beds have also suffered from the increasing shade.

I also didn’t realize that Terry has an extensive collection of container gardens on his deck, including this unique antique chimney flue. This year he has it planted in New Zealand flax (phormium), which he overwinters indoors, vinca vine, impatiens and coleus. These same colors are carried out in the other containers.

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