4/8/10 Spring Home & Garden - Pioneer Press Communities Online


4/8/10 Spring Home & Garden - Pioneer Press Communities Online


spring garden care

A season for seedlings

by Te r ra Coon ey • Special to P i o n e er Pre s s

Whether yo u’ve been cultivating a flower garden for years or

yo u’re making your first attempt at growing a green thumb,

w e’ve got a crash course on how to fe a t u re your blooms best.

S k y

The amount of sunlight your garden gets is crucial to yo u r

f l ower ch o i c e s , s ays Bob Gert s , l a n d s cape arch i t e c t , d e s i g n e r

and hort i c u l t u rist of King’s La n d s cape Co. in Hinsdale.

“Evaluating the light in your garden is the most import a n t

task in planning, ” G e rts says .

Wo rk with the sunlight available to you and your planting

a re a .

“I t’s best to plant in solid blocks to get the best show, ” s ays

R i ch a rd Hentsch e l , e x t e n s i on specialist of Green Industry

Pro g ramming at Unive r s i ty of Ill i n o i s .

While it might be best to consult a landscape design profe

s s i on a l , DIY gard e n e r s , G e rts suggests, should study the

sunlight in their yards for a season — spri n g, summer and

f a ll — to plan for the foll owing ye a r.

C onsider four ca t e go ries of light, as sun-loving and shadel

oving flowers have diffe rent needs: f u ll sun, p a rtial shade

and sun, light shade and full shade.

Fu ll sun areas usually face south and re c e i ve direct sunlight

at least six hours per day. H e n t s chel notes these are a s

w i ll all ow some flowers to perf o rm best. Your garden may be

made up of pere n n i a l s , w h i ch usually live three or more

ye a r s , “and genera lly most die back to the ground at the end

of the growing season and will grow new shoots in the

s p ri n g, ” G e rts says .

Fu ll sunlight perennials for the spring also incl u d e

Fi rew i t ch Cheddar Pinks Dianthus, Pra i rie Sm oke and

C reeping Ph l ox . Du ring late spring and summer though,

s ome other perennials that re q u i re full sun include Jethro

Tu ll Core o p s i s , Golden Sh owers Coreopsis and Roza n n e

G e ra n i u m s . Petunias also re q u i re full sunlight but are annual

f l ow e r s , w h i ch complete their life cycle within a ye a r.

Pa rtial shade and sun areas are loca t i ons that face east or

west and will get from four to six hours of sun daily.

M a ri go l d s , annual flowers (which can be sown in Ap ril and

w i ll begin flow e ring in June until fro s t ) , m ay surv i ve under

these con d i t i on s .

1) Petunia. 2) Jethro Tull Coreopsis 3) Firewitch Cheddar Pinks Dianthus.

4) Coleus 5) Geum triflorum aka Prairie Smoke 6) Marigold. Photos courtesy

of University of Illinois Extension Service.: 1, 4, 6. Photos courtesy of

King’s Landscaping Co.: 2, 3, 5

Light shade areas re c e i ve shade most of the day but get

s ome sunlight filtered through small - l e a ved tre e s .

Fu ll shade areas are on the north side of the home and

re c e i ve no direct sunlight during the course of the day. Fo r

shady are a s , c onsider plants that have attra c t i ve vari e g a t e d

foliage colors that will brighten up that space nicely.

E a r t h

Soil is best in the spring because the frost that kept the

soil wet all winter is gon e . Avoid working soil when it’s too

w e t , H e n t s chel says , b e cause that will destroy soil stru c t u re

and make drainage worse.

Wet soil all ows disease organisms to possibly infect yo u n g

s e e dl i n g s . He also notes the importance of incorp o ra t i n g

organic matter into your soil. G e rts agrees that a two- to

f o u r - i n ch organic mu l ch layer is extre m e ly important when

dealing with new perennial planting.

“I re c ommend using a top dressing of blended compost or

a double processed shredded hardwood mu l ch to keep weed

seeds from germinating by blocking out the light and making

it easier for you to pull small weeds that may spro u t , ” h e

s ays .

M u l ch will also keep the soil tempera t u re more con s i s t e n t

and all ow it to retain more moisture . For existing gard e n s ,

G e rts adds to incorp o rate additional organic matter into soil

1 2 3


at an eight- to 10-inch depth. For a new garden with heavy

cl ay topsoil, it may be necessary to excavate the entire are a

d own to about 10 to 12 inches and incorp o rate new pulve ri

zed topsoil mixed with the organic matter.

Keeping on top of weeding is vital as well .

“Deadhead the flowers that need to maintain a go o d

a p p e a rance and don’t let your plants wilt,” H e n t s chel says .

“D on’t be afraid to prune back later in summer to encoura g e

n ew growth and flowers for later. ”

Wa t e r

Ove r - w a t e ring can kill some plants so be sure to mon i t o r

your fre q u e n cy.

“Water should drain away into soil just about immediately,

” H e n t s chel says .

To test your soil, put your finger about an inch into the

s o i l .

“If it leaves a smudged re s i d u e, yo u’re good for the day, ”

G e rts says .

He says , as a general ru l e, to make sure water penetra t e s

four inches into the soil to force roots to grow deeper and

make them better equipped to handle hot, d ry weather.

“Do most of your watering in the morning to avoid ev a po

ra t i on loss if done in the heat of the day, ” G e rts adds.

Wa t e ring late in the day may cause your plants to be

moist into the night, w h i ch encourages fungal diseases.

Anyone can have a green thumb by following closely

the directions on the seed packages, but it never hurts to

consult a professional to get the most out of your spring

garden. • PP



spring home & garden ★ 2




spring cleaning

Save time, money and your sanity

by Te r ra Coon ey • Special to P i o n e er Pre s s

Sp ring is a great time to cl e a n , o r g a n i ze

or re evaluate your ways of doing both.

“We are bom b a rded with inform a t i on

eve ry day and have to find a way to manage

it and not be ove rwhelmed by the

e n o rmous amount of stress that com e s

with cl u t t e r, ” s ays Caro lyn Mill e r, owner of

Mind Over Matter Organizing in Oak

Pa rk . Get started by making S PAC E:

So rti n g. Pu r gi n g. A s s i gn i n g.

C o n t a i n i n g. E v a l u a ti n g.

So rti n g should start in the area of yo u r

h ome you spend the most time in or with

what's bothering you the most.

“If you find yourself wasting time getting

dressed in the morn i n g, the closet is a

good place to start , ” s ays To ry Day of

Wi l m e t t e, c o - p ro p rietor of Cre a t i ve

O r g a n i za t i on So l u t i ons with Chica go’s

E llen Ka ra s .

A growing pile of mail is a com m on

p ro b l e m . M i ller says , to sort the mail in

the same place each day. Keep a shre d d e r

and a re cycling bin nearb y.

Another way to eliminate the amount of

i n c oming mail you get is by using elect

ronic bill pay.

Pu r gi n g in spring is the perfect time to

d e lve into your existing ward ro b e, s ays

C a t hy Bock , owner of Chaos Ta m e r s , a

No rt h b ro ok pro fe s s i onal organiza t i on

c om p a ny. Pu ll eve rything out of the cl o s e t

and create three sorting piles: k e e p, d on a t e

and toss.

“If you have n’t worn something in a

ye a r, get rid of it,” she says .

Ka ras is a fan of the in-out ru l e .

Wh e n ever a new item comes into the

h o u s e, purge an item from the same ca t ego


If you have ch i l d re n , the pace at which

t h ey grow affords opport u n i ty to purge.

M i ller suggests keeping a don a t i on bin

going at all times.

Be ruthless with your assessment and

“when in doubt, t h row it out,” she re c omm

e n d s .

E-mail your comments to nichepublications@pioneerlocal.com.

We welcome your feedback.

3701 W. Lake Ave. | Glenview, IL 60026

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Lisa Pratt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Niche Publications Manager

Tammy Matthews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Special Sections Editor

t m a t t h e w s @ p i o n e e r l o c a l . c o m

Jennifer Wi l l i a m s. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Special Sections Designer

E v e ry eff o rt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this section.

The Publishers cannot guarantee the correctness of all the information available to

them and assume no liability arising from error or omission. Comments should be

sent to: Niche Publications; Pioneer Press Newspapers, 3701 W. Lake Av e . ,

G l e n v i e w, IL 60026, nichepublications@pioneerlocal.com. Copyright© 2008 Pioneer

P ress. All Rights Reserved.

A s s i gn a home to eve ryt h i n g.This may

mean using a label maker or con d i t i on i n g

yourself to keep things in one place.

Ac c o rding to the Na t i onal Organiza t i on

for Pro fe s s i onal Organize r s , Am e ri ca n s

spend ro u g h ly 55 minutes a day (or 12

weeks per year) looking for som e t h i n g

t h ey own but ca n’t find.

“Whether it’s a bill or passport , if it had

an assigned place to live in, you could save

a ll that time and fru s t ra t i on , ” M i ller says .

Make use of all space in your hom e,

i n cluding under the bed or stairs and fre e

s t o rage are a s . For paper, l o ok into a filing

s ystem that works for yo u .

C o n t a i n what you have, but don’t fall into

the trap of renting storage space, D ay says .

“It makes more sense to sort thro u g h

clutter and get rid of things yo u’ll neve r

use again than to pay to store them,” s h e

s h a re s .

“You have to do the hard work first,”

M i llers says . “ O ften times yo u’ll find ways

to contain your things with what you have

at hom e . And that’s a mon ey save r. ”

Use your ve rt i cal space well .

“Add wall shelves or pull-out shelves in

ca b i n e t s , ” B o ck says .

E v a l u a ti n g happens throughout yo u r

o r g a n i za t i on pro c e s s . You evaluate what

you keep, what you purge, what areas need

the most help and how best to use yo u r

t i m e s .

Once you are more organized yo u , ev a luate

your systems con s i s t e n t ly. Tw e a k

your filing or organiza t i on systems as

n e e d e d . E ven if yo u’re good at maintaining

a sys t e m , eve ryone needs touch ups from

time to time.

“If you can work 15 to 20 minutes per

d ay on organizing, you will not believe

what can happen after 30 days , ” M i ll e r

s ays . “But it’s a com m i t m e n t . ”

Keeping up can be easy if you make it a

ri t u a l . You may also see unexpected

changes in other parts of your life yo u

n ever thought would be affe c t e d . • PP

spring home & garden ★ 4


spring home design

Make your rooms bloom


by Te r ra Coon ey • Special to P i o n e er Pre s s

Sp ring has spru n g, and its time to freshen up your habit

a t . Heal from the winter by bringing the warmer weather

into your hom e . H e re are some ways to embra c e

s p ring by tweaking your abode for fresher living.

If you’re starting with subtle paint

colors, you can do a lot with accent

tones in your furniture and accessories.

Fresh white keeps a room simple and

open to color additions.

“Splashes of color put strategically

throughout the room is where people

are going,” says Gail Trower, owner of

Interior Dimensions and Design, LLC

in Bolingbrook.

Vibrant eggplants, reds and layers of

color families such as taupe, brown and

cream can beautifully offset warm putties,

soft grays and neutrals on walls.

Add greens or reds for a little spice,

says Pamela Hill-Davis, owner of

Gray, cream, beige and taupe

on walls and in furniture

gives you that license to play

with pastels for the spring.

Hillits Creative Designs, a familyowned

Palatine interior design business.

“Bringing the outside in means not

just sage greens, but olive and apple

greens, too,” she shares.

Fern Allison, president of Lakeside

Interiors, Inc. in Evanston has seen

grays in demand as well. Gray, cream,

beige and taupe on walls and in furniture

gives you that license to play with

pastels for the spring.

“Use the lighter shades and the pastels

to change the tone of the whole

room and brighten it up,” Allison

states. “You can go all the way into

winter with a brighter room.”

Courtesy of Hillits Creative Designs

Courtesy of Interior Dimensions and Design LLC


Switch your heavier textures, such as chenille

pillows, for silkier patterns this season.

Add in crystal vases and move a heavy winter

print from above the fireplace into the back

den. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t

have to buy new things, but that it’s just a


matter of flip-flopping what’s in the living

room and the bedroom, Trower says.

Flowers are a great way to bring spring

into the home and to fill those light-catching

vases. Allison buys cut daffodils and tulips in

the grocery store to display at home. This

Get rid of wool throws and pillow covers; add cotton in

bright colors in their place. Take down heavy draperies

down; move the sheers to the front.

Courtesy of Hillits Creative Designs

Courtesy of Hillits Creative Designs

adds color and can be a nice centerpiece for

the dining room table.

To keep your in-home flowers fresh, be sure

to feed them light. People tend to let the sun

shine in with open windows in the spring.

“Take the heavy draperies down, and move

the sheers to the front,” Allison says.

She also suggests getting rid of wool

throws and pillow covers and adding cotton

in bright colors in their place.

After your fireplace goes into spring and

summer hibernation, place candles or flowers

in front of the area to make it bright. Dining

rooms can gather some pizzazz by adding

sheer chair covers. Switch out your runners

and tablecloths to add color and play with

your centerpieces. A different centerpiece

idea is to use baskets with fun napkins inside.

During springtime, the key is softer and

lighter. • PP

Courtesy of Interior Dimensions and Design LLC Courtesy of Hillits Creative Designs

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