Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Kristina & Bob’s garden in Illinois

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow

Today’s photos are from Kristina and Bob Sislow in Riverwoods, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. Kris says, “My husband and I have a passion for all things gardening. We enjoy plants, be it annuals, perennials, tropicals, bushes, or trees. I try to incorporate our lantana and plumbago standards (some that I’ve been growing for as long as 30 years) into our rather unmanicured, overflowing gardens. If it looks like it can be trained into a tree, I’m going to try it.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow

“During our many driving vacations all over the country we are always on the lookout for unusual plants that can be used in our yard. These pictures show only the back part of our one acre yard. I also thought you all might enjoy a picture of our almost 10-foot-tall tomato plants we grew this year.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow

“Many of our annuals are grown from seeds and we also we also propagate from cuttings. It helps to have a couple of hobby greenhouses, one for housing and propagating warm weather plants and one cold greenhouse to overwinter bonsai trees, rose trees, and some potted plants not able to take our very cold USDA Hardiness Zone 5 winters. It’s been an extremely dry summer in our area, so watering has been a real challenge this year.”

Wow, Kris, I think you overcame the challenge! Your garden is lush and oh-so-colorful. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kristina and Bob Sislow

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Comments

  1. Lisianne 09/07/2012

    I would love to see photos of the filled greenhouses (messy or not!) mid-winter. Nice gardens!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/07/2012

    Wow, rivers of color everywhere...love it! This is what happens when both partners are plantaholics...there is no better addiction. I'll bet you guys have a blast just living your life and sharing this passion.
    Your pictures struck a special chord with because I'm embarking on a first attempt project of making a mosaic tile birdhouse and my brain went "PING" when it absorbed your blocks of color.
    I will tackle my tile placement with extra vigor after being inspired by your photos. Thanks!

  3. trashywoman62 09/07/2012

    Kris, What a plethora of exploding color and texture! As a fellow IL gardener, I am in awe of your garden in spite of our drought conditions this summer. Our gardens have certainly been put to the test and yours has passed with flying colors, literally and figuratively! Lol!

    What plant/tree is shown in the 2nd photo, to the right, growing in the bed by the greenhouse? Silver leaves, woody stems? Is it a eucalyptus? It looks beautiful w/ the coleus growing beneath.

    One more question, do you fertilize? If so what do you use? Your annuals are soooo hugh!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Regina

  4. tractor1 09/07/2012

    That's some serious greenhousing! There's a lot growing on that one acre yet it doesn't appear cramped, there're enough lawn areas so one can stand back and soak it all in with perspective. And I know exactly how the Sislows overcame the drought, lots of hose time, think I mistook (yes, that's a word, had to look it up) that hose in picture 11 for a garden snake? That's a lovely garden, and shows tremendous effort, thank you.

  5. tractor1 09/07/2012

    Gotta thank Ries, the site remembered me over night, and the thumbnail now displays much larger... good work!

  6. wwross 09/07/2012

    Now that's a garden.

  7. user-7006916 09/07/2012

    How nice, Tractor1! However, I must decline thanks: I haven't changed anything regarding sign in on the site. The good news is that the bar you all find so annoying below the page will disappear very soon!

  8. pattyspencer 09/07/2012

    Totally love it! What swatches of color - beautiful. I'm asking too - do you fertilize? Or just watering?? And this might be a stupid question but when you say the annuals are grown from seed - do you plant the seeds in pots or just sprinkle them on the ground?

    Antonio - re: the bar at the bottom - thank you for listening!

  9. tractor1 09/07/2012

    Antonio: You're right, the log in remembered me all night but then forgot me just now when I returned. The larger picture is nice, would be even better if it enlarged when clicked like those here, I think it would make a nice feature for contributors to share photos... I know, I sound greedy! LOL

    Those are the twins that were born here this year, frollicing about one of my gingkos.

  10. pattyspencer 09/07/2012

    Tractor1 - love your deer pic. And so far sign-in has remembered me for 2 days now

  11. GreenGrowler 09/07/2012

    Eyes are popping at the swaths of COLOR! Especially the coleus; seeing how well it does in-ground inspires me to use it next year in my shady borders. K & B, I feel you about the dryness! Believe me, it's at least as bad in Colorado and my garden has not fared nearly as well as yours. Love the red salvia!

    PPS to tractor1: I currently have a Scott reel mower, the basic model. My grass is not thick and with the drought, I can easily choose to mow when it's dry. Yes, if it gets too long, must pull out the gasolene-beast, but as hot and dry as it's been the past few years, the grass really doesn't grow vigorously. I actually love the workout - after sitting at a desk all day, any activity, outdoors especially, is welcomed.

    Meander1: I do quite a bit of tiling, including mosaic - if you like, I could email you a couple of photos......

  12. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/07/2012

    GreenGrowler, I would really love to see some pictures of your mosaic work and also, I would avidly read and appreciate any tips you might want to pass along. My first couple of works in progress are a bit unconventional because they involve a round shape as I'm using PVC pipe. Finding a mastic that would work on the plastic of the PVC with hard surfaces like stones and glass tiles took a lot of experimentation. My next couple should be easier since my husband will build a more traditional looking structure for me to decorate.
    I don't know the proper etiquette on a public board like this in posting an email address? Should I just post it or, perhaps, Michelle can serve as the conduit in getting it to you. Any suggestions?

  13. GreenGrowler 09/07/2012

    Meander1 - Michelle has been most helpful in the past communicating email addresses offline. I will email her and ask that she pass along my address to you. Through MANY errors, I've learned a few things that might help and would be glad to share!

  14. tractor1 09/07/2012

    Meander1: I don't think the mastic is so much the problem as the very different expansion coeffients of hard tile and PVC, especially when outdoors where temperatures fluctuate constantly and widely. I wouldn't glue th etile directly to the PVC. I think I would cover the PVC pipe with some sort of metal mesh (hardware cloth?)and adhere the tiles to the mesh... wire lathe that plasterers use would probably work well, you can attach the lathe with just a few small sheetmetal screws, just be sure they're short enough that the points don't protrude into the interior (there are also self-tapping screws that don't have points). Tiles will adhere to wire lathe with the same mastic tilers use for outdoor swimming pools. This is only a suggestion but I'm pretty certain this will work... I'd hate to see your tiling fall off the PVC with the first cold snap. Wire lathe is inexpensive and can be easily cut with small sheet metal snips.

  15. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/07/2012

    tractor1, thanks so much for thinking about my challenge and coming up with an interesting possible solution. My husband
    (who tends to be the technical problem solver between the two of us)never thought of that. We just experimented with a bunch of different adhesives on a trial piece of PVC. I'm far enough along that I'm committed to sticking with my present modus operandi on my first couple but I am definitely going to share your idea with him and maybe give it a try. Thanks again.

  16. plant_lady_55 09/07/2012

    You are my kind of gardener!!! I love that you have roses, hydrangeas, perennials, annuals, etc all living together in harmony. Lots of texture, color, and sizes. I also love the garden art. I'm a flamingo collector, so I particularly enjoyed the flamingo whimsy. I envy your greenhouses. Would like to have my own. No room. You must have really good soil (unlike my Michigan clay) or you have some great compost. Everything is so healthy!! Thank you for sharing

  17. susanclemens 09/10/2012

    Wow. My mind is blown by the endless color in your garden!

  18. bsislow 09/10/2012

    Nice job Mom & Dad!!!

    I can vouch for the beauty of their yard... when I tell people about it, I refer to it as their own "Botanical Gardens."

  19. grammaoffive 09/10/2012

    Beautiful picture, neighbor!! The rest of the yard looks just as lovely. My husband says not to get any ideas.......

  20. karenm7459 09/11/2012

    Absolutely beautiful. Would love to see more photos. Also i see you have a eucalyptus tree in front of your greenhouse. Didn't know it could grow in zone 5, or do you bring that in each winter?.

  21. KrisSis 09/12/2012

    Just to answer a couple of questions. The fast growing eucalyptus was an 8" plant I purchased last year that I'm training into a potted tree. We usually fertilize potted plants weekly with 20-20-20 in the summer and the garden beds every few weeks with Miracle-Gro 24-8-16 if it isn't too dry to stress the plants.
    The plants (mostly annuals and perennials) we grow from seed are planted in a soil less potting mixture and germinated on a heated rubber mat in our greenhouse. They are then transplanted into larger pots until we get them into the ground. Thanks for the comments.

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