Garden Photo of the Day

Vibrant Spring Colors in Diane’s Illinois Garden

Covey's lavender twist redbud, Daubs frosted on standard , red appledorn tulips

Today we tour Diane Jaeger's (a.k.a. Flowerladydi) garden in Chicago Heights, Illinois!

"Spring has been so vibrant this year!  I know we are all enjoying the brilliant colors!, wishing that they would last, but then, there are other things that take over later, just not quite as vibrant.
Happy Spring!"

Keep sending in photos, everyone! Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! Email a few photos and a little info about your garden to [email protected].

purple tulips 

Vinca and Muscari

Red dragon Japanese Maple, Sum of All hosta, Green Mountain boxwood, bowling ball

Purple Fountain European Beech, (not super purple as not in enough sun), Othello Ligularia

Weeping Norway Spruce trained/supported horizontally 

Front yard, but only a portion, cannot get it all in!

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 05/29/2015

    Diane I love your Weeping Norway Spruce it's stunning. Your little bursts of red color scattered throughout your gardens is really beautiful with the bright green tones of your maples.,and it really drew my eyes around your gardens. I have been thinking about adding a purple fountain beech in my gardens. How old is yours and has it done well for you ?it looks really healthy and I love the shape. I have enjoyed seeing so many photos of your gardens, the long view of the front is so beautiful.

  2. user-1020932 05/29/2015

    looking great, Diane. Lavender Twist is always a favorite. hope you are getting some free time to enjoy your own garden

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/29/2015

    You really have some great ying and yang going on, Diane with the chartreusy tones highlighting the burgundies and vice versa. Love the bright apple green of the new growth on your Weeping Norway Spruce. Have you had your ligularia for a while and does it flower for you? That was a plant that came and went for me but I always admire it when I see it in other people's gardens.

    1. NCYarden 05/29/2015

      Haha, yeah I give up on ligularia. It came and went a couple of times for me too. I still see it and thus want it, but remind myself of the heartache that awaits.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 05/29/2015

        David, I thought of your foxtail lily blooms a few weeks ago as I debated about whether to give a pot a try. I don't usually see them offered for sale but a little nursery I shop at had a few potted up. The lady who runs it said they were new to her and she wanted me to hold off and let them get a little more mature. She's mostly a wholesaler but since I buy so much, she lets me poke around in the greenhouses. Are yours coming back bigger and better than ever?

        1. NCYarden 05/29/2015

          You know, I think you might be referring to the pineapple lilies (Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'), which does look kinda similar. I did try the foxtail lilies a couple of years ago, but to no avail...complete disappointment. Don't know if it was the heat or NC humidity, but no go. But as for the pineapple lilies, yes they are back, and at this point the foliage is large and bright, so I can only imagine the blooms that must be on the way for summer. They do not disappoint. Like I had mentioned before, it took a couple of seasons to establish, but now they are grand. They are not as tall as the foxtail lilies, but they are certainly a good alternative.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 05/29/2015

            Ahh, yes, the 'Sparkling Burgundy' pineapple lily...the plant my nursery person had potted up had the burgundy leaves but now I feel I need to go back and check on the name of the plant. Ha, who am I trying to fool...I just want an excuse to go back to a place that sells plants. How nice that yours are such happy campers!

  4. wGardens 05/29/2015

    Beautiful! Love the Lavender Twist and weeping spruce, especially! Wish I had a bigger yard to incorporate some of the varieties that you have. Your featured Japanese Maple is a beauty... I do have 3 of those, some of my faves. Do you have "Twisty Baby Locust"? I've had mine 7 years now and it looks great. In bloom right now. What variety of pine is behind your Beech? Thanks for sharing. Great gardens!

    1. NCYarden 05/29/2015

      Hi Margaret, I have Twisty Baby locust, and mine has not bloomed in years, and it is such a fantastic and fragrant bloom. Has your consistently bloomed each year?
      I still like the curliness of the tree, like a little island in the sky, but I really miss the bloom. Do you do anything special - prune, special fertilizer, cast a garden spell?

      1. wGardens 05/29/2015

        My Twisty Baby has bloomed every year. It gets good morning sun; none in the afternoon. I do prune some as it is growing next to the front steps and sometimes "reaches out". It is about 8 feet tall. I haven't fertilized it at all. Haven't tried the garden spell yet.... I could use it on my Redbud! I planted a 6-footer last fall and thought I lost it to the severe winter we had... but some green leaves are popping out on the trunk now. Thank goodness, it is not in the front yard where everyone can see! Hope I can get it looking good again someday!

        1. user-653698 05/29/2015

          Watch out for 'Twisty Baby's' offshoots. We had them all over our front yard after having the tree in the ground for six years. It actually is a very invasive plant.

          1. wGardens 05/29/2015

            Mary, did you try to grow any of these offshoots out? I haven't had offshoot issues... yet!

          2. user-653698 05/29/2015

            They are offshoots from the root. I have dug several to give to friends, but the friends whom I have asked said they didn't grown on. I forgot to mention that we took the tree out last fall. There's a baby Twisty lurking in a border nearby. :-)

          3. NCYarden 05/29/2015

            Yes, I do get the off shots. I just pull them as they appear. Luckily they have not been too bad, maybe about 6 or 7 a season. Possibly the other plants help suppress them some. I have successfully given one away that I let grow to about 24 inches and then kept in a pot for a few months before passing it along. Unfortunately I do not know its fate since, or if it even kept the twisting parent characteristics.

  5. annek 05/29/2015

    The twisty lavender twist is fabulous in your garden and I found myself wishing for a panoramic view of your front yard. It is so mature and lush, the way you've added burgabdies and purples, chartreuse and deep greens with your pops of color.

  6. NCYarden 05/29/2015

    Good morning, Diane. You have a great selection of plants in your garden. The Lavendar Twist redbud is a great cultivar. And your Red Dragon Japanese maple is beautiful Surprisingly it is a cultivar that does not do particularly well here in NC, as odd as that seems, and I almost lost mine, but moved it a few years back and fortunately placed it very strategically this time as it has begun to thrive finally, but not without some moments of trepidation at times until it took firm root. I see you have several other Japanese maples tucked in your garden as well...they are my favorites - they enhance any spot of the garden. I'm envious of your purple beech. I recently just got back from Ireland and saw some outstanding specimens. Your garden has really got it goin' on. Really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/29/2015

    Diane, your trees, shrubs and plant selections are wonderful. So great to see. I love the purple of that tulip. At least in the photo it leans toward magenta. I'm smitten with your front yard photo. Having a small yard as well and shoe-horning in everything I can, I really relate to your landscaping. Is Acer shirasawanum 'aureum' peeking in from the right in the last photo? Probably my favorite Japanese maple. Mine grows in fits and starts and dies back the same way. It's in its second site in my yard and I am hoping it stops throwing fits and starts growing!

    1. NCYarden 05/29/2015

      Tim, I'm right there with you on the shirasawanum. Love it, and it is definitely a challenging cultivar down here in NC, but I too have mine in its second site, and so far it is doing much better. After a year of just sitting in this new site looking like it was doing nothing (growing good roots I suppose...hope), it is now growing and showing signs of vitality. I hope to avoid the die back. I wish the same for you.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/29/2015

        Mine leafed out better than ever this year and then had a sizable branch shrivel and die. I guess I should look up cultural requirements instead of watching in bewilderment as it waxes and wanes. It was originally under the open shade of a huge white pine that is no more. I let it fry in the sun a few years before moving it to the east side of the house, under an umbrella of a huge Sambucus 'Black Lace'. It's only about four or five feet tall. If you have any tips or richer knowledge about the species, please feel free to share!

  8. user-4691082 05/29/2015

    Wow, Diane, what a collection of plants and shrubs! (And trees!) I love the bowling ball! PS- get a wide angle lens so we can enjoy that whole front yard!

  9. GrannyMay 05/29/2015

    Such a treat Diane! You have a gorgeous garden! Love that front yard look! How old is the Weeping Norway Spruce?

    I am so grateful that we have been given more photos to look at. Now would like to see them in a larger format, as trying to identify the individual treasures is a challenge with the small format photos.

    1. Nurserynotnordstroms 05/29/2015

      the photos look the same as they always have to me May?I use an iPad though,it makes it easy to expand on any given plant.

      1. GrannyMay 05/30/2015

        I don't know if using an iPad makes a difference. I can zoom in on them making them larger, but that does not give more detail, as it is a digital zoom. If you look at the photos that Cherry included from Jeff's garden a few days ago, those were a much larger format than the ones posted in GPOD. I think Michelle used to use whatever size were sent in, so we used to be able to enlarge them to their maximum without losing detail. I guess it doesn't matter if I am the only one who is frustrated by this change.

        1. Nurserynotnordstroms 05/30/2015

          Well May I hope it gets resolved so you can enjoy the photos at there maximum potential. I do remember when some were complaining a long time ago and Michelle did do something different to fix it. Have a wonderful weekend. The weather is going to be amazing

  10. sheila_schultz 05/29/2015

    Diane, the perfect way for me to view your yard would be to bring a chair, plop myself down and just soak in all of the beautiful details... this, of course, would have to be repeated several times in the front yard and in the back, and a notebook would definitely be in order! Your use of color and texture is pure artistry. I love your cram and jam design style, it works beautifully in small spaces! You have some very lucky clients ;)

  11. digginWA 05/29/2015

    I like your style, Diane. Wedge them in and let the plants duke it out! It makes for the most interesting gardens. My growing mountain of plants tags acquired just in the past year demonstrates that a small garden does not mean restraint is required. Thanks for sharing.

    1. greengenes 05/29/2015

      Oh Tia...I so agree! There are too many plants to stay sparse and open!

    2. Nurserynotnordstroms 05/29/2015

      Yep Tia that's how I feel" wedge them in and let them duke it out"what appropriate words. I also like "cramscaping" that's me for sure. I hope to see your gardens someday Tia

    3. NCYarden 05/29/2015 true.

    4. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/29/2015

      You are among your people, Tia. I just used the term 'duke it out' the other day about some plants. Cramscaping, gardening with a shoe horn, horror vacuii; all terms for collectors who love to grow cool things. Can't get enough!

      1. Meelianthus 05/29/2015

        Cramscaping - good one Tim ! I'm going to use that one.

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/29/2015

          Well, Linda, credit where credit is due. I stole 'cramscaping' from the Plant Lust blog and Glenda said it here first below....It's still a good one and so accurate!

          1. Meelianthus 05/29/2015

            Well, we must use any euphonious words we can find to cover up the real fact - that we are ADDICTS - right!?

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/29/2015

            I prefer the term 'connoisseur'. :)

          3. Meelianthus 05/29/2015

            Ya, me too, what was I thinking! Enjoy the day. A strange 80 degree day here in the PNW. Rain soon I hope.

      2. user-7007140 05/30/2015

        Horror vacuii - must remember that one, Tim, so much more elegant than "hate bare earth".

  12. greengenes 05/29/2015

    Great gardens, Diane! Good bones and that sets everything off nicely! I really like your choice of trees too! So you are in a "Garden Walk!" That should be fun meeting those who enjoy plants and newbies who are just getting interested! Its so rewarding to inspire and encourage others. You have gotten bit by the garden bug for sure! Thanks for sharing your place with us! Enjoy the year!

  13. hostamom 05/29/2015

    Your gardens are wonderful, filled with beautiful, specimen plants. Somehow you've gotten so many to fit in, without it appearing too crowded. I wish I could plan a trip to Illinois the end of June! on the garden tour

  14. user-653698 05/29/2015

    An absolutely beautiful garden!

  15. GrannyCC 05/29/2015

    I so enjoyed seeing your lovely garden Diane. You say it is small but it looks to be a good size. The pops of purple and reds on the trees are wonderful focal points. I too cram in plants and the great things is if something dies something else moves in. Thar Redbud is gorgeous.

  16. Meelianthus 05/29/2015

    Hello Diane ~ That is a beautiful view of your front gardens, great combinations and lovely colors. Everything looks so healthy and robust and the Red Dragon Maple is just stunning. Have you been at your gardens long and planted all of those wonderful trees? The Muscari are so charming and thanks for sharing all.

  17. Clarkpark 05/29/2015

    Diane, Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden! I really appreciate your front yard pic that has great layering of plant material. ? Does your Daubs Frosted Standard remain chartreuse? Mine turns a blue green. Again THANKS, Patty?

  18. user-7007327 05/29/2015

    I love everything in you garden.

  19. user-7007140 05/30/2015

    Beautiful and interesting,too, Diane. I love foliage and your garden has fascinating shapes and forms which look wonderful. But where are the weeds you mention - I cannot see even one! Everything looks perfect.
    Being a member of the cram-jam,duke it out, gotta have it club I can relate to it all. Have a good time with the garden tour and don't get too puffed up at all the compliments you receive!
    Many thanks for sharing.

  20. sheila_schultz 05/30/2015

    My yard is like yours Diane... very tiny, but filled with as many beauties as possible! It's a wonderful challenge ;)

  21. GrannyMay 05/30/2015

    Thanks Diane. I was curious because I just planted a Norway that is only a few feet tall. It's funny how impatient I have become in the last couple of years. I used to start a lot of things from cuttings and sometimes from seed (including a chestnut tree and maples). Now, knowing my time here in this garden can not last forever, I want my plants to grow more quickly. Yet, since I use the cramscaping method of gardening too, there is only room to add young plants.

  22. Meelianthus 05/30/2015

    I know what you mean Diane - more room! on every gardeners wish list. I ran out of room years ago as I have been gardening here at the same address for decades. Have taken a few larger plants out this year and replaced with better behaved, smaller plantings in hopes that the gardens will be a bit easier for me. So right, a 'labor of love' it is, happy gardenings. Linda

  23. user-7007140 05/30/2015

    Hello again Diane,
    I am intrigued with the horizontally trained Norway Spruce - spruce does well in my garden but I don't (yet) have a weeping variety and would dearly love the chance to train one horizontally as you have. Can you give me any hints on how to begin that process? Please!
    So glad you enjoy all the chit chat,too.

  24. ClareRocky 05/30/2015

    What beautiful gardens! I especially love the shape and color of the redbud. Everything looks so lush and well-tended. Just gorgeous!

  25. Cenepk10 05/30/2015

    Cramscaping, indeed. I was laughing the other day imagining my neighbors thinking..." Yeah, lady... Why don't you buy a plant or two for the front yard.. "

  26. GrannyMay 05/30/2015

    Yes, there are some real side benefits to planting young, small plants. I had given up on grafted Japanese Maples a few years ago when not one of mine lasted beyond 5 years. This year I decided to try again, got thoroughly hooked (again!!), and now have 6 new ones, all relatively small. Only 2 are planted in the ground, the rest are in containers close to or on my deck where I can see and celebrate each new leaf. Pure enjoyment!

  27. Cenepk10 05/31/2015

    So gorgeous

  28. Clarkpark 05/31/2015

    Diane, I think you are right, mine does not get enough sun; full sun would be better.... Just like barberries that need sun to develop the beautiful purple hues.?

  29. user-7007140 06/03/2015

    Thank you, I will.

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