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May 2018

CONTENTS Excellence In Landscape Awards Project


FOCUS: New Plants and Ways to Think of Them Understanding the Context of Plants in Landscapes 10 A look into the mind of Piet Oudolf New Twist on the Tried and True 20 Exciting new varieties to light up landscapes

Bret-Mar Wins Professionals’ Choice Award First time entrant lands popular prize




Magnolias majestuosas: Los habitantes de la Primavera Majestic Magnolias: the Denizens of Spring 40

Landscape Skills Training for Field Staff This program is always a sell out

Pre-Show Tour of Chicago Flower & Garden Show 46 The popular Women’s Networking Group event Majestic Magnolias: the Denizens of Spring Some varieties worth your consideration




Member Profile 56 Emerald Landscape Contractors, Inc.

Before You Go... The Enduring Value of Mentors


On the cover... Bret-Mar Landscape received the prestigious Professionals’ Choice Award for this Residential Landscape Construction project entitled Harmonious Integration. The Landscape Contractor May 2018


48 3


DEPARTMENTS ILCA Calendar From Where I Stand President’s Message New Members Classified Ads Advertisers Index


4 5 7 54 58 61


Register Now!

Photo Credits ILCA Awards Program 1, 8-9, 32-38 Piet Oudolf 10-18 Rick Reuland 7, 44-45, 46-47 Ball 20-30

Andrew Bunting Emerald Landscape Scott Mahaffey

40-42, 48-52 53 62

The official publication of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA), The Landscape Contractor is dedicated to educating, advising and informing members of this industry and furthering the goals of the Association. The Landscape Contractor carries news and features relating to landscape contracting, maintenance, design and allied interests. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material and reserves the right to edit any article or advertisement submitted for publication. Publication reserves right to refuse advertising not in keeping with goals of Association.

July 25-26, 2018 Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center St. Charles, IL For more information and to register visit:

Volume 59, Number 5. The Landscape Contractor (ISSN # 0194-7257, USPS # 476-490) is published monthly for $75.00 per year by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, 2625 Butterfield Road, Ste. 104S, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Periodicals postage paid at Oak Brook, IL and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA.


POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Landscape Contractor, 2625 Butterfield Road, Ste 104S, Oak Brook, IL 60523. DISPLAY ADVERTISING SALES: Association Publishing Partners, Inc., Ph. (630) 637-8632 Fax (630) 637-8629 email: CLASSIFIED ADS, CIRCULATION AND SUBSCRIPTION: ILCA (630) 472-2851 Fax (630) 472-3150 PUBLISHER/EDITORIAL OFFICE: Rick Reuland,, Naperville, IL 60540 Ph. (630)637-8632 PRODUCT DISCLAIMER: The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, its Board of Directors, the Magazine Committee, ILCA Staff, The Landscape Contractor and its staff, neither endorse any products nor attest to the validity of any statements made about products

ILCA Staff

Magazine Staff

Executive Director Scott Grams (630) 472-2851

Rick Reuland Publisher/Advertising Sales (630) 637-8632

Education Manager AnneMarie Drufke

Debbie Rauen Advertising Sales (817-501-2403) debbie.landscapecontractor@

Events Manager Terre Houte Office Manager Alycia O’Connor Membership & Marketing Coordinator Marissa Stubler

v ILCA 2625 Butterfield Road Ste. 104S Oak Brook, IL 60523

September 13, 2018 ILCA Golf Outing September 27, 2018 Turf Education Day (TED)

v Becke Davis Senior Writer Patrice Peltier

Feature Writer

Meta Levin

Feature Writer Nina Koziol Feature Writer Heather Prince Feature Writer Marilyn Witney


Feature Writer


The Landscape Contractor May 2018


From Where I Stand — For many of us,

we spend between one third and one quarter of our lives obsessed with being cool. We start out normal enough. We don’t care what we say, wear, or stick up our noses. Then, in about 5th or 6th grade cool people begin to emerge. These kids are just different. They talk cool, they dress cool, and they act cool. They also have a unique way of making us feel selfconscious and valued at the same time. If they like what we like, we feel validated. If they don’t like what we like, we grow to hate it too. Cool transcends jealousy. It is not about hating cool people for their flawless and blessed walk through life, it is about wanting to be them in every way. There are many superlatives to describe people. Someone can be “awesome” or “amazing” or “neat” or “rad,” yet those seem fleeting. There are few words better than “awesome,” but I’d rather be cool than awesome. These sound like trivial matters, but these are the thoughts that whip through most of our brains from adolescence to whenever we give up chasing what is cool. Cool people never go away. There are cool people at every age. There are cool senior citizens like Betty White or Jack Nicholson. There are cool actors, athletes, rock stars, rap stars, fictional characters, politicians, models, kids, and animals. There are even cool landscapers. Coolness transcends every aspect of our existence. There are just people who seem to do life better than others. Thankfully, I was never saddled with the burden of being cool. Lord knows I tried. I wore the same outfits the cool kids wore, but they never looked as good on me. I listened to the same music (if my Mom let me). I talked in class, but mainly to give the wrong answers. The closest I would get to being cool was making the cool kids laugh. Now, this laughter didn’t result in invites to parties or an endless parade of hot dates. It mostly just led to a laugh followed by someone saying, “Good one, Steve.” Explaining what is cool is a lot like explaining why a joke is funny. The second you have to do that, it’s neither cool nor funny anymore. In researching this article, I discovered hundreds of websites that answer the question of “How do I become a cool FILL IN THE BLANK?” Googling how to be cool is probably the most uncool thing you can do. My heart ached for the 7th grade boy sitting on his tablet Googling how to be cool in a desperate attempt to fit in. Even defining cool makes cool seem lame. The slang dictionary uses, “very good, excellent, interesting, and fun.” That sounds like how my Mom would have described me in 7th grade when I was definitely not cool. Cool just is. It is taking something that required extraordinary effort look effortless. It is like pulling the sword from the stone, no matter how hard you pull and tug, only a few people have what it takes to simply slip it out. Cool is also fleeting. There are many celebrities, people, and bands that were the picture of coolness during a certain era that are completely cringe-worthy now. The Fonz is probably the best example. Fonzie was clearly the coolest person in America

for eight years. He was Elvis. He was James Dean. He was the man. Flash forward 30 years and he hasn’t aged well. Don’t get me wrong, I love Henry Winkler, but now he’s a paunchy, 5’6” 72-year old man who when he says “Aaaay,” it’s usually followed by “AARP.” Even cool people can jump the shark. Eventually, most of us drop our fruitless pursuit of being cool. Becoming parents has a lot to do with it. Most of the parents I thought were “cool” parents when I was younger were actually just “bad” parents. My parents certainly weren’t cool. Yet, now I look back and realize they were cooler than I thought. They never tried to be cool which, ironically, is the central pillar of coolness. Sometime coolness is latent and takes decades to discover. The objects of my obsession in my teens seem absolutely ridiculous now. I used to care how I dressed and now shop for clothes at Target or Kohl’s like I’m shopping for milk. My store list will literally say “shirt” right between butter and eggs. I will walk over, find the first L-Tall shirt I can find and throw it in my cart. My Z Cavaricci wearing 7th grade self would have fainted. We all know there are cool landscape companies out there. Their websites look amazing. Their projects are stunning. Their business cards are unique and abstractly sized. Their trucks are shiny and in color schemes reserved for luxury brand hotels. Their people are well-dressed and chill with cool haircuts or hipster beards. Their logos are clever and inventive. They just have it. Again, they don’t make us jealous. We just marvel at how effortless they make the public representation of their companies look. Cool doesn’t bring contempt, it brings awe and adoration. It makes our own companies and businesses look like the kitchen junk drawer. Yes, we are full of useful items that make people’s lives better, but we are a disorganized mess of colors, shapes, and textures. So here is where we come to the part of the article where you can take the red or the blue pill. The red pill will be to listen to what corporate consultants say about how to turn an uncool brand into a cool brand. The blue pill is basically to own your uncoolness which could have the reverse effect of making a company cool. The choice is yours. First, the red pill. Peter Gloor, MIT research scientist and co-author of Coolhunting and Coolfarming, lays out a number of ways for a business to pursue coolness. With that said, “MIT research scientist” doesn’t necessarily scream “cool”. Cool kids never seemed to be the best students, so there are probably very few scientifically valid research studies being done by the back-ofthe-bus club. Gloor recommends careful observation of cool people and brands as the best way to identify the brand of cool either you or your preferred clients respond to. As with an anthropologist, lurking and following, which has become even easier in an age of social media, is the best way to identify the cool traits a company wishes to emulate. Gloor’s next step is to ask either a cool client or a cool service provider to review your image or services and offer feedback. By

Just Be Cool

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


From Where I Stand —



identifying the exact person at a cool company to review a brand is the simplest, most straightforward way to understand how a brand can be modified. In short, ask the cool kid how to be cool. Personal passion and company ethos are huge drivers in launching a cool brand. So many companies try to be something they are not just like the 7th graders all wearing the same leather jacket or carrying the same backpack. There are hundreds of companies who try to be Apple, but there is still only one Apple. There are hundreds of people who try to be Chance the Rapper or Beyoncé or The Rock and never come close to matching their talent and charisma. Remember, effortlessly pursuing something that normally takes effort is crucial to being cool. If a business is old school, own it. There is a growing segment of the population that values artisans who take their time whether making whiskey or clothes. If a business cares deeply about the environment, make that a central value and talking point. Never apologize for that core principle and explain how a client who values the environment will generate maximum satisfaction from your work. If a business are made up of sports fans, ask your clients about sports, who their favorite teams are, where they went to college or if they are season ticket holders. Just be something. Identify the parts of the business that come easy (or will be the most difficult to change) and externalize those passions. Make those passions central to the personality of the business. Honestly answering, “Who are we?” will allow for a cooler, more sustainable rebranding strategy than falsely answering “Who should we become?” Then, of course, the other option is the blue pill. A company can simply not care. I know this is harder than it sounds. Deep down, it is human nature to want to be liked, admired, and part of a community. Yet, for some companies, this will come easy as it does for some people. They will shamelessly wear their jorts, socks with sandals, play Dungeons & Dragons, and listen to Nickleback. This surrender to our inner dorkiness can often have unintended value. Leaving the rat race of cool can expose a business to new communities of like-minded employees and clients who just want to be themselves without pretense. The best relationships in our lives are with people we can feel comfortable around. The coolest convention on the planet is now a comic book convention. Being on a computer every waking minute isn’t weird. Watching Netflix in our pajamas is a desirable weekend night activity. Even thick-framed nerd glasses are back in style. Sometimes it takes the rest of the world a little while to catch up. To be cool or not to be cool, that is the question. It seems like being stuck in the middle is the hardest place to be. Either we doggedly pursue coolness knowing that dogged pursuit of coolness never works or we give up, knowing that our resistance may not be considered cool for another 30 years. Personally, I’m leaning towards remaining uncool. It takes too much effort to be effortless. The best I can hope for is to make the cool kids laugh. It would be nice to get invited to more parties, but I’ll still have my Netflix nights when that doesn’t happen. Besides, even if the world disagrees, my Mom will always think I’m cool.

Scott Grams April 19, 2018


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

President’s Message — “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami


Lisa Fiore Don Fiore Company, Inc. (847) 234-0020


Tom Lupfer Lupfer Landscaping (708) 352-2765


Jose Garcia Natural Creations Landscaping, Inc. (815) 724-0991

For many years,

Immediate Past President

Mike Schmechtig Schmechtig Landscape Company (847) 566-1233


Mark Breier National Seed Co. (630) 963-8787 Allan Jeziorski Hartman Landscape (708) 403-8433

Kevin Manning K & D Enterprise Landscape Management, Inc. (815) 725-0758 Scott McAdam, Jr. McAdam Landscaping, Inc. (708) 771-2299 Dean MacMorris Night Light, Inc. (630) 627-1111 Mark Utendorf Emerald Lawn Care, Inc. (847) 392-7097

Ashley Voss Vermeer Midwest (630) 820-3030 Donna Vignocchi Zych ILT Vignocchi, Inc. (847) 487-5200

this is how I have felt about making it through the spring landscape season. Especially the start of this spring, which has brought literal storms of snow, rain and sleet, sometimes all in one day! It has been trials of: “Can we work today?” “What type of work can we do?” “Do we have enough employees in order to provide the services we have contracted?” “How will our existing sites fair through all the weather changes?” “How can we get our clients to understand why we sometimes can’t stay on schedule due to these factors without them losing faith in us?” Contractors do face a lot of unknowns. For those of you out there feeling the way I do, just remember, every spring, we make it happen somehow. We push through. We make deadlines and we come out bruised and beaten, but always smiling on the other side. We persevere because we evolve. We work within our struggles and we do our very best to meet the needs of our clients who have entrusted us to create and maintain the place they call “home.” With that being said, we have to provide big appreciation to those suppliers who help us along the way. No doubt they are struggling with some of the same issues and then dealing with us contractors as clients, so remember to be understanding, have patience and know that they will do their best to keep us on track and get us to the finish line. Here at ILCA, we as a Board are in the home stretch to our finish line. In just a couple more months we shall see the end of the fiscal year. ILCA’s fiscal year runs from July1 through June 30. We follow our operational plan through this time to make sure that we have completed our tasks, committees are on the path to success with their goals and we have future goals to build towards. Although ILCA slows down its events while we are in the madness of our busiest times, the staff is on course for all the fun and exciting things to come for their next busy season! Keep an eye out for information on the new Summer Snow Days event coming up July 25th and 26th at Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles. By then, we will have survived the storm of spring and hopefully moved past the actual “snow events!”

“Strength is what we gain from the madness we survive” – Author unknown Thank you, Lisa Fiore April 15, 2018 The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Christy Webber Landscapes • Chicago Soldier Field Memorial Planter Promenade

The Soldier Field Memorial

Planter Promenade project grew from a need to replace dying red maples in existing tree pits which physically span over the underground parking structure below. A straight-forward tree replacement maintenance project blossomed into a refurbished landscape, featuring this central planter promenade which leads thousands of visitors annually to Soldier Field. To compliment the architecture of the stadium and accompany the existing water wall feature, these planters serve as a memorial to our veterans for their dedication and service to our country. Custom stainless steel perforated panels are decorated with timeless quotes from military history to remind passersby of the commitment and sacrifice our veterans have made to preserve our freedom and quality of life. Contemporary benches stretch out of the planters towards the water wall, provid-

ing visitors a moment to rest, reflect, and appreciate all levels of service men & women. A colorful understory of perennial plantings amidst refurbished light fixtures create a green oasis paralleling the sound and stream of the memorial water feature. Together, these features honor our nation’s veterans from all branches of the Armed Services, which are symbolized by the planting of Regal Prince Oaks – trees whose stature and form are reminiscent of soldiers, standing at attention, ready for service.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


The Dynamics of Plants & Landscapes

Understanding the Context of Plants in the Landscape

by Patti Peltier

Dutch landscape designer and plants-

man Piet Oudolf has changed the way we think about plant selection and landscape design. He introduced his ideas to North America through his work at The Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and has been wowing us with his naturalistic landscapes ever since. During iLandscape, Oudolf shared his history and philosophy with an attentive audience. It may come as a surprise that this innovator in interpreting the natural world started out creating more traditional landscapes when he hung out his design/build shingle in 1975. Within a decade, he and his family moved to the countryside in Hummelo to establish a nursery. As the nursery became well known, it attracted horticulture thought leaders who started talking to Oudolf about different kinds of plants, plants that were native to their own countries and to other places. Soon Oudolf began traveling to seminars and gardens, particularly in England and Germany. Hobnobbing with outside-the-box thinkers, he began to develop his signature style. “My ideas changed about how to plant. Instead of think-


ing of plants as decorative, I paid attention to how dynamic plants are, how they interact with each other, how they change through the seasons and through the years,” he explains. His ideas about what makes a good plant changed, too. “A good plant is nice when it flowers, but it should also look interesting in bud. After it flowers, it should have interesting seedheads and a good skeleton,” he says. “It should appeal to you most of the year.” Eventually, Oudolf created extensive display gardens at Hummelo “so people could become inspired” by how his “good plants” mingled in evocative landscapes. “I wanted to show how plants can be blended not separated, how by planting in combinations, the effect is wilder,” he says. How does Oudolf create garden designs that look like nature—only better? As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” With this in mind, The Landscape Contractor offers these largely pictorial excerpts from Oudolf’s iLandscape presentation on the concepts that form the backbone of his designs. (continued on page 12)

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


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The Dynamics of Plants & Landscapes (continued from page 10)


Is the design for a private home, a public space or a commercial enterprise? Is the property large or small? Is the site wooded or urban, marshland or open land? “Each site has its own limita-

tions that must be considered,” Oudolf explains. He starts his design consideration by understanding the site’s role in the community and its existing environmental conditions.


What size is the project? Is it a large public garden, a new subdivision, a commercial space or someone’s backyard? Larger plants and larger groupings of plants are required for 12

large projects, Oudolf explains. “Scale is important for how big the groups are but also for how they work together as one landscape with rhythm and harmony,” he says.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Oudolf steers clear of designs that include annuals, biennials and plants that are not hardy because the integrity of the design is lost as the plants die. “We need to teach people to make plantings that live a long time,” he says. “Of course, the plantings are allowed to change, but the plants should live longer than two years.” Because Oudolf does not generally maintain the gardens he designs, he also works with the gardeners who will carry on his work. “You have to talk through what to do as things are changing, what actions to take,” Oudolf explains. “What happens if part of it dies? You have to teach the gardeners what to do.”


There should be a logical, orderly relationship between plants, according to Oudolf. “Your eyes should go from left to right over the whole area, and nothing is disturbing, nothing stops your eyes,” he explains. “The planting should be harmonious, in balance. This comes from rhythm and the repetition of plant groups.”

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


The Dynamics of Plants & Landscapes Complexity

light? The way their growth habits, textures and life cycles blend The way plants live and grow together is one level of aesthetically is another kind of complexity. All these factors complexity. Do they grow politely in clumps, aggressively must be considered when combining plants in a design, accordthrough rhizomes or seed themselves willy nilly? Do they ing to Oudolf. “The more plants you use, the more species, the have broad leaves that shade out other plants or slender foligreater the complexity,� he points out. age that can poke through the canopy to compete for sun14 The Landscape Contractor May 2018




Design and Photography: John Staab, Staab & Olmsted, LLC, Landscape Architecture & Fine Gardening Services, Union, Illinois

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The Dynamics of Plants & Landscapes Seasonality

“The whole planting should be interesting throughout the year,” Oudolf says. That doesn’t mean every single plant must be interesting all the time, he adds —

although Oudolf fans will duly note this is something he looks for in plants.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


The Dynamics of Plants & Landscapes Moving through the landscape

“I want people to go into the planting—not just around it,” Oudolf says. Accordingly, he incorporates paths and seating areas in his designs. He also considers how people will experience the garden. What thoughts, emotions and sensations will they have while they’re walking through the planting?


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

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The Landscape Contractor May 2018


3/15/18 11:41 AM

New Plant Introductions

New Twists on the Tried and True By Patrice Peltier

As an industry

, we love new plants, but we also need plants that are proven, reliable performers. We don’t always have to choose between what’s new and what’s tried and true, according to Jeff Gibson, landscape business manager at Ball Horticultural Company.

Annuals His list of must-see plants includes some that are brand new and some that have been introduced in the last few years. “All have been trialed and are known to work particularly well in the landscape,” he says. All offer a twist, or improvement, on plants that are tried and true.

Alternanthera Purple Prince

Scientific Name: Alternanthera brasiliana Characteristics: Colorful/Attractive Foliage, Heat Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, Low Maintenance Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 12 - 14” Height: 10 - 16” Width: 18 - 20” Exposure: Partial Sun, Sun

Angelonia AngelMist® Bluebird

Scientific Name: Angelonia angustifolia Characteristics: Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Scented Foliage, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 9 - 12” Height: 4 - 10” Width: 12 - 20” Exposure: Sun

“Landscape contractors always want to know what they can plant in mid-May that will look good until frost. Four months of performance is a lot to ask of an annual,” Gibson says. This compact, seed strain from PanAmerican Seed delivers, Gibson says, making it an interesting twist as a ground cover or a “spiller” in containers. Burgundy-purple leaves of Purple Prince have ruby-rose undersides for a very appealing plant in the landscape. “This annual is proven to perform in heat and humidity and has low water needs,” Gibson adds.

Landscape contractors already know the AngelMist series of large-flowered, spreading angelonia. This year, Ball FloraPlant has added a new color: Bluebird, a blue bicolor that transitions to a lavender blue twotone in the heat of summer. These plants make a big impact in baskets or as a unique ground cover. Extreme heat, humidity and drought are no match for these super-spreading varieties.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

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Stockyards Brick Clay Street Pavers & Antique Granite Pavers are utilized most commonly for driveways, paths, walkways and patios. Reclaimed pavers are also used in the construction of many exclusive homes as well as restaurants and country clubs. Some designers are also suggesting them for use in atrium flooring.


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New Plant Introductions Begonia Megawatt™

Scientific Name: Begonia interspecific Characteristics: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant, Low Maintenance Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 12 - 16” Height: 20 - 28” Width: 16 - 24” Exposure: Shade, Partial Sun

Canna Cannova®

Scientific Name: Canna x generalis Characteristics: Low Maintenance Water: Heavy Fertilize: Every two weeks Spacing: 7 - 10” Height: 30 - 48” Width: 14 - 20” Exposure: Sun

Celosia Intenz

Scientific Name: Celosia argentea Characteristics: Attracts Bees, Colorful/ Attractive Foliage, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance Water: Medium Fertilize: Once a week Spacing: 8 - 12” Height: 18” Width: 12” Exposure: Sun

This year’s twist on the popular Megawatt series of interspecific begonia is a new color: pink flowers with red bronze foliage. This hybrid has larger flowers and grows faster than other begonias you may have tried, Gibson says. Grown in both sun and shade, Megawatt powers through humidity and heat and tolerates drier periods between waterings, too. Its massive size has high-impact blooms that hang above the foliage for a fantastic show continuously from late spring into autumn.

Propagating cannas by seed rather than tubers makes them more readily available, Gibson says. Cannova, offered by Ball Ingenuity, introduces the first seed canna series as its twist on this popular, statuesque plant. In addition to lending a tropical touch to the landscape or an eye-catching thriller in containers, Cannas grow equally well in a range of soil moisture from dry to standing water.

One drawback to celosia is the flowers tend to fade quickly. Ball Ingenuity’s twist is Celosia Intenz which hold their color. The color choices of red and purple work well with other fall flowers and complement décor like pumpkins, hay bales, cabbage and cornstalks. Gibson recommends planning ahead with a grower to get Intenz in fall as an alternative to mums.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

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The Landscape Contractor May 2018


New Plant Introductions Coleus FlameThrower™

Scientific Name: Solenostemon scutellarioides Characteristics: Shade Tolerant Water: Heavy Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 16 - 18” Height: 12 - 18” Width: 16 - 18” Exposure: Shade, Sun

Ipomoea SolarTower™

Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas Characteristics: Water/Rain tolerant, Colorful/Attractive Foliage, Heat Tolerant Water: Medium Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 36 - 48” Height: 48 - 84” Width: 36 - 48” Exposure: Sun

The FlameThrower series of compact coleus has a new color for 2018, Salsa Verde. The plants are versatile for any landscape design – in ground or part of a mixed container. The premium varieties are very late to never flowering, making them lowmaintenance, high-impact choices.

The first-ever self-climbing ipomoea, SolarTower from Ball FloraPlant, offers a new twist on the popular sweet potato vine. Solar Tower climbs very quickly and fills a large container making it ideal for use with a trellis, as a topiary or on a vertical wall planting. SolarTower is also recommended as a thriller in mixed combos, climbing up a small bamboo stick. It provides instant garden décor. Available in Black and Lime.

Salvia Mystic Spires Improved Scientific Name: Gibson describes this improved interspecific variety as a Salvia farinacea on steroids. Its upright habit is so robust, he refers to the plant as “beefy”. Sturdy and heat hardy, Mystic Spires also has longer flower hold for a brighter blue flower color in garden designs.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Salvia longispicata x farinacea Hardiness Zone: 7a - 10b Characteristics: Attracts Bees, Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Attracts Hummingbirds, Heat Tolerant Water: Medium Fertilize: Every two weeks Spacing: 12 - 18” Height: 18 - 24” Width: 12 - 18” Exposure: Sun

New Plant Introductions


Achillea New Vintage™

Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium Hardiness Zone: 4a - 9b Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 12 - 14” Height: 12 - 14” Width: 10 - 12” Exposure: Sun

Echinacea Sombrero®

Scientific Name: Echinacea x hybrida Hardiness Zone: 4b - 9b Characteristics: Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant Water: Medium Fertilize: None or when needed only Spacing: 18 - 22” Height: 18 - 20” Width: 22 - 24” Exposure: Sun

This perennial yarrow’s twist is its flowers fade but don’t turn brown. “The bold colors mature to attractive shades instead of fading to brown like other varieties,” Gibson says. “This gives you longer interest in the landscape.” Available in Rose, Red, Violet and White.

Two new colors for the popular Sombrero coneflower series are available for 2018. Granada Gold performed well in trials across the country and wowed judges with its strong golden coloring all season. Sangrita is a vibrant scarlet-red color with burgundy flower stems that enhance the beauty of the plant. “These are not your grandmother’s coneflowers,” Gibson says. Sombrero are highly floriferous and naturally well branched to stand up against weather extremes. Overwinters well through USDA zone 4.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

We are experienced wholesale growers producing thousands of acres of quality, northern Illinois-grown nursery stock. A wide variety of shade trees, intermediate trees, shrubs, evergreens, broadleaf evergreens, vines, groundcovers and perennials are available.

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Morton Arboretum Visit our website for a complete inventory listing by nursery–quickly find the hard-to-get items you need! While there, check out our members’ profiles and request a copy of our Plant Locator, a print version of our online inventory listings.

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3/30/18 2:46 PM

New Plant Introductions Helianthus ‘Autumn Gold’

Scientific Name: Helianthus salicifolius Hardiness Zone: 5a - 10a Characteristics: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Rabbit Resistant, Low Maintenance Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 24 - 26” Height: 24 - 26” Width: 20 - 24” Exposure: Sun

Perovskia Blue Steel

Scientific Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia Hardiness Zone: 4a - 9b Characteristics: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Rabbit Resistant, Heat Tolerant Water: Light Fertilize: Once a month Spacing: 16 - 24” Height: 18 - 36” Width: 14 - 28” Exposure: Sun

“People think of Helianthus as a summer sunflower, but for September through November blooms, check out the new Helianthus Autumn Gold,” Gibson says. “This is one of the few plants you can rely on going into fall.” Narrow, dark-green leaves give the plant a shrub-like appearance during spring and summer. Once fall arrives, the plants are completely covered with golden-yellow flowers until hard frost.

Imagine a Russian sage so economical you could use it as an annual. Gibson says this seed-grown strain from PanAmerican Seed means you can ask your grower for pots smaller than a gallon. “You could use it like an annual in super-hot, super-dry landscape designs for a ‘tough as nails’ no-water plant option,” he suggests. Blue Steel features aromatic, silvery foliage that carries clouds of small blue flowers. Its sturdy, controlled landscape habit doesn’t split easily and won’t flop as it grows. Use it as a backdrop or as a tall texture in large-size containers.

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The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Cherry Explosion Hydrangea

The twist on lacecap hydrangeas, offered by Star Roses and Plants, is eye-catching, large, bright cherry red florets. Compact at just 3’ tall x 3’ wide, Cherry Explosion will work equally well in residential and commercial settings. It grows equally well in full sun to light shade. Flower Color: Cherry red Foliage: Dark green Growth Habit: Compact Zone: 4-9 Height: 3’ Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade Spread: 3’


“Drift is a very important ‘twist’ on landscape roses as they are true spreading groundcover roses,” Gibson says. “All other ‘ground cover’ roses eventually get tall and have to be cut back. No cutback or pruning of any kind is necessary for Drift.” Two of the most popular varieties are Red Drift and Sweet Drift. Red Drift® (‘Meigalpio’ PP 17,877) has petite red flowers, while Sweet Drift® (‘Meiswetdom’ PP 21,612) has pink flowers. Both grow 1 ½’ tall and 2 ½’ wide in full sun.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


New Plant Introductions Knockout® ROSES

Coral Knock Out® Rose

(‘Radral’ PP 19,803) starts brick orange and fades to coral. It blooms from spring through fall and maintains an upright to rounded habit. Young foliage is bronze red. Flowering: Abundant and continuous Habit: Bushy, upright Mature size: On average 4½’ h x 4½’ w Foliage: Medium green, matte Zone: 5–10

Peachy Knock Out® Rose

(‘Radgor’ PP 25,628) has shell pink petals that become yellow in the center, giving an overall peach effect. The color will be much more intense with the cooler temperature in the spring and fall. Flowering: Abundant and continuous Habit: Mounding Mature size: On average 3’ h x 3–4’ w Foliage: Deep green and semi-glossy Zone: 4–10

White Knock Out® Rose

(‘Radwhite’ PP 20,273) stands out in the landscape thanks to the contrast between pure white blooms and very dark green foliage. It blooms from spring through fall, maintaining a compact habit. Flowering: Abundant and continuous Habit: Compact, bushy Mature size: On average 3½’ h x 3½’w Foliage: Very dark matte green, young foliage is almost black Zone: 4–10

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Anatomy of an Award Winning Landscape —

Bret-Mar Wins — 2018 Pro

Harmonius Integration by Heather Prince

This unique project started with the cli-

ents’ desire to create an outdoor space for entertaining family and friends, but they had a sharply sloping lot with only a small concrete patio. “They couldn’t use their backyard and were frustrated. It was hot, on a slope and had a tiny concrete pad. They just wanted to be able to use the space,” reports Sharon Bretl-Marrin. In business since 1985, Bret-Mar Landscape, Inc. took on the challenge. “They found us on Angie’s List,” recalls Bretl-Marrin. This primarily design/build company is firmly rooted in family. Started by husband and wife Kurt and Sharon Marrin, they’ve been joined by daughter Ashley and son Adam. Everyone on the team poured their efforts into creating a dynamic entertaining space with areas dedicated to grilling, relaxing, and dining. “We’re a little landscape company on the south side. We don’t usually get these big projects,” comments Bretl-Marrin. They asked a lot of questions of the clients, focusing on how they envisioned using the space. The Bret-Mar team sought out the details like counter heights, furniture style preferences, tree choices, flower colors, and hardscape textures. The homeowners had already created a private back yard with rows of mature arborvitae along the lot line and a privacy fence. After surveying the property and interviewing the couple, Bret-Mar set out to craft an award-winning design. 32

At first, the clients wanted a place to entertain large groups but didn’t necessarily want to clutter the space with lots of furniture. Bret-Mar incorporated seat walls in the dining and firepit areas to create a flexible space for people to interact. “We sent them out to look at furniture, so we could adjust the designs as needed,” recollects Bretl-Marrin. “They found pieces they loved, so changed their minds and bought lots of furniture.” The Bret-Mar team adjusted the hardscape areas to accommodate the client’s deep seating choices.

Low maintenance

The landscape needed to be low maintenance as the couple were weary of mowing the tricky slope and maintaining the lawn. All the turf was removed and replaced with hardscape and planting beds. Material choices were key in this multilevel design. As Bretl-Marrin and Ashley Marrin worked with the couple to develop material choices, the budget ballooned. The landscape architects brought samples in a range of prices and sent the clients to Lurvey Landscape Supply and the Unilock outdoor idea center. They also used 3D modeling from Unilock to show the clients their ideas. “It sold them on the higher end materials,” comments Marrin. The clients looked at everything proposed, but in the end loved the highend finishes and natural stone. At Unilock the clients fell in (continued on page 34)

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

ofessionals’ Choice Award

Anatomy of an Award Winning Landscape — (continued from page 32) love with Brentwood Natural Stone. “They loved the natural products. They are big outdoor people and they like to vacation in Arizona. They believed the natural stone gives off a certain energy,” recounts Marrin. “They would find things on trips and send us photos.” The rich tones of the Brentwood echoed the stone of the mountains and the colors of the desert. It was used for the counter top in the grilling area, as the coping on the firepit, and also a custom-built stone coffee table. “Lurvey’s did a beautiful job custom building the firepit and the coffee table,” comments Bretl-Marrin. The firepit is gas with fireglass for a clean, warm look and easy maintenance.

Keeping it natural

The clients fell head over heels for the warm tones of natural stone. “With three kinds of stone flatwork materials, we were a little worried on how it would come together,” remembers Marrin. Hardscape materials were sourced from Unilock including Estate Wall, Ledgestone Steps, Porcelain Epokal Beige, Sandstone Indian Coast, Sandstone Autumn Harvest, Rivercrest Wall and Series 3000 Mocha Brown. With four different heights – grade, firepit area, dining,


and grilling spot – the construction process became a challenge. “All the elevations had to be exactly right,” recounts Marrin. “There was no margin for error,” agrees Bretl-Marrin. Drainage was also a key challenge. All the water was directed to the back of the lot by order of the village. “Drainage systems were built into the hardscape with all the drains hidden in the walls. The clients didn’t want to see anything,” comments Bretl-Marrin. Lighting was incorporated into the pillars, seat walls, steps, and more to provide unlimited options for entertainment and ease of use in the evening.

Construction logistics

Construction was also complicated by only one very narrow access point to the back yard and no space to store materials. The next-door neighbor graciously allowed Bret-Mar to use their driveway and they had to remove a fence panel for access. “With no stockpiling on site, we had to be very organized and bring just what we needed that day,” remembers Bretl-Marrin. Finally, with the hardscape installed, the trees and plants planted, the new backyard space is a warm and welcoming (continued on page 36)

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Anatomy of an Award Winning Landscape — (continued from page 34) area for the clients, plus family and friends. As you step out the back door, you have a choice of areas to enjoy. A Ruby Tears weeping crabapple greets you with pretty spring flowers, purplish foliage and dark purple berries for four-season interest. To the left, the deep seating patio furniture beckons under a large umbrella that cools the summer heat and adds a splash of color. A Canadian hemlock provides instant screening of the air conditioning unit as you relax on the sofa. Large wind chimes bring a bit of music to your ear.

Fire it up

The firepit area sits below the patio space, but you can also reach it down a set of stone steps carefully laid between two existing green laceleaf Japanese maples. On your way, you’ll pass an existing burning bush, trimmed to provide a formal element against the softness of the maples. Flagstone walls further set the steps and provide a rustic touch as you approach the raised firepit with the Brentwood stone coping. This sunken area feels private and cozy with the arborvitae hedge screening the neighbors.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

If you’re looking for a terrific area to entertain, the dining and grilling patio is to the right as you step from the back door. A large river birch shades the area, adds a lace curtain screening element, and provides pretty flaky bark for winter interest. Easy care hydrangeas including Vanilla Strawberry, QuickFire, and Annabelle are tucked in for beautiful summer flowers. Bird’s nest spruce offers a bright evergreen note and adds to the winter interest. Long-blooming perennials pack a punch of color and are all easy care. You’ll find Visions astilbe lighting the dark corners, Rozanne geranium billowing and softening the stone work, and butterfly weed adding a splash of orange while welcoming butterflies. Pardon My Cerise beebalm, Cat’s Meow catmint, and Blue Jean Baby Russian sage bring a bevy of pollinators for the homeowners to enjoy. Ornamental grasses add a sweep of texture and grace to the stiff lines of the hardscape. You’ll find Karl Foerster feather reed grass, Morning Light maiden grass, and fountain grass bringing beautiful seed heads and fall color in autumn. For a big swathe of color, the Bret-Mar team chose Easy Elegance Coral Cove and Super Hero roses for season long blossoms with minimal fuss. (continued on page 38)

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Anatomy of an Award Winning Landscape — (continued from page 37) The Bret-Mar team has created a beautiful back yard for their clients that incorporates their love of natural materials and fits the scale of their home. With diverse areas for entertaining and relaxing at four levels, there’s a spot to enjoy, no matter your mood. Carefully chosen plants add bright sweeps of long-blooming color and soften the rich stone hardscape. Trees planted for four-season interest offer shade, flowers, and elegant textures.

The Bret-Mar team was thrilled to work with the clients on this unique project. “She was home all the time. They were so excited! Just easy-going folks and they trusted us. They valued our knowledge and expertise, plus our recommendations. They appreciated us!” recalls Marrin.

You’ll be proud to have us on your clients’ properties. From canopy to roots, caring for your trees isn’t something we just do, it’s our specialization, our area of expertise, our passion.

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Magnolias majestuosas: Los habitantes de la por Nina Koziol

Si disfrutaba

de un tazón de cereales Fruit Loops en la niñez (o quizá lo siga disfrutando), estará familiarizado con ese dulce aroma frutal. Y si le gusta la fragancia, hay un árbol de magnolia para usted: Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk.’ Así llamado en honor a la ex presidente del Jardín Botánico de Brooklyn, el árbol y sus floraciones son verticales y las flores tienen el aroma de los Fruit Loops. Es uno de los árboles favoritos de Andrew Bunting. Director asistente y director de colecciones de plantas en el Jardín Botánico de Chicago, el otoño pasado Bunting presentó “Magnolias para el Medio Oeste” en la “Conferencia de árboles y arbustos del Medio Oeste: Paisajismo para un futuro cambiante”. El seminario de un día de duración, patrocinado por el Arboreto y Jardín Botánico Morton, trató sobre selección y colocación de plantas, especies invasivas, exploración de plantas y cambio climático. Autor de “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias” (Timber Press, 224 páginas), Bunting es probablemente el mayor fan de las magnolias. “Onza por onza, no hay mejor planta floral en el mundo”, dijo. Por su tamaño y abundancia, las flores de magnolia, que cubren el tallo antes de desarrollar las hojas, son una de las especies primaverales más maravillosas. Bunting presentó más de 40 tipos de árboles de magnolia, desde las especies verticales hasta numerosos derivados, que son adecuados para el Medio Oeste, pero su libro cubre 146, junto con explicaciones sobre cómo diseñar con ellos, dónde comprarlos, dónde verlos, cultivo, zonas de rusticidad, cómo 40

usarlos y mucho más. El clima de Chicago puede ocasionalmente desafiar estos árboles y cuando el aire del ártico envía ráfagas de finales de la primavera, se pueden dañar las flores desplegadas por congelación. Más de la mitad de los árboles de magnolia son especies tropicales—34 son nativas de Colombia, América del Sur, seis son especies endémicas en Cuba, pero hay muchas bellezas adecuadas a nuestro clima. Algunas son resistentes al frío, en regiones situadas tan al norte como Minnesota. “Algunas veces los problemas se deben a plantarlas en lugares inadecuados o plantar especies inadecuadas” afirma Bunting. Suelos pesados, deficientemente drenados y alto nivel de pH (alcalinidad) pueden afectar los árboles y ese estrés es una invitación a la escama de la magnolia. “Muchos son resistentes a la zona 4 con probabilidades de tener algunas flores”. Señala a Song Sparrow Nursery ( de Roy Klehm en Wisconsin donde se venden varias árboles de magnolia resistentes. No hay duda de que estos árboles son los vestidos de gala del jardín. Los paisajistas probablemente estén familiarizados con la delicada magnolia estrellada de flores blancas y el árbol de magnolia tulipán rosa-pálida, pero hay muchas más para escoger. Algunas variedades ofrecen flores amarillas, moradas, rojas y bicolores. Varían en tamaño desde arbustos hasta árboles altos. Bunting creció en Manhattan, Ill., donde un majestuoso árbol de magnolia tulipán creaba un dosel fabuloso y fascinante de flores a través The Landscape Contractor May 2018

de la ventana. Mientras trabajaba en el Arboreto Scott de Swarthmore College en Swarthmore, Penn., despertó su pasión por las magnolias. Como curador, ayudó a construir la colección de magnolias del arboreto con cerca de 50 a 200 variedades diferentes. También fue miembro de la Junta Directiva de la Magnolia Society International. Para el área de Chicago, a Bunting le gusta la variedad denominada ‘Mariposas’ por sus flores amarillas. Existe la ‘Alexandrina’, una magnolia tulípera y llama ‘Centenaria’ a la estrella florífera. “Una de las más populares en el planeta es la ‘Leonard Messel’—una planta estupenda. Y ‘Lois’, por sus flores amarillo-doradas”. Da un alto puntaje a la variedad australis de la Magnolia virginiana. Es una variedad del sur pero más resistente y puede soportar condiciones de humedad. Las flores son esporádicas, pero tienen una intensa fragancia”. Estas son otras de sus favoritas:


Magnolia acuminata “La magnolia de pepino o azul es una planta nativa de regiones tan al norte como Ontario”, dice Bunting. “Es perfectamente resistente en el área de Chicago y tiene un bello color en el otoño”. La variedad ‘Busey’ es más florífera, mientras que ‘Seiju’ tiene un tono azul en los tépalos (las partes exteriores de la flor). Resistente en las zonas de la 3 a la 8, este árbol nativo crece mejor a pleno sol con suelo bien drenado. Árboles centenarios pueden alcanzar más de 100 pies de alto y 75 pies de ancho. Este árbol de magnolia específico ha sido usado para producir híbridos con flores amarillas y varios otros.

Magnolia macrophylla subespecie ashei El árbol de magnolia de Ashe es una buena opción para jardines pequeños donde sus flores fragantes y hojas grandes crean un efecto tropical. El árbol alcanza de 10 a 20 pies de alto y de 10 a 15 pies de ancho. “Este es uno de mis favoritos—es diminutivo en todos los aspectos. Únicamente se encuentra en cinco condados en la región norte de la Florida, pero es perfectamente resistente en Chicago”. Resistente en la zona 5b.

Magnolia ‘Lago de Coral’ Un cruce entre el M. ‘Leyenda’ y el ‘Mariposas’ esta variedad tiene rayas amarillas tenues en los pétalos rosados. El árbol desarrolla con el tiempo una amplia forma piramidal y puede alcanzar 32 pies de alto y 28 pies de ancho. Las flores fragantes aparecen a mitad de la primavera. Dele un espacio a pleno sol sobre suelo rico y orgánico. “Florece posteriormente por lo que usted no corre el riesgo de que las flores se congelen. Es uno de mis 10 árboles favoritos”.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Enfoque: Sección en Español

Magnolia ‘Amanecer’ Este árbol de magnolia galardonado ha sido sugerido como reemplazo del más problemático pera de Callery. Su forma vertical (40 pies de alto por 15 pies de ancho) y flores excepcionalmente fragantes lo hacen adecuado como un espécimen o árbol de calle. “Es considerado uno de los mejores”, asegura Bunting.

Magnolia ‘Cáliz de marfil’ Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ fue una de las primeras variedades de flores amarillas desarrollada a finales de la década de 1970. Desde entonces, se han cultivado otras, incluyendo la ‘Cáliz de marfil.’ “Sospecho que hay probablemente 70 o más variedades de flores amarillas en el mercado actualmente”, asegura Bunting. Algunas como el ‘Cáliz de marfil’ tienen flores que son más blancas que amarillas.

Magnolia ‘March Til Frost’ Considerado miembro de los árboles de magnolia “flores rojas”, ‘March Til Frost’ comienza a florecer a mitad de la primavera y tiene varios brotes de flores durante la temporada de crecimiento, por eso su nombre. Puede tener la forma de árbol pequeño o arbusto grande y alcanzar 20 pies de alto y 18 pies de ancho. Crece a pleno sol y bajo sombra parcial.

Magnolia x soulangeana El árbol de magnolia tulipán es probablemente uno de los más reconocidos del género. Puede alcanzar 40 pies de alto y 45 pies de ancho y si bien ningún otro árbol puede igualar su profusión de flores, puede ser afectado por la escarcha por ser uno de los primeros entre los árboles de magnolia que florecen a comienzos de la primavera. Algunas variedades como ‘Brozzonii’ y ‘Alexandrina’ florecen a mitad de la primavera lo que las hace una buena opción.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ “Podría este entre mis 10 principales plantas florecientes”, dijo Bunting. Debido a que florece más tarde que los árboles de magnolia que florecen temprano, las flores fragantes tienden a ser más resistentes a la escarcha. A pleno sol en suelo bien drenado esta planta puede convertirse en un arbusto grande o en un árbol pequeño (de 15 a 20 pies de alto y de 20 a 25 pies de ancho).

¿Pellizcado su interés? Consulte el libro de Bunting para conocer muchas otras recomendaciones (www., así como el sitio web de la International Magnolia Society:

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ILCA Spring Events —

Landscape Skills Training for

2018 marked

the second year for Field Staff Skills Training, a two-day seminar for English and Spanish-speaking field staff, foremen, supervisors, and grounds managers. The event was held on March 15-16, 2018 at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL. The seminar covered a broad range of skills that landscape personnel need to know. Held right before the start of the landscape season it provided a great tune-up to get employees prepared for the busy landscape season. Sessions in English and Spanish included: Irrigation Components Safety and First Aid Instrument Training Pruning and Planting Trees Grading and Drainage Proper Cultural Practices Etiquette and Customer Plant Layout Service Plant and Shrub ID 5 Math Rules Plan Reading Container Gardening Permeable Paver Construction Manintenance


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Field Staff 711 S Material Road, Romeoville, IL 800-762-5738 * 815-836-0086


Corporate Office: 800-736-1356 309-654-2261

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


ILCA Spring Events —

Women’s Networking Group Pre-Show Tour of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show Friday, March 16, 2018, ILCA members were

treated to an exclusive pre-show tour of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, held at Navy Pier. The event was hosted by the ILCA Women’s Networking Group (WNG) who worked with the organizers of the show to provide a 90-minute guided tour before the floor opened from 8:30am-10:00am. This was a terrific opportunity to have the entire show all to yourselves and take pictures without the crowds. The 2018 theme was Flowertales, integrating books and gardening. This year the ILCA group had a very special tour guide, non-other than Chicago Flower and Garden Show president and show director, Tony Abruscato. He provided a lighthearted and entertaining insight into what it takes to put on a show of this magnitude.


The Landscape Contractor May 2018

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Just In Time for Spring —

Majestic Magnolias: The Denizens of Spring by Nina Koziol

If you enjoyed a bowl of Fruit Loops cereal as a

kid (or maybe you still do), you’re familiar with that sweet fruity aroma. And, if you like that fragrance, there’s a magnolia tree for you: Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk.’ Named after the former president of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the tree and blossoms are upright, and the flowers smell like Fruit Loops. It’s one of Andrew Bunting’s favorite trees. Assistant director and director of plant collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Bunting presented “Magnolias for the Midwest” at the “Midwest Tree and Shrub Conference: Landscapes for a Changing Future” last fall. The daylong seminar, sponsored by the Garden and The Morton Arboretum, addressed plant selection and placement, invasive species, plant exploration and climate change. Author of “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias” (Timber Press, 224 pages), Bunting is likely the magnolia’s biggest fan. “Ounce for ounce, there’s no better flowering plant in the world,” he said. The size and abundance of magnolia flowers, which cloak the stems before they leaf out, make them one of the most stunning spring specimens. Bunting presented more than 40 types of magnolias, from the straight species to numerous cultivars, that are suitable for the Midwest, but his book covers 146 along with how to design with them, where to buy them, where to see them, cultivation, hardiness zones, understanding how to use them, and much more. Chicago’s weather can sometimes challenge these trees and when Arctic air sends a late spring blast, the unfolding flowers may be frost damaged. More than half the magnolias are tropical species—34 are native to Colombia, South America, six are endemic species in Cuba, but there are many suitable beauties for our climate. Some are winter-hardy as far north as Minnesota.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of planting them in the wrong place or using the wrong plant,” Bunting said. Heavy, poorly drained soils and high pH (alkalinity) can affect the trees and that stress is an invitation to magnolia scale. “Many are hardy to about zone 4 with a likely chance of having some flowers.” He points to Roy Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery ( in Wisconsin where several hardy magnolias are sold. There’s no doubt that these trees are the prom dresses of the garden. Landscapers are likely familiar with the delicate white-flowered star magnolia and the pale pink saucer magnolia, but there are many more from which to choose. Various cultivars offer yellow, purple, red and bicolored flowers. They range in size from shrubs to towering trees. Bunting grew up in Manhattan, Ill., where an old majestic saucer magnolia created a fabulous and fascinating canopy of blooms outside his window. While working at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn., his passion for magnolias took off. As curator there, he helped build the arboretum’s magnolia collection from about 50 to 200 different cultivars. He also serves on the board of directors of Magnolia Society International. For the Chicago area, Bunting likes the cultivar ‘Butterflies’ for its yellow flowers. There’s ‘Alexandrina,’ a saucer magnolia, and he calls ‘Centennial’ a floriferous star. “One of the most popular on the planet is ‘Leonard Messel’— it’s such a great plant. And, ‘Lois,’ for its golden-yellow flowers.” He gives high points to Magnolia virginiana var. australis. “It’s a southern variety but more hardy and can take wet conditions. The flowers are sporadic, but have great fragrance.” Here are a few more of his favorites.

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Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

Magnolia ‘Daybreak’

Magnolia ‘Coral Lake’

Magnolia ‘Ivory Chalice’

Ashe magnolia is good choice for a small garden where its fragrant flowers and large leaves create a tropical effect. The tree reaches 10 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. “This is one of my favorites—it’s diminutive in all respects. It’s only found in five counties in northern Florida, but it’s perfectly hardy in Chicago.” Hardy in Zone 5b.

A cross between the yellow-flowered M. ‘Legend’ and ‘Butterflies,’ this cultivar has faint yellow streaks in the pink petals. The tree develops a broad pyramid shape over time and can reach 32 feet tall and 28 feet wide. Fragrant flowers appear in mid-spring. Give it a spot in full sun with rich, organic soil. “It blooms later so you don’t run the risk of the flowers being frosted. It’s in my top 10.”

This award-winning magnolia has been suggested as a replacement for the more problematic Callery pear. Its upright form (40 feet tall by 15 feet wide) and exceptionally fragrant flowers make it suitable as a specimen or a street tree. “It’s considered one of the best,” Bunting said.

Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ was one of the first yellow-flowered cultivars that was developed in the 1970’s. Since then, several others have been bred, including ‘Ivory Chalice.’ “I suspect that there are probably 70 or so yellow-flowered cultivars on the market now,” Bunting said. Some, like ‘Ivory Chalice’ have flowers that are more white than yellow.

(continued on page 50) The Landscape Contractor 49 May 2018

Just In Time for Spring —

Magnolia acuminata

“The cucumber or blue magnolia is a native as far north as Ontario,” Bunting said. “It’s perfectly hardy in the Chicago area and has beautiful fall color.” The cultivar ‘Busey’ is more floriferous while ‘Seiju’ has a blue cast to the tepals (the outer parts of the flower). Hardy in zones 3 to 8, this native tree grows best in full sun with well-drained soil. Century-old trees can top out at more than 100 feet tall and 75 feet wide. This particular magnolia has been used to breed yellow-flowered hybrids and several others.

Magnolia x soulangeana

Saucer magnolia is likely one of the most recognizable of the genus. It can reach 40 feet tall and 45 feet wide and while no other trees can match its profusion of flowers, it can be hit by frost because it is among the first of the magnolias to flower in early spring. Some cultivars such as ‘Brozzonii’ and ‘Alexandrina’ bloom in mid-spring making them a good choice.

Magnolia ‘March Til Frost’

Considered a member of the “red-flowered” magnolias, ‘March Til Frost’ begins blooming in mid-spring and has several bursts of flowers throughout the growing season, thus its name. A small tree to large shrub, it can reach 20 feet tall and 18 feet wide. Takes full sun to part shade. 50

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Robust Rebloomer TUFF STUFF® Red Hydrangea serrata ‘SMNMAKTSR’ pp#28672, cbraf This hydrangea begins blooming in early summer and continues through autumn, ensuring a showy, abundant display of large, lacecap flowers. Deep pink-red blooms, set off by lustrous, deep green foliage combined with its small, rounded habit make this hardy mountain hydrangea extra versatile in a wide variety of landscape uses.


TUFF STUFF® Red FULL TO PART SUN USDA ZONE 5, AHS 9 2-3' tall and wide

Available from these suppliers Alsip Home & Nursery St. John • 219-365-0882

Hinsdale Nurseries Willowbrook IL • 630-323-1414

Midwest Groundcovers St. Charles IL • 847-742-1793

Cedar Path Nurseries Lockport | Barrington

Kaknes Landscaping Supply Naperville IL • 630-416-1002

SiteOne Addison | Naperville

Lurvey Des Plaines | Park City | Volo

CJ Fiore Prairie View IL • 847-913-1417

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Just In Time for Spring —

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

Tweaked your interest? Check out Bunting’s book for many other recommendations (, as well as the International Magnolia Society’s website:

“I’d put this one in my top 10 great bloomers,” Bunting said. Because it blooms later than the earliest magnolias, the fragrant flowers tend to be more frost resistant. Give it full sun and well-drained soil and this plant can become a large shrub or small tree (15 to 20 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide.)

Hinsdale Nurseries has the best plants in Northern Illinois. Our robust stock is locally grown making it uniquely suited to the Midwestern soil and climate resulting in the finest quality plants.

Trees, Ornamentals, Evergreens, Shrubs, Annuals, Perennials, Vines & Groundcover

Over 500 Varieties

Of Locally Grown Plants

Over 600 Acres

Of Field & Container Production

Main Office & Sales Yard 630-323-1411 7200 S. Madison Willowbrook, IL 60527 52

Over 10 Acres Of Holding Yard

Little Rock Farm 630-552-8314 2353 Creek Road Plano, IL 60545

For sale updates and availabilities sign up for our email newsletter! The Landscape Contractor May 2018

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


New Members — CONTRACTORS Allied Nursery, Inc Lori Thompson 3197 S Chicago St. Joliet, IL 60436 Email: Phone: 815-722-3924 Elite Landscape Management, Inc. Chris Macauley P.O. Box 219 Plainfield, IL 60544 Email: Phone: 815-955-3275 Website:

Great Lakes Tree-Mek Rob Balas 683 Center St. Unit H Grayslake, IL 60030 Email: Phone: 224-458-4586 Website: Urban Rooftops AJ Vanegas 3120 N Sheffield Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 Email: Phone: 773-857-6411 Website:

We’re Bartlett Tree Experts, a 100+ year old tree care company with global reach and local roots. Our services include: • • •

Tree Pruning Plant Health Diagnostics Fertilization & Soil Care Insect & Disease Management


Call 877.BARTLETT (877.227.8538) or visit BARTLETT.COM



The Landscape Contractor May 2018

SUPPLIERS Coon Creek Sod Farms, LLC Rick Pump Jr. 48W679 Allen Rd. Hampshire, IL 60140 Email: Phone: 847-683-2700 Website:

Crum-Halsted Jim Bilinski 2350 Bethany Road Sycamore, IL 60178 Email: Phone: 630 485 4556 Website:

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


New Member Profile Snapshot

Emerald Landscape Contractor, Inc. 175 Scott Street Elk Grove village, IL 60007 (847) 685-5222

by Meta Levin

Chris Stinnett can

trace the success of his business, Emerald Landscape Contractor, Inc. in Elk Grove Village, IL, to his penchant for constantly learning something new. It all started when he was just 12 years old and began working for a neighbor. Ranieris, a landscape contractor who became Stinnett’s first mentor, recognizing something special in the young boy. By the time he was 14, Ranieris had made him a foreman. Although too young to drive the truck, he was in charge of the job and the crew. After graduating high school, Stinnett joined his father working heavy road construction. Hired as a laborer, he learned from his father, who was a heavy equipment operator and even applied for a union apprenticeship. When the economy slowed down, taking the road construction jobs with it, Stinnett remembered what he had learned from Ranieris, coupled that with the knowledge from his road construction jobs, paired up with a friend from high school and started his own landscape contracting business. Eventually, the two decided to split the partnership, which they did equitably, dividing equipment and even accounts evenly. About that time the union contacted him about becomig an apprentice. His father, however, counseled him to continue with the landscape business. “He said that it seemed I was doing pretty well,” says Stinnett. Which, as it turned out, he was. With his wife, Julie, and the equipment and accounts he had kept in the split from his former business partner, 30 years ago Stinnett began Emerald Landscape Contractor, Inc. At the time he had four employees, including his wife and himself. He dove in, giving it 110 percent, at first limiting his services to cutting grass and trimming bushes, but soon the drought cut things back. People would cancel, because the grass was dry and not growing, so there was nothing to cut. Stinnett realized he had to branch out if he was going to stay in business. Remembering what he had learned in his roadwork days, he took the training and became a certified Unilock contractor. His longtime customers also stayed with him and, in fact, many of them are still clients to this day. 56

Emerald Landscape Contractor offers more services, including brick and concrete paving, for which he has won awards from Unilock, as well as landscape services. While he doesn’t do landscape design, he does offer installation, as well as snow removal for commercial and residential customers. Most of his landscape customers are residential and just about all are in the Park Ridge area. His business has grown so much that he now employs 24 people full time. That includes his wife, who quit her full-time job three years after Emerald Landscape began and went to work in the office, and his oldest son, Cody. Ramon Orosco is, says Stinnett, “one of the key people in our business.” Orosco has been with Emerald Landscape Contractor for more than 20 years and “is a great worker.” “At the end of the day, it’s the people who do the job,” says Stinnett. “They are physically out on the street doing the work and we treat them with respect.” In fact, Stinnett has several employees who have been with him for 20 years or so. In recent years Stinnett has put his hardscape skills to good use as his customers demand more outdoor kitchens, outdoor living rooms and now contemporary pavers. “They are spending more money on their back yards,” he says. While he doesn’t install water features, he does do the paving work around them, as well as around swimming pools. The community benefits from his work, as well. Stinnett has donated material and labor to the Park Ridge Historical Society and is working to reinstall a historical marker, doing the hardscape and softscape around it. Recently, he worked with a nearby church to install a memorial bench after the death of a small child. These kinds of things he does quietly, preferring not to call attention to the charitable work that Emerald Landscape does. Stinnett’s new membership in ILCA is part of his attempt to keep on learning. “You’re never too old to gather information,” he says.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Classified Ads HELP WANTED



Open Positions

Laborers and Brick Installers

Bruss Landscaping of Wheaton is looking to add another talented Architect/Designer to our team. 2017 marks our 65th year of providing high quality residential landscape design and installation services to DuPage and eastern Kane counties. If you have a passion for residential design and sales, are self-motivated and focused on superior customer service we would like to meet you. Candidates must have earned a degree in Landscape Design/ Architecture/Horticulture. At least 3 years professional experience is preferred however we are open to recent graduates as well. Bruss is a relaxed work environment, although seasonally hectic, with a strong benefit package. Eric Bruss,, (630) 665-1600.

We are looking for: a GARDEN CENTER/ NURSERY MANAGER and a LICENSED TURF/ WEED SPRAYER Garden Center Manager Requirements: must have a min. of 2 yrs. experience in plant merchandising and display, be customer centered and focused, have an ability to train others, have experience in inventory ordering, and preferably hold a bachelor degree in Horticulture. Licensed Turf/Weed Sprayer Requirements: must have knowledge in turf, ornamentals, and right of way and must retain a valid driver’s license.

Landscape laborers and brick installers wanted seeking installers with- 1-2 years experience. Must be highly motivated and communicate effectively. Bilingual preferred - Spanish/English. Job duties include using hand and/or power tools or equipment, installing plants, sod, seed, brick pavers, retaining walls. We offer a competitive wage, cell phone use, and bonuses based on performance. Contact Susan/Lisa @ or call 630-355-3370

Please send resume to:

Mid-Level Landscape Architect

Landscape Architect/ Designer

Premier is an award winning, Landscape Architectural/Construction firm, servicing Chicago and its north and west suburbs. We are looking to add talented, creative, and energetic staff to our growing Lemont, Illinois location. We offer progressive career paths, set in a vibrant studio atmosphere, providing many opportunities to improve and strengthen your individual skill set. Premier is hiring for the staff levels below:

Seeking motivated landscape architect/designer to sell residential/commercial projects. Must have a solid plant and hardscape knowledge, strong work ethic, and communication skills. 2-3 years experience and bachelor’s degree in Landscape architecture preferred. Benefits include a competitive salary, cell phone use, quarterly bonuses based on work performance/sales. Send resume, salary history, 3 references to, or call Lisa/Susan O’Donovan to discuss position 630-355-3370

Beverly Environmental is a South Chicago based landscaping company. We are seeking an experienced landscape supervisor. This position will focus on landscape maintenance and snow removal. This is a salaried position with benefits. Please email resume to

Landscape Designer/Salesperson

Mid-Level Landscape Architect Premier offers competitive compensation and benefit packages. Please email resume and sample portfolio to hr@

Gardener Gardener Full Time, Year Round. Excellent Benefits! Apply online at Ques?

Landscape Supervisor

Acres Group – Multiple Openings Maintenance Laborers and Foreman for the Roselle, Wauconda and Plainfield facilities. Immediate opening for a Tree Crew Leader at our Plainfield facility!  Immediate openings for our Irrigation & Turf divisions.  Come by any of our (3) facilities (Roselle, Wauconda or Plainfield) to fill out an application M-F 8AM to 4:30PM.  NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED! HIRE ON THE SPOT! OT available, $$$$ TOP PAY & BENEFITS$$$ Or, come to our OPEN HOUSE April 14 from 8AM to 12PM at all our facilities. For more information please call Julie 888-2311300 or email resume Our website has our addresses for all locations

re u t Fu r u re ! Yo u t Fu r u is O Landscape Designers

James Martin Associates, Inc. is a leader in the Landscape and Snow Management industry and has been providing services to our customers for over 40 years We are always looking for exceptional individuals in Vernon Hills, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado.

Irrigation Technicians Landscape & Snow Operations Associates

Learn more at Landscape Architecture • Construction • Maintenance • Snow Management


The Landscape Contractor May 2018




EEO STATEMENT The Pizzo Group is committed to developing and maintaining a diverse workforce, and strongly believes in equal opportunity extended to all individuals in all aspects of the employment relationship.

Native Landscape Contractors, LLC seeks a growth-driven sales professional for the Chicago region (Chicago Metro Area including SW Wisconsin and NW Indiana). They will act as the point person on projects in the burgeoning field of sustainable landscapes and ecological restoration. ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS Lead generation, lead contact and communication, lead evaluation and assessment, site visits and assessments; client meetings and communication; preparation and delivery of private and public presentations; preparation of cost estimates and proposals; preparation of job files for sold work including site plans, plant lists and detailed description of work. This position is also responsible for client follow-up and must remain abreast of each project’s progress. The person to fill this position must be a self-starter as well as able and willing to take on leadership in the future. EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE - BS in business, construction management, landscape architecture, or horticulture - 5+ years of experience a minimum - Proven record of accomplishment managing client relationships - Must have existing client relationships ABOUT Founded in 1988 The Pizzo Group is the Midwest’s leading turnkey suite of companies in our industry. We are four companies: Pizzo & Associates, Ltd., Native Landscape Contractors LLC, Pizzo Native Plant Nursery LLC, and ecology + vision LLC. Together we provide an all‐encompassing approach to ecological restoration, sustainable landscapes, ecological consulting, sustainable landscape architecture and native plants to private and public clients. We serve governments of all sizes, developers, general contractors, commercial and residential real estate management companies, industry, and private land owners of all sizes. The Pizzo Group is focused on winning in the marketplace and being the industry leader, executing better than anyone else and innovating to create great products and services. We operate in an atmosphere of excellence, integrity, respect and trust. We bring a sense of teamwork, inclusion and diversity in everything we pursue. Our clients see the results as we address their needs, solve their problems, and bring new ideas to the table. The Pizzo Group is the most awarded company in the industry with 140 awards to date. We can demonstrate our record of achievement and our commitment to fostering an award-winning culture. As a distinguished market leader, we offer challenging career opportunities in an exciting environment. Our future success as a firm depends on our ability to attract, develop and retain the very best people in the business. Our values define who we are, underscore our commitment to clients and provide direction for everything we do. For further information, visit

CONTACT Jack Pizzo 815-351-3250 Wingren Landscape Downers Grove, IL Wingren Landscape, Inc. is an award winning fullservice landscape company for both residential and commercial properties seeking an experienced candidate for the following full time position: Residential Architect / Designer Position Role / Requirements: This person will be responsible for managing all phases of residential design projects of varying types and sizes from initial client outreach to project managing the job to completion. The position involves design, sales and project management. • B.S. Landscape Architecture or demonstrated experience. • Ability to produce high-quality creative designs, estimate and sell jobs. • Intermediate to advanced skill level in Autocad, Adobe Photoshop, and MS Office. Experience with Sketch Up, LandFX and Asset is considered a plus. • 3 plus years of experience preferred • Excellent communication and graphic skills Wingren offers competitive compensation and benefit packages. Please send resume and work samples to: McGinty Bros., Inc. has been a family-owned and operated business since 1955. Our busy Wauconda office is currently seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated individual to join our office staff. Duties will include answering incoming phone calls, processing estimate requests, processing work orders and invoicing, provide administrative support to managers, general office duties such as filing and organizing, occasionally attending prebid meetings, & occasionally measuring completed projects.

HELP WANTED Please email your resume to Taylor Abrahamson at Full time with availability to work 45-50 hours per week Monday through Friday with limited Saturdays (8 AM until noon) possible during the busy season. Administrative Assistant AM Woodland Outdoor Design is looking for an Administrative Assistant. Responsibilities include: Answering phones, directing messages, and scheduling meetings. Responsible for distributing all incoming mail and coordinating outgoing mail. Photocopying, laminating, filing, and pulling permits. Assisting with managing calendars, booking resources, compiling materials and making other arrangements. Maintaining office supply inventory, anticipating needed supplies, and placing orders. Updating various documents using Excel, Word, Adobe and Dropbox. Communicating with clients and staff to act as a resource for general administrative inquiries and information. Qualifications are: 2 years’ experience in an office and/or administration role. Experience within landscaping/construction industry preferred. Proficient with the Microsoft Office suite, QuickBooks and Dropbox. Ability to manage a variety of different projects and tasks. Superior client service, followup and relationship management. High level of professionalism. Please forward your resume to Landscape Designer/Sales Alan Horticultural Enterprises of Lemont is seeking a motivated and knowledgeable full time Landscape Designer/Salesperson. You must have a knowledge of local plants, be able to prepare landscape drawings, provide estimates for both residential and commercial landscape projects, have a knowledge of construction materials in the landscape design, have good communication skills with customers, and be able to oversee and complete a project from beginning to completion. This position offers competitive salary, benefits, and a company vehicle. Send resume to 630-739-0205

Qualifications: Minimum high school or equivalent required, with an Associate’s degree or college degree preferred; minimum of two (2) years of experience in customer service; must have a valid driver’s license and maintain insurability with McGinty’s fleet carrier; strong written and oral communication skills; must have experience with common computer software such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Outlook email, internet, etc.; & willingness to learn about landscape restoration

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Classified Ads HELP WANTED Natural Areas Maintenance Technician The Natural Areas Maintenance Technician will be properly trained & take directions from the Maintenance Crew Leader & Maintenance Manager for season restoration activities in the field. Duties will include: chemical treatment of invasive species with backpack application, wicking, & ATV spraying; safely operating brush clearing equipment such as weed whips, mowers, & chainsaws; gaining basic knowledge of native & invasive plant species

FOR SALE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Manufacturer of landscape and nursery equipment selling due to health. Ideal buyer would be someone already marketing their corollary product line into this industry.  This product line has strong bottom line contribution margins, excellent reputation in the marketplace, and is patent-protected.   Respond to:

Qualifications: Be a positive addition to the field crew, ready to work each day; high school graduate seeking college degree or a career in a natural resource field; desire to learn both native & invasive plants in the Chicagoland region; interest in various weed control methods including herbicide treatment, selective mowing, & prescribed burning; ability to obtain an Illinois Pesticide Operator License; ability to work between 40-50 hours a week with occasional weekend availability preferred; ability to work under various weather conditions; ability to lift 40 pounds & walk for long periods of time; valid driver’s license

HELP WANTED CLASSIFIED ADS CLOSING DATES & RATES May 2018 issue ads: April 15, 2018 June 2018 issue ads: May 15, 2018 July 2018 issue ads: June 15, 2018 PLEASE NOTE: “HELP WANTED” AD SALES ARE LIMITED TO ILCA MEMBER COMPANIES Magazine Cost is $5 per line Minimum charge $50 Website Cost is $12 per line Minimum charge $120 (About 6 words/line) Submit your ads online at or call Alycia O’Connor (630) 472-2851

Email your resume to Taylor Abrahamson at with reference to the job you are applying to in the subject.

Successful suppliers know— industry leaders read this magazine.

• Sales and marketing statistics show that the single best way to reach buyers is through highlytargeted specialty magazines.

• This award-winning magazine is frequently hailed as the best magazine of its kind. Put your ad message in this very flattering environment.

• The Landscape Contractor has an affordable advertising program for every budget.

For immediate attention CALL Debbie at 817-501-2403 or email — 60

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

Advertisers 1st Choice Equipment ............................................29 Bartlett Tree Experts ............................................54 Beaver Creek Nursery ..........................................55 Cardno ....................................................................26 Carlin Sales............................................................38 Cassidy Tire ...........................................................31 Chicagoland Gardening .........................................61 Chi Turf ..................................................................21 Compost Supply ....................................................28 Deerpath Nurseries .................................................55 Doty Nurseries LLC ................................................4 Goodmark Nurseries ..............................................11 Green Glen Nursery ...............................................63 Hinsdale Nurseries, Inc. ......................................52 Homer Industries ...................................................25 James Martin Associates ........................................58 JKS Ventures ........................................................55 Kramer Tree Specialists ........................................48

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Lafarge Fox River Stone .........................................39 Longshadow Planters ..........................................15 Mariani Plants ..........................................................6 McGinty Bros. ......................................................54 Midwest Groundcovers ............................................2 Midwest Trading ....................................................19 OGA .....................................................................27 ProGreen Plus ......................................................44 Rainbow Farms Enterprises ...................................30 Rocks Etc. .............................................................45 Russo Power Equipment .........................................57 Snow Fighters Institute ............................................53 Spring Meadow Nursery .......................................51 Stockyards Brick Co. ............................................21 The Care of Trees ..................................................38 The Mulch Center ..................................................61 Unilock, Inc. ...........................................................64 Xylem Ltd. ..........................................................45

The Landscape Contractor May 2018


Before You Go...

The Enduring Value of Mentors By Scott Mehaffey

By now

you’re probably in the throes of another busy season—running high on anxiety and commitments, and low on time for sleep let alone reflection. Hopefully, many of the plans, procedures and improvements you made over the winter months are now in use. But some familiar frustrations may continue. You could ask for help but from whom? Your coworkers are equally as busy. Maybe you need a mentor. “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction,” according to Dr. John C. Crosby of The Uncommon Individual Foundation. Crosby recommends that companies develop a structured program that “educates, encourages, and enables individuals to recognize the power of mentoring and its role in achieving personal success, inspiring change, and making a positive contribution to society.” As with many aspects of personal and organizational development, when it comes to establishing a mentorship program, the possible resources and alternatives are seemingly endless. In general, people interact most freely with others who share their professional focus and work experience. Peer Mentoring Programs pair a person who has lived or worked through a specific experience (peer mentor) and a person who is new to that experience (the peer mentee). Some pairs may make contact once a month, while others may meet 3-4 times per month or more. Typically, mentors and mentees meet more often in the beginning of the relationship to establish a good foundation and level of trust. Peer Mentoring does not necessarily have to happen within the company. In fact, there are many benefits to gaining an outsider’s perspective, provided both individuals self-censure so as not to reveal privileged company information. For this reason, it may be beneficial to select a non-competitor or to work with someone located outside of your market area. Mentors and mentees can often be found through professional associations or personal contacts (i.e. a former boss, former coworker, college classmate, etc.) Communication can hap62

pen through email and telephone as well as in-person meetings. Teachers and coaches are two other great resources for personal and organizational development. Education and training represent a commitment to improving your skills and abilities, staying current and being productive. Like mentors and mentees, teachers and students also learn from each other, so there is great value to either role. Teaching provides the impetus to organize your thoughts, convey information and hone your listening skills, as well as cognitive and verbal response skills. A good coach can do wonders for an underperforming team, whether on the field or in the workplace. There are team coaches, executive coaches, professional coaches, personal coaches, life coaches, etc. The International Coach Federation—the leading global coaching organization and professional association for coaches—defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” In a September 2017 article published in the Harvard Business Review, management consultants Eric Garton and Michael Mankins make the case that companies need to invest more in people—and that increases in productivity typically far outweigh the costs. In researching for their recent book, Time, Talent, Energy, they found that the top-quartile companies in their study unlocked 40 percent more productive power by systematically reinvesting in their human capital. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch Editor’s Note: This series of columns is by Chicago-area landscape architect Scott Mehaffey. Scott has enjoyed a long and varied career in the landscape world. He has spent time in the employ of contractors, public gardens, and the City of Chicago. He now operates his own design firm and is an ILCA member. His musings are intended to be reflective, inspirational, and occasionally motivational.

The Landscape Contractor May 2018

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The Landscape Contractor magazine Digital Edition May 2018  

Illinois Landscape Contractors Association

The Landscape Contractor magazine Digital Edition May 2018  

Illinois Landscape Contractors Association