The Midwest Gardeniere

The time has come!! The moment we have all been waiting for-
Scott’s Miracle Gro and The Home Depot present…

Gina, The Midwest Gardeniere

in three new videos ready for viewing.  You can go to the Gardenieres site to find videos or you can go right to each video with the links below.

You can see me, GG, in my garden at

Watch me working on my climbing roses at

And I am ammending clay soil at

I am so excited, the videos came out fabulous!  Please pass along the links to everyone you know.  I mean that…everyone.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy my garden.

We just finished filming the next round of videos so here are a couple of teasers…

We did two “vertical” gardens, one with fall tones…

And one on the stairs with a blue focus.  Here are pictures looking down from the top step and up from the sidewalk.

Aren’t they just awesome!  I designed them both and I am so pleased with how they look.  Thanks so much to my wonderful mother, who picked out the blue torch at the bottom and gave me the tall amber torch as a gift.

Once again, any comments or suggestions please leave me a note, and please subscribe to the blog.

See you next time with the first post in our design series.




Windy City Coop Tour

Hey Everyone,

We deviate from the garden to talk about chicken coops.  Yes, chicken coops.  There is a growing group of people that are actually raising chickens in the Chicagoland area.  This weekend a bunch enthusiasts will open their coops for a tour.  You can go to the website,, to learn all about their network, keeping city chickens, and informational links.

You will also find all the details for the tour including a map and contact information.  So if you are free Saturday or Sunday, you might want to fly the coop! (I had to use the joke)

We are really excited because a friend of ours is a stop on this tour and we hope to go and visit her little chickadees on Sunday.  It’s really quite extraordinary that they’ll have fresh buttery eggs from their back yard in the middle of the city.  We may have to stop for an omelet.

Stay tuned for our development series, as we take a grassy front yard and transform it into a garden paradise.

See you next time,


btw – Thanks to Alice for the heads up on the tour and we wish her good luck this weekend.

GG, Me, and the Garden-by guest blogger Ed

Hey everyone, I would like to introduce my husband Ed, he has some words of wisdom to share, I think you’ll really enjoy it!

As always, please leave comment and suggestions.


This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to assist GG in the garden.  I asked her if I could share my experience on the blog, so here we go.  Here is what I learned about gardening working with GG this weekend.

GG, me, and the garden.

I woke up naturally Saturday around 9:00am to an empty house.  After feeding the cats and making coffee, I made my way outside to find GG in the trenches, surrounded by rakes, shovels, daggers (which I have learned are soil knifes), wheelbarrow, buckets of dirt, and uprooted plants.

“Good Morning, where do we begin?” I said with coffee cup in hand.  Immediately I was put to work, sans coffee, on trimming Salvia.  Little did I know, this is where I began, GG began at 7:30 outside and already had two flower beds transplanted.

Lesson 1:  Gardening takes devotion.  GG was drawn to the garden within minutes of waking up.  Me, it took an hour to mosey on out there.

Now I’m trimming the Salvia, which all I can think of is that is sounds a lot like Saliva.  The Salvia has gotten too stringy and is falling all over.  GG is going to transplant it and cut it way down, and I mean way down.  These stalks were 8-12 inches long and I was trying to take the top 4 inches off.   I was then shown that we were cutting them all the way to the base, only leaving potential little stubs of green and even some of those could go.

Lesson 2:  Gardening can be aggressive.  Even cutting the plant all the way down it will come back even stronger.

Next we moved on to the mini Zinnia’s(that’s with two n’s).  I had to find the flowers that had already gone past their peak or were dead and follow their stalk down and cut off as low as possible without cutting other stalks that had potential new blooms.  (Yes, I know, a run on sentence is bad form but that’s how it felt to remember all that info to me).  At first this seemed drastic because there were still bright reds and oranges left in the flower heads.  But GG explained that these were done and there were plenty more flowers to bloom.  By cutting these it would force the plant to put more energy into the new blooms.  This would extend the length of color we have moving into the fall season.

Lesson 3:  Gardening is like being a plant supervisor.  Plants have plenty of energy but sometimes they need some help as to where to focus that energy.

Next GG was looking for a place to move one of her climbing roses.  She asked me my opinion as to where we should put it.  I made multiple suggestions.   Each suggestion was met with a realization that I didn’t know what I was talking about.  “How about here?”  I would ask, only to find out that the soil was wrong, there wasn’t enough sunlight, not enough water, not enough drainage… what color are the roses again?

Lesson 4:  Gardening takes knowledge.  For every plant GG has in her garden she knows all the different variables.  How does she know this?  Education and experience (shhh,  I think I just gave away her secret)

In addition to the above things I worked on I did other stuff too.  But as it is a day later I can’t remember the names of the plants I worked on (except Saliva and Zinnias).  I tried to write more but I kept asking GG, “What was the name of the plant that I worked on next? You know the one in the back yard by the other plant?”  Rightfully so it was pointed out that we worked on many different plants and me saying “you know the one I trimmed,” doesn’t really narrow it down.

So if I can’t remember the plants, I’m afraid to cut down too much, I don’t jump out of bed at the crack of dawn, and I need a kneeling pad when GG works on her ‘core’ all day, why do I volunteer?  Two reasons.  When we moved in and GG started gardening with 2 trees, 3 shrubs, and a handful of ground cover, I thought it was boring.  We would work our butts off and at the end of the day we still had dirt.  After getting frustrated I took the next year or two off of helping.  All of the sudden we had a beautiful garden that I could take no credit for!  This is truly GG’s garden and masterpiece.

Lesson 5:  Gardening takes vision.  GG is able to really picture what a plant will look like in a few weeks to a few years.  All I saw was dirt.  I now know that even though I can’t see in my head what the plants will look like next week I know it will be beautiful.

The other reason I volunteer is that for 4 hours (yes, I only was able to put in 4 hours) GG and I got to create something together.  Not only did we plant, transplant, and trim, but we also talked.  We talked about our week, TV show plots, what we wanted out of the garden and life.  No interruptions, just GG, me, and the Garden.

Lesson 6:  Plants are not the only things that grow in a garden.


Until next time….


GG and Ed



The Pullman Evaluation Garden

Hello everyone.  I hope the past couple of weeks gave you all a chance to do some gardening and throw some parties!

I have an important post today about the Pullman Plant Evaluation Garden. This half acre was the first display garden shown to the public at the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1972, then the Home Landscape Garden.

It has weathered every season since then and is now an enchanting place to enjoy nature.  Take a look at some of these pictures…

As the Chicago Botanic Garden expanded and developed this little piece of land continued to support trees that are now decades old.

The picture on the left above is a Pekin Lilac.  A tree that flowers like a lilac, with bark the rich color of a cherry tree, and it exfoliates like a birch so the bark looks like it would just peel away layer after layer of coppery toned paper.  In the center shot you can see how old some of these trees are, look at that trunk!  And on the right a tree out of a fairy tale, with its wild twisted branches over the path.

And there are so many areas of interest. On the left a pergola supporting vining clematis.  It grows in front and creates a layer of flowers that climb up the front of the structure.  There are stone paths and steps all surrounded with different plants to see.

There are also unique plants, like this maple, Acer davidii

Look at the ridges on the bark, the pale lines. They practically glow in the sunlight, making the tree appear to be lit from within, just stunning.

The Pullman Garden has so much rich history you can see it in the trees and plants that have been thriving there for years.  Now, the reason this is so important is because this garden may change in the future.  You can visit to read about how this area became the Pullman Garden and how it may be allotted to greenhouse production in the future.  This means that many of the incredible old trees will be eliminated.  I hope to spread the word about the extraordinary Pullman Garden making it so desirable to everyone that we can find a way to support its history and continued growth.

Please visit the Facebook page and like it.  Visit the Pullman Garden, and tell the Chicago Botanic Garden how important it is.  Also, if anyone has any ideas on how to support the new Master Site Plan created by the Chicago Botanic Garden while maintaining the existing site for the Pullman Garden please share your ideas. I am sure we can find a way to increase production space and keep the Pullman Garden too.

As always, any questions or thoughts, leave a comment, I am happy to hear from you!