|A gardener since childhood, I turned my hobby and my passion into a business. After studying Ornamental Horticulture at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL., I opened my landscape design business in 1982. My first view of prairie and prairie style landscaping came from visiting the then new Sears complex in Hoffman Estates. Awed, I then went on to visit many native areas around northeastern Illinois with camera and notebook and availed myself of classes and field trips offered by the St. Charles Park District taught by famed botanists and ecologists such as Dr. Gerould Wilhelm and Floyd Swink. I also took a week-long design class at The Chicago Botanic Garden from Darrel Morrison, former professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Georgia and designer of the Lady Bird Native Plant Garden at Austin, Texas.
In 2000, I designed a display garden for the Batavia Plain Dirt Gardeners for the annual Flower and Garden Show held at Navy Pier in Chicago. The design featured native trees and shrubs, forbs and grasses, the Fox River, and an Indian Village with Indian artifacts and actual Indians. It won Best of Show.
Over a 10 year period I compiled my copious notes, designs, and photographs into a book, Design Your Natural Midwest Garden, which was published in Spring of 2007 by Big Earth Publishing of Madison, WI. It features 32 designs and over 200 color photographs of built and conceptual gardens. I also teach classes at Elgin Community College using my book as a text book.
Last summer Better Homes and Gardens magazine sent out a photographer to photograph my native prairie gardens and a writer was assigned to write the story. The article and pictures appear in a Special Edition of Better Homes and Gardens, called Nature’s Garden, on newsstands now.
I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT:
JENS JENSEN, FRANK
LLOYD WRIGHT, AND
AND FARM STANDS