Downers Grove Garden Walk

Saturday, July 14, 2018

To benefit the DGFUMC Bridge Board program

providing transitional housing and mentoring
for formerly homeless families

The 12th Annual Downers Grove Garden Walk will give you an opportunity to view some of the most beautiful gardens in the area. All proceeds benefit the DGFUMC Bridge Board in providing transitional housing and mentoring for homeless families. 

Click on photos to view them on Flickr


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  • A bold and colorful planting scheme, which was also influenced by the owners' admiration for prairie-style design, was designed for this renovated mid-century Modern ranch.
  • Japanese flowering crabapple trees flank the driveway and focus ones view toward a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sprite sculpture surrounded by annual flowers. An informal hedge of hydrangea creates an informal geometry and is infilled with carpet roses, hibiscus and colorful perennials.
  • A crushed granite path meanders around the perimeter of the backyard. Colorful combinations of ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and vibrant perennials surround a central lawn and create a peaceful park-like setting.
  • The garden includes a raised stone and brick patio which was installed with an integrated fountain to add architectural interest and rhythmic white noise.

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  • A blooming garden inspired by the French-provincial style, where plants are lovingly tended and allowed to flourish.
  • Several varieties of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees coupled with an extensive vegetable and herb garden are intermingled throughout the property and make this thriving garden a nature-lover's haven where plants are beloved and celebrated.
  • The owners have lived here since 2003, and after having earned a Horticulture Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, put their knowledge and love of plants to work to transform many areas of the property.
  • The garden is in constant flux with plants being moved around to suit the plants and the ever-changing conditions. The long-term goal is to provide four-season interest in the landscape.

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  • A wrought iron fence enclosing the curving driveway is home to evergreen trees, boxwood shrubs and sedum, and highlighted by a stone sculpture and iron obelisks. Hydrangea shrubs, a climbing hydrangea, junipers and other evergreens add to the front plantings.
  • Inside the wrought iron fence running along the left back yard, tall Miscanthus grasses beckons visitors to walk through the iron gate onto a flagstone path surrounded by dwarf Alberta spruce, phlox, cone flowers, and a beautiful blue spruce.
  • A row of shorter arborvitae, interspersed with cone flowers, groundcovers and colorful potted plants are planted outside the enclosed "secret" garden. An iron bench provides a place to rest and enjoy the river birch tree and peaceful yard edged with ferns, roses, hostas, shrubs, and perennials.
  • The two-tiered wooden decks near the back of the home are surrounded by a tall arborvitae, pink hydrangeas, Russian sage, cone flowers, and other perennials and groundcovers. The railings of the decks hold iron baskets filled with colorful annuals.

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  • Behold! A "Kaleidoscope" garden waits for all to see. With the turning of each day, a new combination of blossoms, shapes and colors, light, and shadow emerges.
  • This unique garden, named by the homeowner, can only be described by most as a vibrant and colorful natural garden, filled with a plethora of modern hybrid cultivars of Hemerocallis, or daylilies that have been collected and planted over the years.
  • The botanical name "Hemerocallis" is derived from two Greek words meaning "beauty" and "day," referring to each flower that lasts only one day. To explain further, there are many flower buds on each daylily flower stalk, and many stalks in each clump of plants. Therefore, the flowering period of a clump is usually several weeks long. And, many cultivars have more than one flowering period.
  • The fact that daylilies can bloom for over a period of several weeks makes them very worthy. Might this be the kind of plant that offers so much for so long, that one might consider planting in their own gardens?

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  • Natural gardens surround this home while a front brick walkway, shaded by a large evergreen tree, leads to the home's entrance.
  • Paths that wind through the front and side yards are bordered by colorful perennials, such as hostas, vinca, and tall shrubs.
  • On the deck, two sets of chairs, tables, and table umbrellas allow homeowners and guests to sit and enjoy the view. A wooden shed adds interest in the garden, along with bird feeders, garden art, and wind chimes that perform their symphony and entertain guests when the summer breezes blow.
  • The back wall of the home exudes an artsy feel with decorative wooden window frames and screen doors artfully hanging. As the sun shines through the shade trees in the backyard, hydrangeas, lilies, and New Guinea impatiens, phlox, Solomon seal, and a variety of other perennials and shrubs are well highlighted..

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  • This wonderful garden is a work of love by a couple who say they had no training but only compassion and vision for their garden. When they see a plant they like, they already have pictured it in their garden before they plant. Names of the plants? - this is not a worry - they will adopt it and make it work.
  • Our gardeners, one of whom is also a designer, say they don't like straight lines and so they have created many curving beds allowing people to meander through their garden.
  • They have provided surprises at every turn and keep all guessing as to what will be found beyond.
  • This garden is a great example of "do-it-yourself and let your feelings guide you without worrying that it may not be horticulturally correct."

About the work of the Bridge Board

The Bridge Board of First United Methodist Church is a program partner with Bridge Communities effecting change for formerly homeless families — leading them to a better future. The Board provides housing, mentoring, direction, encouragement and a stable environment so that families may become self-sufficient and sustain their independence.

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