Downers Grove Garden Walk

Saturday, July 10, 2021

To benefit the DGFUMC Bridge Board program

providing transitional housing and mentoring
for formerly homeless families

The 15th 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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  • The homeowner of this Cape Cod home calls her garden the “peaceful, colorful garden.” A stone patio outlined by boxwoods and a lighting fixture adds elements of architectural beauty to the front yard. “Bowling Ball” shrubs, or snowball hydrangeas, and tall grasses compliment the horizontal seat wall.
  • A flagstone walkway along the north side of the home leads visitors to the backyard garden, which several years ago was a jungle of shade trees. Today, pine, birch, weeping cherry, a hydrangea tree, yew shrubs, and colorful perennials and annuals are tastefully arranged to create a simple, low-maintenance, sunny garden. 
     
  • The large wooden deck takes center stage with built-in planters of red annuals. In the backyard corner, a shed reveals a window box, and a light fixture. When the homeowners sip their morning coffee or entertain friends on the deck, they enjoy the peacefulness that emanates from the garden.

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  • This garden is a nature lover’s paradise. The homeowners’ objective here is to “create natural gardens for pollinators and wildlife.” These gardens are nearly 100% natural and resemble those at the Belmont Prairie, which include shooting stars, may apples, trillium, compass plants, etc.
  • A cornucopia of wildlife exists throughout the shady gardens. They are visited by coyotes, screech owls, great-horned owls, raccoons, possum, fox, mink, muskrat, deer, Cooper’s hawks, red tail hawks, and a variety of birds.
     
  • Visitors are immediately entertained when they see the labeled “Fox Trail,” “Chipmunk Drive,” and “Coyote Pass,” mulched paths that encircle the house. The property also contains a pond and a “wild” garden.
  • Some of the other homeowners’ accomplishments are adding the screened-in porch. They also have raised monarchs, have a rain barrel, and strive to add plants that existed in the area 125 years ago.
     

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  • This lovely home with interesting architectural features sits on a corner lot surrounded by “no-grass gardens” that exist throughout. The owners’ gardening journey began about 20 years ago and is constantly evolving, reflecting their love of roses, hydrangeas, and hostas.

  • The owners of this French Country home planted several river birch, maples, an elm, a plum, some evergreens, and some mulberry trees to help frame out the property in the front and backyard.
  • Near the Sunset maple in the frontyard, there is a beautiful flowering pear, azaleas, and pachysandra ground cover.
  • This backyard contains a childrens’ garden called the “Three Sisters’ Native American Garden.” Working in conjunction with the Downers Grove First United Methodist Church Preschool teachers and students each year, the homeowner helps the children create a garden based on the Native American tradition of three sisters: Sister Bean, Sister Corn, and Sister Squash. The purpose of this garden is to teach the children how to grow crops from seed, and to learn how to harvest those same crops in the fall. In summer, when preschool is not in session, the homeowner feeds and waters the crops. What an amazing idea!

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  • A lush Mediterranean-inspired garden spans an acre-plus parcel, boasting park-like views of mature trees, planting beds, raised vegetable beds, an expansive lawn, and front and rear travertine patios.
  • The rear patio hosts a pergola and dining space, living area, fire feature, grill, and hot tub. A large antique birdhouse overlooks the planting beds bursting with yellow, orange, and lavender flowering perennials. The bird and butterfly theme weaves throughout the garden with art and décor providing a welcoming and whimsical touch.
  • The owners planted over 50 trees since beginning work on the garden, including arborvitae and hemlock, oak, river birch, and maple. The two largest trees, an oak and evergreen in the front, where saplings when planted by family over 35 years ago.

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  • The “Serendipity Garden,” is a self-created garden that happened by chance, according to the homeowners. Originally, this little cottage bungalow was owned by Frank Rogers, as indicated by the plaque near the front door. 
  • The front yard reveals a welcoming front brick walk, a small sitting area, and two white, corner picket fences that surround a variety of perennials and grasses that set off the boundaries of the property. The side entrance is flanked by well-coordinated perennials, grasses and attractive garden art.
  • The cozy backyard patio is surrounded by the home, a privacy fence, and a garage, whose outside wall reveals barn art. The garage houses model trains, train tracks, and small train buildings during the winter months. During the summer months, the trains ride the tracks. Next to the tracks is a small pond and fairy garden that entertain passers by.

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  • Rabbit Run has evolved over 30 years and now embraces this entire quarter-acre parcel of land. The garden includes 160 different hostas, 20 trees, 244 daylily cultivars, and numerous shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
  • All plants are carefully labeled for the garden visitor and you will find Bloody Dock, Shredded Umbrella Plant, Monkshood, Hedge Maple, Sweetgum tree, and more.
  • Rabbit Run has been on numerous garden walks, including local, regional, and some for national daylily associations, as it is registered with the American Daylily Society.
  • The owner handles the design and installation of all the plants. She took advantage of the COD horticulture program and earned certificates in landscape design and horticulture. She is starting her 24th season working at The Growing Place in Naperville.

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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