Scott Byron & Co employee Mike Drangines places a new tree as part of the company's Day of Caring volunteer project at Forrestal Elementary School in North Chicago.

Scott Byron & Co’s “Caring Crew” Creates Learning Lab for North Chicago Elementary School

When children arrive for their first day of school at Forrestal Elementary School in North Chicago on August 15th, they will see a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the school. New trees, curb paint, plants, playground mulch, drainage and sidewalk improvements enhance the front of the school, while an outdoor learning lab where children can learn about environmental issues has been constructed in the back area of the school. On Saturday, July 30th, 80 members of Scott Byron & Co. … [Read more...]

Garden

More Than a Pretty Place – Benefits of Green Spaces

There's something about green spaces - gardens, forests, prairies, etc... - that calls to us to approach, to touch, and to explore. They effortlessly hold our attention, while also setting us free of stresses and worries. There's a theory called the biophilia hypothesis, developed by Edward O. Wilson, that proposes our love of nature and other life forms is part of our evolutionary history and genetic makeup. We are attracted to life (animals and plants) because they support our life and have … [Read more...]

Summer annuals

And So It Begins…Summer Annuals

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer since the real beginning of summer annuals is December 15th (which is when nurseries ask for next year's summer annuals orders), though you could argue that it begins even earlier when our client relations managers are developing annuals contracts and forecasting their summer annuals sales. However, in terms of installation, May 16th is our official start of summer annuals. With the threat of frost largely behind us (although this past weekend was … [Read more...]

Dry creek stream bed

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is an opportunity to recognize the impact that we all have on the environment and the ways that we can protect and improve it. Gardens that are designed well using appropriate plant material, properly addressing water and drainage on site, and installed using best management practices are all aspects of a healthy environment (and a beautiful space). Even little changes can make a difference. Planting natives, or bee and butterfly attracting plants, and installing bird feeders or insect … [Read more...]

clump red maple

Happy Arbor Day!

Go ahead and hug a tree.  Perhaps not a hawthorn tree with all those thorns, but a friendly maple or littleleaf linden would be nice. Illinois celebrates Arbor Day today (April 29) throughout the state (and nation) where communities and homeowners plant, nurture and celebrate trees.  Arbor Day traces its roots (ha! get it?) to 1594 when a small village Spain held the first documented arbor plantation festival.  Arbor Day is a day recognized around the world, and is often celebrated with the … [Read more...]

Azaleas and a Putting Green – Enjoying the Masters from Home

It's that time of the year again, the Masters at Augusta National are in full swing (ha! pun intended). Some people watch for the players and their amazing golf feats, but I tend to be more interested in the course setting. I longingly look at their blooming azaleas and dogwoods and wonder why I've committed myself to Chicago's "winter-springs." This year, after having a warm spring, their azaleas are a little past their peak bloom so I don't have as much to become unreasonably jealous over. … [Read more...]

IMG_0805

Project Spotlight – The Art of Problem Solving

Sometimes the most complex project, or project element, springs forth from a seemingly simple question. That's where the art of problem solving comes in. For this project, the question was "How can we get the client to the beach from their house at the top of the bluff?" A simple A to B problem that has many solutions (a funicular? a set of steps? a ramp? a slide?), but only one that worked for the client. Getting to that solution took a lot of discussion, concepting, trial and error grading … [Read more...]

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Visiting the U of I Student Career Fair

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Landscape Architecture's student career fair with my fellow designer, Kristi Krumtinger. Both of us are graduates of the program so it's a special delight to go back and talk with the students about Mumford and TBH studios, shared professors, and shared experiences. The enthusiasm and passion pouring out of these students have yet to be dampened by budgets, committees, or zoning codes. Though these things all … [Read more...]

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Where Does the Time Go?

Where does the time go? I think that the mild start to winter has somehow skewed my sense of time...the warm weather through December makes me feel that since there is now consistently "winter-cold" weather outside that winter is just now starting. Instead, the reality is that winter is nearly over. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I walked around my yard the other day and saw just the very tip of bulb foliage peeking up through the mulch. The relief I felt was immense. Parts of winter … [Read more...]

Garden Sculpture within perennial border

Happy New Year! May All Your Resolutions Be Successful…

It’s amazing how quickly time flies. Eternal summers and endless winter breaks have turned into mere blinks of an eye. One minute I’m complaining about how hot I am and the next minute I’m reminiscing about the joyful warmth of summer. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time and I became especially aware of that when I was asked what my New Year’s resolution is for 2016. I never even fully committed (or even decided) what my 2015 resolutions were going to be. Deciding what to resolve myself … [Read more...]