2015 Summer

Summer Letter from Craig

Dear Gardening Friends,
This summer has been anything BUT hot and humid and all of our garden families, flora and fauna, are loving it! In fact just last week we had a run of hot temperatures and no rain and the “Jurassic” growth from spring on so many leafy plants just couldn’t believe their leaves! Don’t forget to switch on your irrigation system or lug that hose around the yard. The extra growth that Mother Nature has put on over the course of the last few months will suffer now that the continuous, weekly rains have ended. Keep that new growth happy and hydrated!

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    The variable cool and wet springs we have had the past two years have helped recalibrate garden and native plants after the ruthless droughts and harsh winters of the past few years. We had such a bumper crop of delphiniums and lilies this season and spring lobelias are just now fading: reminiscences of an East Coast summer.

    Needless to say, we have yet to see what our Fall will be; the next phase is always a gamble in the odyssey of gardening.

    We are finishing some exciting projects around the North shore and continue on projects in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Our gardening message is traveling farther a field of late, so it is a nice experience for us all to discover new places and new people.

    Personally, this summer has been a mix of loss, paired with wonderful and joyful events; all important time to spend with those we love. Life is such a mystery and so much fun to experience with kindred spirits…growing old together like a good garden should.

    For the rest of these beautiful sun-filled days, may your agenda be filled with time to enjoy and share with those you love, doing what you love.

    Violet and Pepper wag hello from our Gardens at 900…

    Sincerely,
    Craig Bergmann
    RLA, ASLA, Proprietor

Spring Letter from Craig

Dear Fellow Gardeners,
The time has finally come to announce the end of winter, thank God!

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    Surviving another very cold, heavily snowy season, our garden plants continually amaze me as they stoically withstand whatever is thrown at them. We, along with a selection of other migratory species, have the ability to ” breakup” the winter with a change of locale and temperature. Our dear flora, unless lucky enough to grow in a pot in a warm home for the winter, have to deal directly with all of the obvious changes in our climate; from the hottest to the coldest, the most humid to the most desiccating. Oh, the pleasures of gardening in the Midwest!

    This winter we have been propagating our regular cast of beautiful floral characters and also our staff throughout the company. Expanding our Nursery department to better serve our Garden Care department, expanding design assistance to keep our design team efficient and timely for our expanding client base, and adding staff to both the Installation and Garden Care departments to better serve our customers from the start of a project and for years to come.

    As many of you know, we provide some select products from our nursery for special events. This year we will be showcasing our plants at the Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques, Garden and Design Show April 17-19. Look for us in the Rose Tent. Closer to home in Lake Forest this year you will find us at the Garden Market at Elawa Farm and at the Lake Forest Garden Club House Walk, June 10-11 at the Onwentsia Club. Tickets for the garden walk are available from The Lake Forest Garden Club. New this year, we have partnered with Jayson Home in Chicago to blend our sympathetic approaches to enhance urban gardens large or small.

    As ambassadors for gardening in our area, we feel that these public access points really help support the cause for enlightening one’s life with the dynamic power of nature and the art of fine gardening.

    All the best in life and gardens,
    Craig Bergmann
    RLA, ASLA, Proprietor

Winter Letter from Craig

Let’s take us back to last December. The anticipation of a bleak winter forecast was actually superseded by the reality of a historic bone-chilling end to the 2013 calendar year.

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    We were given a pass this early winter with a tease of a repeat, and then, the Californian rains, so needed and still not enough to counter the years-long drought, neutralized the oncoming polar vortex. In a nutshell: continent-wide meteorology is now up close and personal in our everyday lives! This almost global look into our weather has elevated our interests as much as world politics. I just read a preamble to a popular magazine on extremes of our Chicago winters and could relate; extremes year round seem to be becoming the norm! Upon reflection of past years in the garden and life in general, the pace of things seems to be speeding up with each passing year. The anticipated “time off” that winter brings for the garden and the office looks like it is not going to happen this season. We have many retooling and reorganization projects happening department-wide and some construction projects underway at the nursery. We have expanded our nursery product sales to a select few event and boutique-style, like-minded, retail venues in the metro area. Our design department under an assembled and dedicated team has work stretching along the North Shore, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. A varied collection of design scale and style, the new projects list grows each month; a real testament to our company’s niche in the market place that has grown so disparate over the past few years. When anticipating the start of our Company’s 32nd year, I always think of the assembly of people, personalities, and properties I have met and still see so frequently throughout the year. This familiar and dedicated collection of people and places fuels my resolve as President of CBLD. I celebrate having multiple 20-30 year veteran employees who still lead the cause. Our first full project from start to finish (32 years ago now) is still owned by the same family in Winnetka, and we still have the pleasure of maintaining it! Maturity is a good thing for me. It helps me learn from the past and to realize there is less time in the future to make more beauty and improvements to gardens in our area. I pledge for CBLD’s 2015 season to be just as omnipresent, improved, and inspirational as a company that strives to provide the best in new and traditional gardening endeavors in the Midwest. And as always, we are made in America! Here’s to the new extremes, whatever and whenever may come!

    Sincerely,
    Craig Bergmann
    RLA, ASLA, Proprietor

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Autumn Letter from Craig

Dear Friends,
The magic of Autumn abounds.

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    Another year, again going too fast to enjoy all the nuances of beauty our gardens provide.

    Undaunted beauty is everywhere as the scale of the color spectrum reachs stories high with the blaze of maples, gingko and sweet gums.

    Texture and tumble of a year’s growth is as blatant as the change in the temperature of our evenings now.

    Up, up and away grow the grasses and asters. Just last month the Arundo donax and the giant Miscanthus were my height and NOW are an amazing 10 – 12 feet!

    Myriads of purples and golds abound in this season producing visions of regal tapestries and carpets. How did Mother Nature know that purple was my favorite color and rampant in October – my birth month?

    Never disappointed when I look out the window this time of year. The changes in the clouds, the angle of the sun, the intensity of the colors of the garden just make me smile and yearn for another spring in the garden to begin the journey all over again.

    Shadows, crisp air, fog, stunning dahlias, happy dogs – these are but a few of my favorite autumn musings.

    May you too enjoy this magical time of year and remember life is short so embrace it fully.

    Leave beauty in your wake,
    Craig Bergmann
    RLA, ASLA, Proprietor

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Summer Letter from Craig

Dear Friends,
Purple, the blending of blue and red, and all of our favorite colors are lushly blooming now in the gardens at 900. It has taken me a while to get in the summer mood for this letter, a lot due to the fact that we really haven’t (happily!!) had the typical stretch of hot, humid, July and August weather. Purples predominate right now from the softest lavenders of daylilies, geraniums, and pentas to the deepest burgundies of lilies, dahlias, coralbells, and hazelnuts. There are vignettes galore this year.

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    Our gardening crew of Jose, Felipe, and Alfredo make it all happen – these guys put the G in gardener!!!

    Because of moderate temperatures and cool nights, the gardens have never been more beautiful or more colorful. The delphiniums in the Blue Border lasted for six weeks, and one Sunday morning I counted 48 spikes abloom! One of my favorites, “delphs” usually last two weeks and just shatter in the 90 degree temperatures. Not this summer!

    As I write this, it is a virtual “Oriental Lily Spectacular.” The Scheherazade hybrids, transplanted from our Wilmette garden, are seven feet tall with bulbs the size of grapefruits. I figured out that these same bulbs are now 18 years old and still thriving – must be our transplanting and un-clumping every few years. The 75 newly planted Casablancas by the pool in between the peonies are so fragrant, Paul is having sinus trouble. He grins and bears it, aided by medication, but won’t give up their beauty for a clear head! Stargazers, Acapulcos, Auratums, and Marco Polos all grace the collection.

    We have begun harvesting about three tomatoes a day now – always a treat, especially in the heat of summer.

    On our events front, we were happy to be involved in the Lake Forest Infant Welfare Showcase House during the month of May. Paul Klug, Inc. and CBLD were again a dynamic duo creating a fabulous Italianate terrace garden for the famous Pike House designed by David Adler in 1916. We received many a compliment and felt so fortunate to be represented in this collection of selected designers for such a worthy cause.

    Our gardens at 900 attracted a whopping 866 visitors for the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour at the end of July. We were very pleased to be part of the support of such a great cause and organization.

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    Back in the gardens, the reflecting pool in the Eagle Terrace has been joined by a second water feature – an antique English Pan fountain exactly like one in historic photos of this garden in the 1920s. What a find from our friends Marty and Kay at Finnegan Gallery.

    We have added many new seating areas due to Paul and my nightly garden strolls. Paul has suggested so many vantage point seating areas with beautiful furniture and fabrics, that I am doing more of this type of spontaneous seating on client projects. Our teamwork really makes the garden much more accessible, dynamic and comfortable to be in. We will never be through – nor should we ever be!

    Remember, as author Diane Ackerman wrote: Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.

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    Happy Summer and take time to smell ALL the lilies!!!
    Craig Bergmann
    RLA, ASLA, Proprietor