Winter Letter from Craig

Hello Folks, on this gray, cold, slow moving day… I’m not adversely effected by the weather… not true.

This time of year I am always amazed at the world of plants that survive the rigors of a Midwestern winter.  The extremes these plant have to go through is venerable and downright amazing. I wish that I could be as adaptable to such swings in temperature, day length, and energy level.

People ask me this time of year how gardens will do next spring with the adverse conditions each winter throws us, and my standard response is:

This is the Midwest, the weather is always different each winter and somehow, the plants seem to survive and even thrive.  Each year something is better or worse than the previous year, and yet there is always beauty and surprise in gardens each spring.

Hence the role of a true gardener is to simply observe what nature gives us and interpret as necessary.

Because of my need for sun and green throughout the year, I look to our greenhouses at our nursery as an oasis in the tundra of winter here.  Choosing between tropical, sub-tropical, temperate, and desert climes is fun to do in a 30 minute weekly walk about.

And speaking of desert, Paul and I have just finished a tiny little southern California  project,  both inside and out.  Blending art and modern style into a 1960’s ranch house is lots of fun.  The outside-in lifestyle of this region stimulates us to do our best at capitalizing on the space and the place. Once again, Paul’s take on what is important in our home landscape has been a learning experience for me that I can translate  for future client projects.  His gut is right on track when it comes to how to use outdoor space and how to furnish it.  It’s fun to collaborate with him and the garden wouldn’t be as beautiful and useable without him.

Our mantra of “right plant, right place” certainly carries through there despite the palette being so different than home, both in design and horticulture. The hotter summers in the desert equate to the intensity and duration of the cold here in the Midwest.  A tried and true list of “survivors” has been decades in the making of my career as a gardener, and when one charges for this knowledge, one better deliver!  This said , I have accumulated a whole group of plants people, nurserymen,  and designers for a collective knowledge pool contributing to a successful desert landscape.   Having worked in the southwestern U.S. before, my green jeans are still challenged, but I thrive on this and have a number of gardens under my belt that I have nurtured over the past few years.

The parallels in nature’s adaptability in the desert to more temperate climes is astounding. There is a supportive insect population, garden pests and diseases, times of year for specific garden practices, seasonal changes and restrictions, peak display periods…the list goes on.  It has been so much fun to switch locations and keep my rhythm asking the same questions while creating new, beautiful garden spaces for ourselves and others.

Though it seems a long way away, we are already preparing for spring, and even today  the crew is out dormant pruning here at our Lake Forest Garden.  It is always exciting to get outside in the winter and feel productive in any garden effort, and I’m excited to see the Cornus mas buds are swelling. Perhaps next week I will cut a few branches to force inside…

During our winter we spend many days on planning of new events in 2019. Hold the dates of May 3 and 4, 2019 for the Second Annual Tent Sale at our Wadsworth nursery facility.  This Friday/Saturday event will feature many treasures we have collected over the past year, great bargains on some really beautiful pottery, an expanded plant list of both hardy and seasonal plantings, and  a promise to get you inspired for spring time gardening.  Stay tuned for our posting on how plans are progressing and growing for this special event.

Thinking of all these wonderful events ahead for this year, may you find warmth in your winter and  joy in your planning.

Craig Bergmann

Proprietor & President

Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Inc.