Blooming Garden Designs

Specializing in Natural and Sustainable Landscapes

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Sun or Shade? Where do I place my new plant?


One of the best places to learn about the requirements for a plant is on the Plant Label.  Plant labels include recommendations for how much light a plant needs

Here are few descriptions.

Full Sun means a least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

Roses; lilacs; ninebark; Most vegetables need full sun

Partial Shade means at least 3-6 full hours of dappled/ direct sun per day.  Plants which prefer this may struggle with direct sun.

Summer sweet, viburnum, holly, arborvitae, hostas

Light Shade is less than three hours of dappled sunlight each day.

Celandine poppy, Columbine, Virginia bluebells, Ferns

Heavy Shadehas no sunlight because of tree canopy or buildings block sun.        

Pachysandra; ginger, jack-in-pulpit, Goatsbeard, Woodland Phlox

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What type of gardener are you?


Rose plants are considered high maintenance plants because they need regular dead-heading to stay looking good throughout the season.

Don’t plant another plant until you read this…

Every landscape garden needs maintenance to keep plants looking healthy and the landscaping looking its best.

When designing or planning landscapes consider your time and ability to maintain the garden, make sure your plans and your plant selection match your maintenance type.

Which type are you?  Do you like:

  • High maintenance gardening – You are a highly dedicated gardener and/ or  plantaholic.  You love to work in the yard as much as possible; or,
  • Low maintenance gardening – You enjoy being outdoors and doing a bit of puttering, but don’t want to make a day of it; or,
  • No maintenance gardening – You hire professionals, want it to look great, but prefer not to do it yourself; .

Hiring a landscape consultant  can help you match your garden preferences with  plant selection.  Contact Blooming Garden Designs by Cindy for a free consultation.

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4 Common DIY Landscape Mistakes

STOP–Don’t plant another plant until you read this. OK so it is January in CENTRAL ILLINOIS and no one is planting now, but seriously when the weather warms up and garden shops stock beautiful plants– consider the maintenance needed before buying plants.

Boring plant selection and high maintenance to boot.

Boring plant selection and high maintenance to boot.

Are you a Do-It-Yourself landscaper?  Why do you, DIY?

Because I can…Because I should….Because I like the satisfaction….Because I can save money…. 

If you have the time and skills and plan on researching your project, you can indeed save money and have great satisfaction out of completing a DIY project.

But for some homeowners, they lack the time, vision or design skills to produce a cohesive landscape.  Do you fit into one of these categories?

  • Do you plant the same plants as your neighbors?  When plants need to be replaced do you plant the same type?  Many homeowners pick boring plants because they want to play it safe or they don’t have the interest to learn about other options.
  • Do you have overgrown trees and shrubs?  Do you spend a lot of time trimming to keep the plants looking good ? Many DIY homeowners don’t understand the plant conditions needed to optimize the plants potential.  By planting shrubs without consideration of full size or growing conditions, you will spend a lot of time and money keeping the landscape looking good.
  • Have you planted a plant that needs constant care to look good? Do you have to water at the first sign of hot weather?  Some plants need a lot of care to perform; other plants don’t need much care and give big dividends. Do you know the difference?
  • Does your garden lacks unifying design elements?  You plant plants or place lawn decorations with no consideration of the total landscape scheme.

If you are DIY homeowner, Blooming Garden Designs can help you transform your garden into a beautiful showplace.  Cindy can work with you to create a unified total landscape plan or she can work with you  as a consultant charging an  hourly fee for services.

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Getting Ready to Hang Outdoor Holiday Decorations? Tips and How 2

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Celebrate Indian Summer this Week!!!

Late last week, we had a reminder of winter quickly approaching. With temperatures returning to the 70s this week, it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors.

A few things I am doing this week in my garden  include:

1. Continuing to  planting spring flowering- bulbs.  Check out these ideas.

2. Erecting barriers of poultry wire or hardware cloth among young trees and shrubs to protect against rabbit damage.  How to Protect

3. Chopping fallen leaves  with lawnmower.  I put some on top of the  flower beds, vegetable beds or compost pile.  I also spread compost or mulched leaves over a garden bed and dig it in.  The garden will be ready for planting in the spring.

Mild fall temperatures have produced new growth on trees and bushes– DO NOT PRUNE NOW.  Wait until Feb or March. Pruning now will stimulate new growth that may not hardened off before cold temperatures arrives.

Have a great Indian Summer!

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6 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Fall

Consider planting native plants to your garden. False indigo is native to Illinois and can with stand drought.

6 Gardening To-Dos for September

With the cooler temperatures and a wide selection of fall plants at nursery centers,  this month is a great time to get your garden ready for next spring.    But don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of Autumn in Central Illinois.  Happy Gardening….

  1. Plant new trees, shrubs and perennials.  Consider planting drought tolerant plants….Links include list of drought tolerant plants.  Morton Arboretum native Plant listBirds and Blooms list; Highland Gardens
  2. Plant annuals (ie. Mums, cabbages and kale) for fall color.
  3. Rejuvenate Containers. Tidy up your summer containers, deadhead plants, prune back or remove spent foliage. For inspiration check out Garden Design for idea.
  4. Core aerate and over seed lawn.
  5. Continue to water the garden during dry spells.  Consistent watering in fall helps plants prepare for winter.
  6. Pull weeds before they set seed to prevent even more weeds next spring.

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August Garden To-Do List

August To-Do

Personal gardens often take a bit of rest during the month of August.  It is a busy moth for cutting back “tired” plants that have finished blooming and dead-leafing any scorched subjects.

General Maintenance

  1. Weed
  2. Don’t forget to water. We are still in drought.
  3. Do not apply fertilizers, so as to allow plants to harden better  before winter


  1. Continue to deadhead
  2. Prune plants to keep in desired space.
  3. Cut back finished, “tired” plants to make room for late bloomers
  4. Aster and mums can be cut back by 4-6 in. to delay bloom, though at the expense of floral abundance.
  5. Cut back any insect or disease-plagued foliage. ( Do not put in compost pile and clean pruning equipment with water and vinegar or bleach solution)


  1. Plant with caution.
  2. Design beds and order plants for autumn planting.
  3. Bearded iris. Oriental poppies and peonies can be divided now.


  1. Continue to feed your pile with food scrapes
  2. Be wary of adding leaf scorched plant material, unless you are positive the plants had no disease or fungus problems.
  3. Add water to pile to keep moist.
  4. Turn the pile often.