February 2017: Planning for Spring

O.C. Simonds Landscape
A landscape designed by O.C. Simonds on the Arboretum's west side.

“The full development of [landscape-gardening]... should result in preserving the country’s natural beauty, and developing real outdoor pictures everywhere until the United States becomes the most beautiful country in the world--more beautiful than any now imagined, and fully worthy of the affection and pride of all its people.”

--O.C. Simonds, Landscape-Gardening, page 24


The beauty promoted by O.C. Simonds is visible here at The Morton Arboretum, where Simonds served as the first landscape architect, and on smaller scales in area parks or in our own yards. Before our outdoor spaces become “real outdoor pictures,” however, we need to plan them. The traditionally cold and gray month of February is an opportunity to dream of what we might plant and the bright colors that accompany spring.

At the Arboretum

If your ambitions for spring are lofty, but you’re not sure where to begin, start here at the Arboretum! Classes on landscape design, edible gardening, and a landscape basics backyard bootcamp will bring you that much closer to a successful spring season!


“Every garden, irrespective of whether it is a crate on top of a barge or parkland surrounding a country mansion, is a personal piece of paradise, tailor-made for the individual. Making a garden goes far beyond the instinct to grow food for the family and is a desire to embellish and enhance one’s personal space. Some gardens are meticulously planned, while others just happen. There are no hard-and-fast rules for their design. It is all about personal taste, so who is to judge what is good or bad?”

--Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus, Garden Design: A book of Ideas, page 7

“Rather than waste his winter worrying about the garden, Liam spent it preparing for spring. After three cold months the snow finally began to melt, and Liam rolled his new gardening gear over to the railway. Winter had taken a toll on the garden. But thanks to Liam’s planning, his handy new tools, and a little help from the sun, the plants soon awoke from their winter sleep.”
--Peter Brown,
The Curious Garden

Library Resources

The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
Garden Design: A Book of Ideas by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus
Beyond the Lawn: Unique Outdoor Spaces for Modern Living by Keith Davitt
The Edible Landscape by Emily Tepe
Landscape-Gardening by O.C. Simonds
Gardening in Small Spaces from The American Horticultural Society
Midwest Landscape Design by Susan McClure
The Layered Garden : Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage by David L. Culp, Adam Levine, and Rob Cardillo*
The Making of Place: Modern and Contemporary Gardens by John Dixon Hunt*

*Access the Library’s e-book collection by entering the number on the back of your Sterling Morton Library card.

Resources for Young Readers

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Garden Book
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
My Own Herb Garden by Allan A. Swenson
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart