MICHAEL FITZSIMMONS DECORATIVE ARTS
Over 30 years specializing in the Arts & Crafts field
Arts & Crafts Gardens
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We now can offer garden and landscape design to our clients.  Below are some pictures of a garden we did here in Oak Park last year.  We are working with several local landscapers to detail and implement the designs that we can generate.  Due to this, we are only able to work locally at this point, but I foresee in the future a time when we could generate a detailed plan for an out-of-town client and then hand it off to someone in their area to implement.  If you have a garden project that you would like to discuss, please feel free to call or email me.  Click here to see our line of Prairie Style garden planters.
These are shots of a garden I did for some clients in Oak Park.  I had previously assisted with the design of a mudroom and kitchen addition, which you can see in the first photo on the right of the picture.  The deck also needed to be redesigned, and so I came up with a solution that tied it all together in terms of look and materials.  Everything to the right of the windows on the first floor on the left is new construction.  Where we could, we reused original windows from the demolition (the contractor was not happy about this!)  Snowball hydrangeas, which grow phenomenally in Oak Park, are planted at the base of the terrace.  The picture on the right was taken standing at the back door, and shows the view down a gently slope towards the garage (new) and a Secret Garden I created in that awkward space next to it.  Box outlines two beds on either side of the garage window, and an antique planter from Pennsylvania has an ostrich fern in it.  Boston ivy climbs up the wall behind creating a beautiful composition of greens all season long, with the ivy turning scarlet in the fall and the fern dying to a wonderful soft tan.
This is a closer view of the entrance to the Secret Garden.  Climbing roses and sweet autumn clematis cover the lattice and arbor in season.  The tree on the right is a redbud, which also do well in Oak Park, with hosta, sweet william and Japanese painted fern planted at its feet.  I love the dusty gray of the fern with the chartreuse color of the hosta.  The middle picture is of one corner of the Secret Garden, in which I used many plants that you could find in an English cottage garden, but here contained and played against the fairly rigid geometry of the bricks and beds.  Lady's Mantle, woodruff, roses, lilies, woodbine, lavender, sage, ivies, lace cap hydrangeas, coral bells and irises, along with more clematis that twine up into the ivy and woodbine and through the roses make this a wonderfully crowded, beautiful and fragrant garden.  The picture on the far right shows an antique sundial with sage planted at its feet and backed by Hicks yews.  All summer and fall this bed is alive with bumblebees.
The picture on the left shows a corner of the terrace, where a wonderful box elder is growing at a very Japanese slant.  Another antique planter is filled with annuals on a seasonal basis, with hydrangea anchoring one side of a small shade composition that includes several different kinds of hosta, coral bells and a variegated leaf perennial that I forget the name of.  I have tried to get foxglove to grow here, which I think would be perfect, but the house sits on the edge of the ancient shoreline of Lake Michigan, so while the soil at the bottom of the garden is heavy with clay, this spot is sandy, and I guess foxgloves don't like that.  The picture in the middle shows the hydrangea in bloom, with a beautiful, deep purple clematis climbing up and through it.  I thought when I bought it that it was a Jackmanii, but I have been told not by enough people that I am beginning to believe them.  Whatever it is, it works.  The shot on the end shows the planter with the annual fern in mid summer.  I love the contrast of greens and leaf shapes among the fern, Boston ivy and English ivy.  No matter what the actual temperature, this group always looks cool and fresh.

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