2021 Judges' Award: Made in the Shade - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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2021 Judges’ Award: Made in the Shade

In Wilmette, Illinois, a granite cobble drive leads to a home with 25 mature trees and sweeping planting beds filled with flowering shrubs and perennials.

The client wanted a colorful landscape they could enjoy with friends and family so they hired Chalet Nursery in 2017 to take on the maintenance. Their work on this property earned Chalet the prestigious 2021 Judges’ Award, which is selected from the highest scoring Gold Award winners of the Awards of Excellence.

“This is a crown jewel in our crown,” says Debbie Bartsch, production scheduling coordinator with Chalet. “We are absolutely thrilled, over the moon.”

Photo: Mike Crews

The existing trees were sickly so fertilizing and maintaining the large shade trees on the property has been a priority. Since taking on the property, Chalet has conducted a soil boost of liquid fertilizer for all the trees. Needlecast foliage treatments were provided for the 10 spruces and hemlocks.

Dutch Elm Disease treatments were performed on two American elms on the property. Meanwhile, ash borer suppression was performed for one ash tree to slow down the effects of ash borer decline. Apple scab prevention is done each spring for the six crabapples on the property.

The existing soils were poorly draining clay. Chalet has been able to improve the soil quality since taking on the client by mixing organic material and topdressing beds with leaf compost.

The clients requested an organic turf care program. A weekly maintenance crew handles lawn mowing, bed edging, and flower deadheading. Careful attention is paid to bed edging, weeding and trimming, which is all done by hand.

Photo: Mike Crews

The bluestone patio is swept free of debris each week and joints are re-sanded every other year.

One of the challenges with maintaining the site is tight access. The backyard lawn areas are mowed with small push mowers. Local ordinances restrict leaf blower usage at different times of the year so sometimes the hardscapes and open lawn areas need to be cleared by hand.

The clients also wanted to maintain a lush planting border for privacy in the back and side yards. In the spring, mixed planting borders are mulched and fertilized. In the summer, the plants are pruned by hand.

Photo: Mike Crews

The perennial beds around the back patio are routinely weeded and deadheaded. Chalet also ensures the pedestal planters around the property are changed out seasonally with annual plants.

Bartsch encourages other companies to enter the Awards of Excellence as well.

“Don’t be shy,” she says. “You’re much more talented than you think you are and you should go for it.”

If you are interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence, entries open in February 2022.

This article was published in the November/December issue of the magazine. To read more stories from The Landscape Professional magazine, click here to subscribe to the digital edition.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.