Remember the 2004 classic psychological drama Wicker Park, starring a transcendent Josh Hartnett, Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne and that delightfully impish scamp we all know and love to call Matthew Lillard?
But get this: Wicker Park is also an actual park in Chicago, one of many renowned for its famous flora that has enchanted many. So whether you’ve a popcorn-butter-covered green thumb inspired by the adventures of advertising executive Matt Simon as portrayed by the revelatory Hartnett, or you’re a city transplant who grew up around gardens, many of us feel the desire to dig our fingers into some dirt, plant a few seeds and watch them grow because, along with the coming warm weather, live flowers and greenery have serious mood-boosting power. They also have the ability to liven up almost any façade, and add appeal (and potentially value) to both urban and suburban properties. But, you can’t just slap a fern on your frontage and call it a day. Climate, placement, species, and, you know, how to actually keep the things alive all matter when considering landscaping and planting in urban settings.
What, and Where?
First things first, you’ve got to figure out what is best to plant. As much as you like roses, your desire for them to grow doesn’t mean they are going to grow, let alone thrive, on your small balcony space that gets very little sun but lots of brownish water dripping from the drain pipe above.
And although city dwellers have the inherent challenge of being in a highly populated, weather-battered urban center, there are countless options of flowers that can withstand whatever Chicago throws at them. In his Acres Annual List, Sherm M. Fields, vice president of family-owned professional landscaping firm Acres Group in Plainfield, Illinois, lists some of his flower favorites, including:
• the tough, compact and upright Verbanos - Santos Purple;