Saturday, September 29, 2012


Cantigny was an area in France that Colonel Robert R McCormick (1880-1955) wanted to memorialize by naming his twenty-nine acres in Wheaton, Illinois, "Cantigny."  He had fought at this area in France during World War I and was intent on making his property a War Museum to honor the brave soldiers who stood beside him.  At Cantigny he had experimental gardens that tried new species of plants and tested theories of planting and harvesting.

Colonel McCormick became the editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper.

He was 6 feet 4" tall, 200 pounds and an excellent horseman.  His grandfather was Joseph Medill a publisher who the Medill School Of Journalism is named after at Northwestern University.

Robert thought of himself as an aristocrat who came from a long line of famous people, John and Cyrus McCormick, inventors of the reaper and owners of a company that would later become International Harvester.  He was an older cousin of Madeline Albright former secretary of state.

The visitors come now to his home, children climb on the tanks, visit his home and the war museum on the grounds.  However, the most beautiful areas are the many gardens.

The pumpkin people are already set up for all to enjoy.
King Tut Papyrus
The display areas are a gardeners delight because just about everything is labeled.
Mums, asters, carex and daisies
The interplanting of kale and grasses was very effective breaking up the placement of mums.
Cleome Seniorita Rosilita and Castor Bean
It was important this year to see the annuals that have held up to the summer heat.
Begonia Fortune Pink
These Begonias (Party Pink) are in full sun.
Dahlia Mystic Illusion
I grew this one and it performed great all summer.
Gomphrena Audray Pink
Gomphrena Fireworks
Verbena Bonariensis
This variety of Cosmos was not labeled, but still going strong.
Zinnia Uproar Rose
This is one I will be looking for next year.  Horticulturist on staff said this was one of the best they have grown.  My little fingers were dying to deadhead, even if just for looks!
Tamarix with Fine Wine Weigela
The Tamarix is a large tree like plant with red flowers, you need room for this one.
New Zealand Sedge Prairie Fire
This was the most beautiful cranberry red mum with a fascinating grass, could not find the name on either of these.  We couldn't tell if the grass was a Molinia or a Pennestium?
Pennestium Piglet
The use of smaller grasses in the middle of beds really works.
Pennestium Jade Princess
Isn't this a great looking plant, would remind you of cattails.
Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean Feather Grass)
This was a most impressive grass!
I don't usually plant annual groundcovers but I will have to rethink this for next year.
Alternanthera Little Ruby
This is a great groundcover that easily goes into fall, however, it is an annual.
Purple Sage (used as an annual groundcover)
Almost forgot to mention the hawk that was swooping around our heads supposedly looking for a mouse!