August 3, 2023 · Filed Under Events and News 
Carol Berry’s front yard at 3837 Collinwood is loaded with summer color that she’s carefully curated since she started her perennial garden nine years ago.

Carol Berry moved into her Collinwood home more than fifty years ago. Remarkably, she’s managed to save a few of the plants that where there when she moved in. After converting to all perennials, Carol doesn’t have to buy new plants every year because everything comes back. Annual periwinkles are the one exception. Carol buys them because they add color and “thrive in the heat.”

Carol’s color parade begins in the very early spring with oxalis, followed by amaryllis that “blooms like crazy,” buttercups, poppies, and larkspur. Ferns come up next and often spread. As summer arrives, so too the four o’clocks that are mixed in the beds, adding a reliable dash of mid-summer color. The dahlias have come back for three years now, but they stop blooming in the heat.

Two carpet rose bushes purchased from Archie’s produce clumps of flowers all summer long. On an arbor at the side of the house is a climbing pink rose bush.

The August show stopper is the yellow trailing lantana along the front curb. It grows low and spreads wide with lots of flowers all the way up until frost. Carol fertilizes them in the spring and deep waters them once a week. “In the winter, I cut them down to the ground and water them if a hard freeze is predicted,” Carol says.

As the perennial color plays out, annual periwinkles take over on the east side of the garden.

Recently, Carol noticed her nandina shrubs were getting scraggly. It’s no wonder since these nandinas came with the house when Carol moved there in 1972. So, earlier this year Carol bravely cut the nandinas all the way down to the ground. They’ve since bounced back and look great now.

Beneath an enormous red tip photinia on the east side of the yard is a small vitex tree. “To keep it the size of a shrub, I cut it down to about twelve inches last fall after it finished blooming. I’ll let it grow taller when the red tip photinia behind it comes to an end,” Carol explains. For now, the red tip anchors the east corner of the house and a crepe myrtle anchors the west side. Carol hasn’t decided how to remedy the puny-looking crepe myrtle, another hardy 50-year-old plant relic that came with the house.

Virginia creeper beneath the vitex has to be thinned out periodically or it will take over. A new Japanese aralia is near the porch, replacing one that took a hit during the cold spell of 2021. A stand of boxwoods hug the front of the house, with a fire bush and mint in front of them. “The bees love the blooms on the mint. I have to pull out some of the mint or it will take over,” according to Carol.

Towering over the boxwoods and mint is a large lavender rose of Sharon that’s ablaze in blooms despite all the consecutive days of triple digit heat.

“I’m on a corner, so instead of a wood fence I planted a euonymus hedge and let it grow naturally, so it gives me privacy and the birds live in there all year,” says Carol.

Carol depends on a mix of cow manure and compost she buys from Lowe’s to refresh her established beds and to prepare the ground before she plants the periwinkles. “The last bag must have had some pursulane in it, because I have a bunch of it in the area where I used it for my periwinkles. Now, I barely have enough room for the periwinkles, so maybe next year I’ll skip the periwinkles altogether,” Carol says.

Carol sticks to watering the yard twice a week, sometimes supplementing the garden area to keep things alive. “It’s important to water the established bushes and trees so you don’t lose them. All we can do is water! The heat is going to dwarf the blooms, but the water will keep the plants alive for better days. This heat has been hard on all the plants. It’s best to not fertilize in this heat as it will stimulate new growth,” warns Carol.

Looking back on her half a century of living in Arlington Heights, Carol is still sold on where she lives, “I love my house and the neighborhood and I have some of the best neighbors ever on the whole street!”

Being named AHNA Yard of the Month has its rewards. Carol received a $25 gift certificate to Archie’s Gardenland, courtesy of AHNA, and a free year’s membership in AHNA.

If you see a yard you’d like to nominate, even your own, please send the address to





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