Garden Tour: Bill and Colleen's Green Sanctuary

Garden Tour: Bill and Colleen's Green Sanctuary

Sarah Coffey
Jun 9, 2008

Outdoor spaces can have as much impact on our lives at home as the indoor ones. Ten years ago, Bill and Colleen were married under the crabapple tree in their Oak Park garden. They continue to use the space as their summer sanctuary, tending to plants that they've nurtured for years. When we asked to take photos for outdoor month on AT, they were happy to give us a tour and let us in on their sources for garden goods in Chicago...

Bill and Colleen share an interest in Buddhist philosophy that guides the way they live. Elements of the garden, such as the Buddha under the crabapple tree, reflect these influences.

Filled with green plants, the garden has intermittent bursts of color. Bill says, "When you're gardening over a number of years, you begin looking at where things fit. You see gaps that might need filling. When I garden, I do lots of moving and transplanting, looking for the right spot for a plant."

Each year, to celebrate their anniversary, they buy something new for the garden: a sculpture, new plantings, or a set of lounge chairs.

Many of their plants were purchased at the Oak Park Farmers' Market. They eat and cook with the things they grow in their vegetable garden, including a large crop of basil and tomatoes.

The back deck on their Victorian home descends into the garden. They've landscaped around the entire house, creating the main garden in the backyard, vegetable garden along the side of the house, and a landscaped path that leads to the front porch and entryway.

Bill and Colleen shared their favorite resources with us: Good Earth Greenhouse in River Forest, Gethsemane Garden Center, and the Oak Park Farmers' Market. Many of the containers are from discount store Tuesday Morning.

The last photo shows a glimpse of the pathway leading up to the front porch, where they often eat meals and read the newspaper.

Thanks, Bill and Colleen!

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