Welcome. We're Glad Your Here!

Image is more like *I'm* glad you're here.  I'm Jake Parrillo and I'm a novice gardener. This is one of my little spots on the Web.  Hornbeam Hill is the name of my garden in Downers Grove, Illinois.  I started working the garden at Hornbeam Hill in May of 2017.  That was while our house was being built.  That didn't stop us from planting a few trees including this Dawn Redwood on Earth Day 2017.

This place is designed to show all the little steps we're taking to make Hornbeam Hill a garden we love.  It is a little bit of 'progress' every day - or every time we step into the yard.

I'm a Dad of three little ones who help me in the garden everyday.  My full bio can be found on my blog.

A Transplanted Fern - Established in the Shade

Hi.  I'm Jake.  And I'm a shade gardener.  Like my Mom.  She, too, was a shade gardener.  And that's why I think I'm drawn to ferns.  My Mom toiled in the world of hostas every season.  Listen....I like hostas.  But I LOVE ferns.  This fern that you see above is of an unknown variety.  It came out of my sister-in-laws yard before they tore down their house to build anew.  I put this in a spot in the very back of Hornbeam Hill in late June of this year.  And look at it today:  there's new growth and it appears to have weathered the transplant shock and has established itself nicely. 

What is most interesting to me is the varied colors and textures and even leaf shapes on this one fern.  The new growth is a lighter, almost yellow-green with the older fronds being dark green.  Same with the delicate-nature of the actual leaves; the new ones are rigid and concave and the older ones have flattened out a bit and are laying open for the sun. 

I've written quite a bit …

Sweet Potato Vine Flowers

I've been growing Sweet Potato Vines in our pots and containers for more than ten years.  They're the 'spill' in the fill/thrill/spill trilogy and because of their price (cheap) and reliability (grow well even if I ignore them), they usually make the cut.    We have two different vines in two different large containers (wine barrels) and they are both flowering. I posted this photo initially over at my link blog

Here's a look at both wine barrels.  You can spot flowers on both.

They say the flowers resemble Morning Glories.  And they're, apparently rare.  From this post on the Walden Effect:
It turns out that sweet potato flowers are extremely unusual, and are actually in pretty high demand.  Since sweet potatoes are propagated vegetatively, it's hard to develop new varieties.  Blooms add an element of randomness to the plant's reproduction --- a lot of the seeds will probably turn into shoddy or mediocre plants, but one of the seeds might just turn o…

We are a NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat

Earlier this year, we went through the process of becoming a National Wildlife Federation "Certified Wildlife Habitat" and now we have the sign that you see above displayed to prove we're legit.   Our sign carries both the National Wildlife Federation and the Prairie Rivers Network logos because we're in Illinois and are supportive of both organizations.

The process to becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat is a self-reporting process that covers your ability to provide food, water, cover and places to raise young.  Through a combination of natural elements (trees that bear nuts) and supplemental items (bird baths, feeders), we checked all the boxes at Hornbeam Hill. 

You can find the full details of our application and how we're supporting critters at Hornbeam Hill over at my blog

The Very Latest from Hornbeam Hill

I try to document seasonal changes, year-over-year differences, new additions to the landscape and A LOT of inspiration and ideas that I'd like to implement in our garden.  I post them over on my blog under the tag [garden diary].  You can keep up with the very latest in plantings, tweaks, improvements and the occasional garden fail (ok...more like *regular* garden fail) via the feed below: