I'm Jake Parrillo and I'm a novice gardener. I live in Downers Grove - a suburb of Chicago in Zone 5B, We have a 1/2 acre of land that is a mix of sun and shade. And we have the good fortune of having many mature trees. I've begun to supplement them with additional plantings including the garden's namesake: hornbeams. European Frans Fontaine Hornbeams to be exact.
I've been documenting my field experiments (and failures) outside in our garden and yard for the past few years. You can follow along via my Instagram handle or on my personal blog/diary under the [garden diary] category tag.
That's me in the photo above along with my three kids who all spend time with me in the garden.
I'm drawn to shade gardening. And I think that's because my mother was a shade gardener. I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago on a heavily wooded lot. We could barely grow grass. But my mother tended to her hostas every year. She split and rearranged them. She could grow the heck out of hostas.
Here's a look at me - along with my family - on the day my parents moved out of my childhood home. Note all the trees in the front yard.
Our lot at Hornbeam Hill has trees, but not that dense or clustered.
We also have this very delicate, and beautiful Dawn Redwood: