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Parkways: Parkways are a wonderful place to plant a native garden. Passers- by can immediately appreciate how different and beautiful the scene is. It can be a gathering place for neighbors to strike up a conversation and beautify an otherwise empty area.

Parkways are under-utilized spaces that can be turned into beautiful gardens. The secret is to use low-growing and clump-forming plants. The finished garden adds to the look of the whole house.

Note: we recommend checking your city or village code before starting parkway plantings.

Shari Pergricht receiving her award from Mayor Daley, 9-11-09

Shari's parkway garden featuring Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum, Fall '09

A Parkway Prairie Garden in the City

“The final reward comes in the Fall when I hear the sound of goldfinches and enjoy the sight of butterflies going back and forth over my house.” These are only two of the unexpected rewards Shari Pergricht has received for following her vision - (of a prairie garden along the side of her home). On her decade-long journey, Shari has received the compliments and gratitude of her neighbors and eventually, the attention of the Mayor of Chicago, himself.

The dream of creating a wildflower garden began almost 10 years ago, after visiting a friend's garden in St. Louis, who had turned his entire front & back yard into a prairie. Soon after, she found Art and Linda’s Wildflowers while attending a Farmer’s Market in Skokie and she decided it was time to dig in. The first step was to employ Art and Linda’s expertise to help her create a wildflower garden in her corner parkway. “The entire parkway was a mess, she said, full of weeds and thin areas of grass”. To begin the transformation, Art and Linda’s tilled the corner parkway and planted beautiful, healthy plants which thrived in the soil and sun along her street.

After tending the parkway garden herself in the second year, she began hearing comments from neighbors like, "I just want you to know that we appreciate the efforts you have done to beautify this site”.  The following year, she began incorporating native plants in her own backyard, as well. After two years, the full length of Shari’s parkway was full of thriving, native plants.

Last Spring she saw a flyer at her library. It announced the Mayor’s Annual Landscape Awards, to be given to exemplary gardens within the city limits. The application simply asked for a few photos along with a brief description of the garden.  In October of 2009, she received a phone call, congratulating her on being awarded the prize of 2nd place in the category of native landscaping. The award ceremony was held in early November of  2009 at The Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago and the awards were handed out by Mayor Daley. Shari noted that many of the accolades were given to gardens associated with museums or schools and other public buildings. As it turned out, hers was the only native landscaping award given for a personal residence in Chicago!

Altogether, there are over 30 different native plants at her site including those of a shade garden on the north side of the house. As for stewardship, Shari asks Art and Linda’s to come out in the Fall, take her garden down and help thin it out but she still enjoys the activity of tending the gardens herself.

Shari appreciates the acknowledgment of the Mayor's office and hopes that “more people will consider turning their own parkways into native gardens."

Small Northside Chicago Parkway Offers a Lovely Home for Nature's Finest

Standard typical parkway runs the length of the entire yard. These bold and exciting plants may slightly droop over the sidewalk, but to date no neighbors have complained.

Click here to see more of this exciting parkway on the northside of Chicago.

The Electric Company Paid Me For This

The large sunny parkway garden is located near Barrie Park in south Oak Park.

The yard was recovered from a Commonwealth Edison spill that left the land toxic. ComEd funded the recovery project that ended in the creation of this garden.

Click here to see more of the Oak Park parkway!

A Parkway Garden in a Shady Spot

This parkway garden lies in the shade of a large Elm tree which we limbed-up a bit.

Many of these woodland plants are special -- being grown from seed, they are not available in nurseries.

Click here to see more of this parkway on Chicago's far northside.

It's Not An Optical Illusion -- He Really Is Leaning

See the mulch border near the sidewalk. This gives this Elmwood Park garden a well maintained and cared-for look.

The plants are straight and erect, not sprawling onto the sidewalk.

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