May 2011 OutdoorIllinois / 21
Want tips for going Green around your home?
According to these plant professionals, buying local is a growing trend.
Story and Photos By
It’s a guiding principle for
business growth: Always give
customers what they want.
But what happens when
customers want something they
might later regret—along with their
neighbors and the adjoining landscape?
For those in the landscaping and plant
business, staying Green while giving
customers what they want these days
requires a healthy dose of diplomacy.
Plant-supplying businesses represent a
front line of defense against the spread
of invasive plants in Illinois, so educat-ing
customers about the risks associat-ed
with planting invasive species is
now an ethical obligation.
“One of the things my father would
ask about any new plant being intro-duced
was, ‘Will it spread?’” recalls
Trent Mohlenbrock, who opened his
landscaping and garden supply busi-ness
in Williamson County 20 years
ago. His father, now retired, is well-known
Illinois plant biologist Robert
Mohlenbrock, a native plant expert and
author of numerous reference books
about Illinois flora. At Trent Mohlen-brock’s
business, he simply will not
sell any plant with a questionable
lifestyle, even if it means not giving
customers what they want.
“Why sell them a plant they might
later regret buying?” is one of Mohlen-brock’s
Ditto for northern Illinois landscape
designer Bob Grassly, who tactfully
steers his clients toward native, non-invasive
plant arrangements for their
landscaping plans. In a competitive
business field where showy and unusu-al
plants can win over customers, Grass-ly
draws the line when those customer-luring
plants are known to be invasive.
What’s more, by selecting clever combi-nations
of spectacular, native plants, he
can please customers with easy-to-main-tain
plants while doing right by nature.
He calls it a win-win choice for both
clients and the environment.
“It’s really giving them what they
want when I recommend local, native
plants,” Grassly explained. “The plants
that are native to the region often do
well without requiring a lot of care.
People like plants they can put in the
ground and forget about, and a lot of
native plant choices can do that.”
How can everyone join this Earth-friendly
business effort to reduce the
spread of invasive species in Illinois?
Buy landscaping plants only from rep-utable
dealers who honestly know the
native flora for your region. Know that,
just because a store—even a chain
megastore—has plants for sale doesn’t
mean those plants are not dangerously
Be wary. Be smart. Be Green with
20 / OutdoorIllinois May 2011
Utilizing a mix of primarily native
plants, along with non-invasive exotics,
landscapers can create Earth-friendly
gardens that are easy to maintain and
won’t spread. Trent Mohlenbrock offers
customers at his Marion landscape cen-ter
plenty of options for growing Green.
The Local Landscape Give us your best shot
Get your camera ready and look through
your photo album; it’s time for the annual
OutdoorIllinois photo contest. The 2011
contest is our 12th contest, and the February
2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois, where all
winning images will be published, will be our
eighth-annual photographic issue. New this
year is a special category celebrating how Illi-noisans
are returning to the basics and involv-ing
the children in their families in nature.
The photo contest is open to all Illinois
residents and entries are due by 5 p.m. Aug.
Among the items the “Best of Show” win-ner
will receive are a lodging package at an
Illinois state park lodge and two tickets to
the 2012 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame ban-quet,
where the recipient will be honored
and the winning photograph displayed.
First-, second- and third-place winners will
receive three-year, two-year and one-year sub-scriptions,
respectively, to OutdoorIllinois
and the opportunity to have their winning
photos published in the February 2012 issue.
Contest guidelines also are available at
www.dnr.state.il.us/photos. Questions may
be directed to (217) 785-0975 or by e-mail to
• New this year is a category celebrating
how Illinoisans are embracing the national
movement to involve youth in outdoor activi-ties.
Show us how the children in your family
are exploring nature and discovering the
value of free play. Note: You must be able to
obtain a signed photo release from all people
shown in winning entries prior to publica-tion.
Releases will be provided after winning
• Other categories are: mammals, birds,
invertebrates, other fauna (reptiles, amphib-ians,
aquatic organisms), scenic/landscape,
flora (plants, mushrooms), natural resource
recreational activities and young shutterbugs
(same categories as above but taken by per-sons
12 years of age or younger).
• Photographs must be taken in Illinois.
• Photos of captive and domestic species
will not be considered.
• Entries are limited to color or black-and-white
slides or prints. Slides (35mm) and
medium or large transparencies should be
mounted. Print images must be unmounted
and at least 5 x 7 inches but not more than 8
x 10 inches. Digital images (minimum of 2
megapixels or 1600 x 1200 dpi) must be sub-mitted
as a print.
• Each entry must be labeled with the pho-tographer’s
name, address, daytime phone
number and e-mail address (if applicable),
category and when and where the photo-graph
was taken. Adhering a label to the
back of the print, vs. writing directly on the
back of it, is preferred as ink often smears.
• A note must accompany entries specify-ing
the total number of slides, prints and/or
digital images entered.
• Photographers of winning entries must
be willing to provide the original slide,
negative or electronic file for publication
purposes if necessary.
• Entries received after 5 p.m. Aug. 5, 2011
will be disqualified and not returned.
• A panel of photo experts will review
entries. Winners will be notified after the
judging is completed.
• The 2010 OutdoorIllinois photo contest
best-of-show winner and DNR employees
and members of their immediate household
may not compete.
• Entries will not be returned. DNR may
contact any photographer regarding gratis
use of images in printed materials promoting
Illinois’ natural resources.
• All submitted photos must be free of
claims and rights of third parties.
• Send entries to: Photo Contest,
OutdoorIllinois, One Natural Resources
Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
Note the date
An official opening ceremony
for the new Emiquon
National Wildlife Refuge lake-side
and wetland observation
areas is slated for June 4. A full
array of lake festival activities
will take place at the site locat-ed
south of Peoria and along the
west shore of the Illinois River.
Aconference is planned for
June 16-19 to celebrate the
ecology, beauty and recreation
of the Rock, Sugar, Pecatonica
and Kishwaukee rivers in north-central
Illinois and southern
Wisconsin. Weekend and field
trip activities include canoeing,
kayaking, hiking, fishing, bird-ing,
water study, writing, pho-tography,
tours of natural areas, story-telling
and guest speakers. Reg-istration
materials for “A River
Gathering: There’s No Place
Like Home” are available at
www.fourriver.org. For infor-mation
call (815) 547-7935 or
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