Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Limited Exposure, Limited Dream - Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery



"Limited exposure, limited dream."  - Rich Eyre

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, 1618 McDonnell Road, Woodstock, IL. If you have not yet been, please plan to make a trip. It's a great way to get your horticulture fix in the middle of winter.

Rich Eyre and his super sweet wife, Susie, have much more to offer than just pines. Not only do they propegate and grow some of the world's rarest and most beautiful conifers, they also offer visitors (if you're lucky enough to stay and chat a while), a unique outlook on life and inspiration to follow your dreams and contribute positively to humanity.

"The dream is everything" - Rich Eyre

Rich comes from a long line of farmers and gardeners. His mother sparked his interest in evergreens when she would buy baby plants for the family to grow on their property. His interest grew while in the Peace Corps in Bolivia in the late 60's. He then undertook a journey across the Midwest with a good friend searching for, as Rich puts it, "cold beer, rare trees, and hot women."  He came back with selections never before grown commercially in our area, and along with a purchase of 6-7000 additional trees, he started his unique business. Now the Eyre's grow over 2500 cultivars of rare conifers and evergreens on over 30 acres of property.

"Be humble, frugal, have a good dream, and work like hell." - Rich Eyre

Rich and Susie Eyre are world hunger advocates and volunteer and raise funds for Heifer International, an organization they are extremely passionate about. After my visit with Rich and Susie, not only was I more excited about pursuing my horticultural interests and landscape business, but I was inspired to take on hunger in my community as well.

But, back to the plants. Rich believes that fastigiate (narrow in form, columnar) trees are the future for urban spaces that don't have a lot of space, so he has cultivated fastigiate forms of white pine, Colorado spruce, and Ginkgo.

Rich grows his trees in rows, not of the same tree in each row, but all mixed up - no two like trees next to each other. This approach is unique in comparison to other growers who grow their stock in long rows of identical trees. The makes it easier to add-on additional trees to buyers who may come looking for one species, and find interest in the one next to it. Smart.

I hope you can find the time to visit Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery in the near future and bring home one of his gems for your landscape.

Evergreens are more than green!


Different varieties of dwarf conifers grown together


Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Green Arrow'

Picea pungens and Pinus parviflora



A lovely mix of form

An incredible Pinus strobus 'Pendula'

The babes warm in the greenhouse

I instantly fell in love with this Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Harvard Gold'.
Isn't he cute?

More: Fine Cones





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