Sweeney's Custom Landscaping, Inc. provides quality landscape services in the Chicagoland area with a focus on customer service. We will work with you and your vision to create the outdoor environment that suits your lifestyle and budget. We offer layout, installation and maintenance services, as well as outdoor lighting
The air was slight and gauzy as tufts of feathery cotton, like snow, sailed upon the breeze before settling to the ground where it fleeced the lawn, and filled every crevice, attempting to set seed. Cottonwoods. from miles away, had entrusted the wind with its next generation, and it was nothing short of amazing yet bothersome all the same.
Weeds, too, are a clever, albeit constant annoyance, and can be a thorn in the side of any gardener, but they can also offer clues as to the type and quality of soil at hand. Armed with this knowledge, we can begin to manage their growth, amend our soil as needed, and/or choose plants that exploit the soil we have.
Dandelions, Stinging Nettle, Curly Dock, Hawkweeds, Plantain, Wild Radish, Sow Thistle, and Oxeye Daisy can all be indicators of acidic soil. Acidic soils have a pH below 7. Consider planting Azalea, Endive, Hydrangea, Rhubarb, Rhododendron and Shallot. Lime can be added to raise the soil’s pH to a desirable range. Many plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, so a soil test may be needed to determine the level of acidity, and the amount of lime needed.
Queen Anne’s Lace, Bellflower, Goosefoot, White Mustard, Pennycress, Stinkweed, and Nodding Thistle can indicate an alkaline soil. Alkaline soils have a pH above 7. Sulfur can be added to lower the soil’s pH, but a soil test will determine the exact amount. Consider planting Asparagus, Beets, Lettuce, Onions and Spinach as they all do well in alkaline soils.
Dog Fennel, Wild Radish, Sheep Sorrel, and Wild Parsnip can indicate poor, depleted soils. Consider planting Beans, Carrots, Peas, Sage, and Thyme. The soil can also be amended with organic fertilizers, and then maintained with compost and cover crops.
Heavy Clay Soil
Heavy or clay soils may have Chicory, Creeping Buttercup, English Daisy, Mayweed, Milkweed, and Wild Garlic. Many plants have a difficult time growing in heavy, clay soils as drainage and lack of nutrients are major issues. Consider planting Aster, Daylilies, Fountain Grass, Forsythia, Hydrangea, or Purple Coneflower.
Wet, poorly drained soil invites Canada Goldenrod, Cattail, Violets, Yellow Nutsedge, Marsh Mallow, and Ragwort. Moss, Foxtails, Horsetail, Knotweed, Chickweed, and Sedge may indicate swampy conditions. Look to moisture loving plants, like Turtlehead, Joe-Pye Weed, Ligularia, Ribbon Grass, and Cardinal Flower.
Consistently dry soil can yield Black Medic, Red Sorrel, and Carpet Weed. Consider planting drought tolerant plants, like Chives, Lavender, Coreopsis, and Russian Sage.
Because some weeds are prevalent in a variety of soil conditions, it’s important to observe several of the most dominant types of weeds present. Some weeds will grow in almost all soil types, so they should not be used as reliable indicators of soil. Again, look to more than just one type of weed, their preferred soil conditions, and you should be able to determine the soil type. Once the issue has been defined, soil amendments can be made, and/or plants can be added that thrive in the given conditions.
When it comes to eliminating weeds, some lawn weeds can be prevented by simply maintaining a healthy, lush lawn through proper lawn management. Some weeds can be manually removed while many require herbicides for both lawn and garden. Reach out to Sweeney’s, and we can help identify your weed/soil issues while devising a program for a weed free garden and lawn.
Plant of the Week
Bright golden-orange flowers bloom atop upright stems July – September amongst large, rounded maroon-black leaves. Prefers shade to partial sun and moist soil. Grows 3-4′ tall and 2-3′ wide. Attracts pollinators. Deer resistant. Great in shady, moist areas.
“I always think of my sins when I weed. They grow apace in the same way and are harder still to get rid of.”
June paints the landscape in flowers and foliage while she orchestrates a symphony in bird and bug song. The long-awaited masterpiece of Summer has finally come to fruition, and as we bask in the artful glow, a few spoilers have made themselves apparent.
Garden pests. Every garden has them. Good bugs and bad bugs. But when the balance starts to tip in favor of the bad bugs, we must take action. Below is a list of the more common pests, their destructive tendencies, and what can be done to curtail their behavior:
Teeny-tiny pear-shaped bugs live of a plant’s sap. In return, they excrete honeydew, a sugary syrup, which in turn attracts more insects, like ants, and can leave the plant susceptible to mold. Foliage may begin to curl, look distorted, moldy or begin to drop. A hose can be used to knock the aphids off the plants, and some believe dousing them in dishwater is effective. Insecticides can also be applied. To help prevent aphid infestations, plants can be sprayed before they bloom and again at the end of the season.
Yes, a very generic name for a very real pest. Green or brown mottled bugs feast on plant juices causing leaf distortion, wilting or stunting. Look to insecticides for control.
Males are tiny, flying bugs while the females masquerade as bumps on leaves or stems. Like aphids, they too live on plant sap while secreting honeydew, which can attract other insects and lead to sooty mold. Plants may weaken, leaves may yellow or drop. Insecticides should be applied, and in some extreme cases, the plant may have to be destroyed.
Tiny, oval-shaped, reddish-brown or sometimes pale colored spiders suck up plant fluids by piercing the leaves’ tissue. Damage shows up as light-colored dots on the foliage followed by yellowing and eventually leaf drop. Large colonies can sometimes be spotted by their delicate webs. Insecticides should also be applied.
Similar in appearance to wasps, Sawflies have a saw-like appendage that females use to deposit their eggs onto upper leaf surfaces. The larvae are the most destructive as their feeding causes harm in various ways. Holes in foliage may be visible or even worse the entire tissue of the leaf between veins is completely obliterated. A large-scale infestation can kill a full-grown, mature tree. Insecticides should be applied.
In Spring, the bagworm’s larvae leave the silken bag on delicate strands, that can be carried by the wind from plant to plant. The larvae feed on needles, and damage is usually noticed in June to late July/early August. Infestations can sometimes go unnoticed as the silken bags often resemble small pinecones. Insecticides should be applied in May/early June when the larvae are small and just emerging from the bag. In Winter, bags can be manually removed.
If you notice any of the above pests or their respective damage, reach out to Sweeney’s immediately. In addition to insecticides, Sweeney’s can help regain balance by introducing or attracting more good bugs with proper plant selections.
Plant of the Week
Crème Caramel Coreopsis
Small, daisy-shaped flowers tinted in shades of terra-cotta, peach, caramel, and copper that deepen to a rich orangey-red as temperatures get cooler bloom June – October amongst delicate, green foliage. Prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 12-18″ tall and 18-24″ wide. Attracts butterflies and the beneficial Lacewing, which eat aphids, scales, thrips, and mealybugs.
“Large flocks of butterflies, all kinds of happy insects, seem to be in a perfect fever of joy and sportive gladness.”
Change is coming. A great shift from the rote and routine, schedules and deadlines. The walls of our compartmentalized lives are being razed, and the tethers loosened. Schools are racing to the finish line, and soon our lives will follow the arrhythmic beat of Summer’s drum. Memorial Day marks the beginning of Summer – a season less regimented and predictable. A season to slow and savor. A season less contained?
Well, yes, depending on context, but when it comes to container gardening, Summer presents both the perfect reason and perfect season to create and plant these beautiful and functional vessels. In fact, container gardening has become quite trendy and this year, more than ever, people are thinking outside the, er, container.
Containers offer the perfect solution for a litany of issues – from small spaces to bad soil. They can also be mobile and moved around the yard/patio to suit your needs.
Although there are no hard and fast rules about what you can plant, there are some basic guidelines to follow to insure the container’s health and get the most out of your plants:
Any vessel can serve as a container as long as it can hold soil and provide drainage.
Consider the size of the container before adding plants. It’s important to account for the mature size of the plant, so there is ample room for it to grow and flourish.
Just like garden plants, make sure you are siting your containers correctly. If your plants require full sun or shade, make sure the container is positioned in an area where it can get the light/shade it needs.
Soil tends to dry out faster in containers, so make sure you are watering properly. Self-watering containers are also an option.
Containers aren’t just for flowers. Consider planting vegetables or a combination of the two. Dwarf vegetables work especially well as do herbs, and they are both harvestable and beautiful.
Container gardening is actually quite liberating, and they can be used almost anywhere, no matter how big or small the space, and flowers are no longer the rule of thumb. Vegetables, herbs and succulents are all very popular, and because of their size, containers are much easier to manage and maintain.
Not sure where to start? Contact Sweeney’s. Perhaps you already have a container but need help in choosing plants. Or maybe you have the vision for the perfect container but don’t have the time. As always, Sweeney’s is here to help, and we can barely contain our excitement in making your container garden dreams a reality!
Sun Parasol Crimson Mandevilla
Vigorous vine with large, showy, tropical red flowers that bloom amongst glossy green foliage May – October. Prefers sun to partial shade, and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 15-20′ tall and 12-15′ wide. Excellent for containers or trellises. Should be treated as an annual in our zone. Attracts hummingbirds.
The clouds gave chase and rushed overhead as the wind swirled and roiled, ratting each leaf and limb. Petals littered the ground like confetti while catkins rained down like ticker tape. The landscape seemed almost celebratory in the wake of a building storm.
Nature is dynamic and adept at change. Plants come and go with the changing seasons. They bloom, set seed, and fizzle. Some return year after year, while some only last a season, but gardening can be more than just plants.
Landscape boulders make great focal points while providing texture, form, structure, height, and color. They create great visual and textural contrast, and can serve as an anchor to tie a landscape together.
In addition to their aesthetic value, boulders can also be quite utilitarian. They can aid in soil erosion or be used to create borders, retaining walls, fire pits, seating, pathways, and water features.
When placed in a landscape, boulders shouldn’t float atop the surface. Instead, they should be nestled into the soil for a more natural look. Using local, native boulders lend a more organic look and reflect the natural surroundings.
Size and scale should be considered when choosing and siting boulders. Don’t be afraid to go big to make a grand statement, and consider grouping boulders of various sizes and shapes for further interest.
Boulders are beautiful, practical and very low maintenance. Each one as unique as you! Contact Sweeney’s today, and we’ll help you choose and site these beauties for a wonderful addition to your landscape and gardens.
Plant of the Week
Rock Candy Blue Penstemon
Upright spikes of bell-shaped, lavender blue flowers bloom amongst compact foliage June – August. Prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 12-18″ tall and 12-18″ wide. Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Drought tolerant.
“May your boulders be your blessings. May you be able to embrace them. And may you find what’s extraordinary in yourself.”
The landscape has begun to swell as the Oaks and Maples leaf out, and Spring flowering trees and shrubs adorn the horizon. Our once lethargic lawns have kicked into high gear with the onset of warming temperatures, cool nights, and copious amounts of rain. And just when we thought we had it made, an invader lurks in the not so distant future. Welcome the grub worm.
Grub worms are the larvae, children, if you will, of a variety of beetles. They feed on the lawn’s root system and are terribly destructive. Weakened, wilting, brown grass in irregular shapes are a sign of their existence and ferocious appetites. In these areas, the grass can easily be pulled back due to root damage, and the grub highly visible – white, c-shaped and reaching lengths up to 2″. The grubs, themselves, invite critters, like skunks and raccoons, to feast upon them, further damaging the lawn.
More eggs are deposited in warmer soils, like the areas around sidewalks, driveways and outside lights. The beetle prefers to lay her eggs in moist soil as opposed to dry, so well maintained and irrigated lawns are often targets.
Preventative measures can be taken to inhibit the larvae from hatching and/or maturing. This is referred to as preventative grub control and is your best and most effective defense. Once damage is noticed, usually later in the season, around August, granular insecticides can be applied to treat the grubs; however, most damaged areas will not bounce back. Raking and reseeding will most likely be needed. Before grubs become a problem, contact Sweeney’s to schedule your grub control today! After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and a healthy lawn, so don’t be a hub for grubs!
Plant of the Week
Ruby Spider Daylily
Enormous, ruby-red flowers with golden-yellow throats bloom June – August. Prefers partial to full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 24-36″ tall and 18-24″ wide. Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Salt tolerant. Rabbit resistant.
“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.”
A cacophony of bird songs filled the trees and permeated the air, serenading each bud and bloom in Spring’s warming embrace. Sleepy tulips sprouted forth, bravely stretching towards the vernal sun. The landscape was stirring, and our souls awakening in its midst.
Along with Spring Clean Ups and Lawn Renovations, we must turn our attention to one of the most important additions to the landscape. Mulch.
If you do nothing else this year, install or replenish mulch! It’s literally considered a work horse in the landscape and can quickly turn a tired, unkempt yard into a neat and aesthetically pleasing landscape, but that’s not all!
Mulch helps maintain moisture and reduces evaporation; thereby, minimizing the need for supplemental watering and capitalizing on moisture that naturally falls to the ground. Mulch also helps control weeds by suppressing germination. It is also a great insulator and can improve soil aeration and drainage. Mulch can reduce the likelihood of damage from lawn mowers and weed trimmers by creating a barrier, and lastly, mulch helps give planting beds and tree rings a uniform and manicured look.
What exactly is mulch? Mulch can be defined as any material used on the surface of the soil, including organic materials such as wood chips, straw, pine needles, cocoa hulls, peat moss and lawn clippings. Inorganic mulches include river rock, shredded rubber, volcanic rock and synthetic fabrics. Organic mulches are preferred and more widely used. They are also more cost-effective, but the choice is ultimately yours.
How should mulch be used? Mulch should be spread at a depth of 2-4″. Not to exceed 6″. For trees, the larger the mulched area, the better, as it should reach, minimally, the drip line (i.e. the outer perimeter of the branches); however, never mound the mulch up around the base of the tree, also known as “volcanic” mulching. This can promote disease on the lower trunk as the tree’s bark is no longer exposed to air and light. The bark will begin to rot, and the tree can no longer protect itself from insects and disease. “Volcanic” mulching also promotes the growth of secondary roots which can encircle the trunk and choke off the main roots. This type of mulching won’t kill a tree immediately, but will lead to a slow, unnecessary death.
When should mulch be used? Almost any time is a good time, but many prefer to mulch or re-mulch in Spring. Reach out to Sweeney’s today, and let us provide and install that “cure-all”. You and your landscape will be glad you did!
Plant of the Week
Lavender Chiffon Hibiscus
Deciduous shrub with large, semi-double, lavender-pink flowers with ruffled centers bloom June – August on graceful stems. Prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 8-12′ tall and 4-6′ wide. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
The water was utterly still, glass-like, and the deepening sky reflected off its surface as the fog rose slowly and tumbled towards the shore. The water made not a sound as the wind fizzled to a whisper, and the lake and the sky and the shore seemed as one, devoid of any earthly delineation.
Water is a magnificent and powerful resource that should be entirely respected, whether it’s a body of water or precipitation. Water is a life source for people, plants and animals. It makes up 71% of the earth, 70% of our bodies and 80-90% of a plant.
But water can also be detrimental, especially when not allowed to drain properly. Many plants, including trees and shrubs, do not like wet feet, and although they may look ok above the soil, their root structure may tell a different story. In many cases, after years of poor drainage, the tree or shrub will eventually die. In other cases, extreme root decay can lead to the tree falling over in heavy snow or high winds. Neither situation ideal.
Additionally, mowing when the grass/ground is too wet can be hazardous to the operator as well as the lawn. Mowers can leave ruts, and tear grass blades. Further still, clumping can occur, which is bad for both the mower and lawn, and the results are generally less than neat and tidy.
One of the most common and easily rectifiable issues is gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned and cleared of all debris on a regular basis. Downspouts should be pointed away from the home, and in some cases, extended, so water doesn’t pool or puddle around the foundation and/or plant material.
Drainage issues that persist should be evaluated by professionals. In some cases, drain tiles and drains must be installed. Other times, landscapes must be re-graded, so water drains properly and legally without impacting neighbors or the community.
Consider looking to plants that thrive in moist soils. Their root systems can also help fight erosion, so additional soil and organic matter stay in place and won’t wash away. Redtwig Dogwood, Red Maple and Eastern Cottonwood have a pretty high tolerance for moisture as do Winterberry, Virginia Sweetspire, and Oakleaf Hydrangea. Milkweed, Astilbe, Korean Feather Reed Grass, Ligularia, Cardinal Flower and Lobelia are also excellent choices.
Got a drainage problem? Reach out to Sweeney’s! We can help address water issues or suggest plant material that will thrive in these troubled areas.
Plant of the Week
Fast growing, deciduous shrub with unusual flowers that resemble white pin cushions with a lovely honey-scent, bloom early to mid Summer amongst glossy, dark green foliage. Flower heads mature to hard, spherical fruits that are an important food source for wildlife. Prefers sun to partial shade and moist soil. Grows 8-12′ tall and 6-8′ wide. Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Excellent for rain gardens and areas that tend to flood.
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
Spring is more than just a lovely maiden with her delicate touch of ethereal pastels and wispy, burgeoning buds. She is a lion hearted warrior who battles the lashing tail of Winter’s retreat, so life can again prosper under her careful and selfless watch.
Spring is an excellent time to take action, and in keeping with the spirit of Earth Day, we dig a bit deeper into Native plants. Native can be defined as indigenous to a certain area that have existed over many thousands of years in a particular area. Generally speaking, Native plants require little to no human intervention in way of supplemental watering, soil amendments or pesticides. They naturally thrive in our soil and environment and are equally as appealing.
We understand not everyone is ready to overhaul their gardens, but why not consider incorporating a few of the more unique Native plants, which are readily available and will make a stunning addition to your landscape?
Uncommon shrub with spires of feathery pink flowers that bloom July – September amongst foliage that turns a lovely golden-red in Fall. Prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade and moist soil. Grows 3-4′ tall and 3-4′ wide. Attracts butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife.
Spiky bright red flowers bloom atop upright stems from July – September. Prefers sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. Grows 3-4′ tall and 18-24″ wide. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife.
Drummond Pink Creeping Phlox
Fragrant, large, deep-pink flowers bloom late Spring to early Summer amongst dark green, needle-like foliage. Prefers full sun and dry to normal soil. Grows 3-6” tall and 18-24” wide in a low mat, perfect for climbing walls or over rocks. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Clusters of soft blue flowers bloom May – June amongst fern-like foliage that rises up the stem like a ladder. Prefers shade to partial sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 8-12″ tall and 8-24″ wide. Attracts butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife
Ice Ballet Milkweed
Fragrant clusters or creamy white flowers bloom June – September on upright stems with thick, light green leaves. Prefers sun to partial shade, and dry to medium well-drained soil. Grows 3-4′ tall and 3-4’ wide. Food source for Monarch Butterfly larvae. Deer resistant
Big Leaved Aster
Pale lavender flowers with cheery yellow centers bloom late Summer to early Fall amongst heart-shaped foliage. Prefers shade to partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 24-36″ tall and 36-48″ wide. Attracts butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife.
Bright yellow, saucer-like flowers bloom May – September amongst a low mat of fuzzy, green foliage. Prefers full sun, and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 12-18” tall and 12-18” wide. Attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Drought tolerant.
Adding Natives to your garden will not only help support the environment, local eco system and wildlife, you too will benefit from their beauty and utter ease. Contact Sweeney’s today, and we’ll help get you started! Welcome to the wonderful world of Native Plants. We’re glad you’re here.
Plant of the Week
Purple-Sheathed Graceful Sedge
Clump forming with fine, gracefully arching blades that produce strings of bead-like seeds in Summer. Prefers shade to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 18-24″ tall and 12-18″ wide.
“Native plants give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours…”
Sloughing off the final olive-drab layers of a season past, a sapphire carpet of Spring ephemerals arose as the Redbud’s ethereal blooms cast a cheery glow unto the scene. Swelling buds and nodding Daffodils dotted the landscape as the grass grew green and lush. Spring was in full swing.
There’s no coincidence that we celebrate Earth Day next Monday, April 22nd. It’s a day to celebrate earth and demonstrate our support for her well-being. In some ways, it’s become synonymous with the whole green movement, more specifically the global climate change initiative. No matter where you stand on the whole global warming/climate change debate, Earth Day is a great day to honor nature and appreciate all her diversity and splendor, and we’ve put together a few, reasonable ideas to help you celebrate:
Start a Garden
It doesn’t have to be anything grand or complicated. Consider planting in containers or raised beds. It need not take up much space or require tons of time or money. Basically, plant something – anything. Perhaps you have a favorite flower or vegetable. Give it a go.
When possible, opt for electronic billing as opposed to paper bills. Some companies now charge for paper bills, so you’ll save money and clutter too.
Start turning garden and select kitchen waste into gardening gold. Start a compost bin or pile.
Upcycle and Recycle
Get crafty by upcycling items. Got a bunch of glass bottles? Consider making a bottle tree. Upcycle old containers and use as unique planters. Recycle clothes, books, etc. by donating. Keeping things out of the trash is a win-win.
Consider adding Native plants to your yard/garden. Native plants generally require little to no maintenance, so no supplemental watering or chemicals are needed, and local wildlife are drawn to them.
If nothing else, take a stroll through your local woods or park. Be awed and inspired by earth’s varied beauty and bounty, and as always, reach out to Sweeney’s with your inspirations and aspirations, and we’ll make them a reality.
Plant of the Week
Graceful pink flowers bloom April – June, followed by gauzy seed heads that resemble hazy smoke. Prefers full sun to partial shade and dry to medium dry soil. Grows 12-18″ tall and 12-18″ wide. Attracts bees and other pollinators. Native.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
The weather teetered between lovely and tumultuous as if someone, unknowingly, kept leaning against the light switch. In a moment, a lovely Spring day became a stormy Winter day, and back and forth it went. Nature’s apparent confusion would not sully the efforts of a landscape ready to burst with life and renewal. Instead, Spring stood stoic and unflappable. April would deliver us to the promised land.
April, among many other things, is National Lawn Care Month! Yes, that’s a thing, and in celebration of our soon to be green and lush landscapes, we offer you the following facts about the value and importance of a healthy and well maintained lawn:
Lawns are about 30 degrees cooler than asphalt driveways.
One acre of grass produces more oxygen than one acre of rainforest, and a 2,500 sf lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
Grass helps absorb water as opposed to hard, non-porous surfaces; thereby, reducing run off and protecting our groundwater by filtering out contaminants.
Grass helps prevent soil erosion.
Grass improves the soil with organic matter.
Healthy, well-maintained lawns can add to a property’s curb appeal and overall value.
Lawns, in conjunction with trees and shrubs around the home, can help reduce temperatures by up to 20 degrees.
Because lawns are cooler and softer than concrete and asphalt surfaces, kids and dogs are naturally drawn to them, and the cushioning effect helps reduce the potential for injuries.
Lawns can improve air quality by trapping dust and other small air particles
Lawns take in carbon dioxide; thereby, reducing overall CO2 in the atmosphere.
Lawns help reduce noise levels by absorbing, deflecting, reflecting and refracting.
Healthy, well-maintained lawns create inviting views that can affect people positively through a sense of peace and harmony.
Lawns, in a word, are truly amazing, so don’t take them for granted! Reach out to Sweeney’s today to schedule your lawn mowing, maintenance or renovation! You, and the world will be so glad you did.
Plant of the Week
Waterperry Blue Speedwell
Low growing, long flowering groundcover produces delicate lavender-blue flowers with white centers in mid to late Spring and again intermittently throughout the summer amongst dark, green foliage with tinges of copper and burgundy. Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Grows 3-6″ tall and 12-18″ wide. Drought and salt tolerant. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Foot traffic tolerant.
“Grass is the forgiveness of nature – her constant benediction.