Richard Eyre developed a passion for gardening and conifers at a very early age. He was influenced by his parents and grandparents who were avid gardeners. In the early 1950s, Rich's parents met Pete Girard Sr. at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show where Pete was demonstrating tree grafting. Rich's mother Margaret grew trees from Girard's in a home nursery for their construction business projects, and Rich was fascinated with the more unusual trees in their catalog. In 1968, while working for the Peace Corps, Rich found a copy of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden series on dwarf conifers by Fred Bergman in his Peace Corps book locker in Bolivia. And it was while working in the Amazon jungle that he dreamed of raising rare conifers for a living. On his return in 1970, he began building his conifer collection. He realized his dream with his wife Susan and mother Margaret when they launched the business. The first trees were planted at Foxwillow Pines Nursery in 1988.
Landscape size specimens are grown for the collector, homeowner, or landscape contractor/architect. The six acres at Rich's Foxwillow Pines lie in the terminal moraine where the kettle is highlighted as a major water feature. A 25-30 year old weeping ginkgo tree majestically reigns over the waterfall and two pools that feed into the pond under the holey boulder bridge. After the Eyre's purchased the property in 1983, they discovered the sandy clay/loam soil type was ideal for growing conifers. Fifty-year-old weed trees - box elder, choke cherry, poplar and elm - predominated at the edge of the oak-hickory woodland. They were cleared leaving the natural reseeding from the adjoining virgin oak and hickory forest.
Rich is particularly fond of Asian plants and his own collection reflects his interest of 100 or more Pinus parviflora cultivars. Some of his best Asian plants are located in the rock garden that was originally constructed for the Illinois-Wisconsin Rock Garden Society meeting in 1992. The rock garden features sedums, semperviva, saxagrages, and alpine plants. Several display beds contain Hosta gardens with unique perennials and annuals beside the shade tolerant conifers. Collectors are enchanted with ten nursery beds where Rich's grafts are planted.
Rich and Susan Eyre’s 1990 purchase of a 30-acre farm a few miles from the
We have dwarf conifers for sale retail and wholesale. There are a variety of shapes, textures and colors available. Gardening with dwarf conifers adds interest to a garden by incorporating unusual growth habits: columnar (fastigiate), globe-shaped, vase-shaped, narrow or broad pyramid, prostrate, spreading, weeping (pendulous), mounding, flattened globe or nested shape, bun shape, irregular, erratic or pruned. Dwarf conifers for sale are classified in four categories of growth: Miniatures (M) grow less than 1 inch per year, Dwarfs (D) grows 1-6’’ per year, Intermediates (I) grow 6-12’’ per year and Larges (L) grow more than 12’’ per year. These growth rates have been determined by the American Conifer Society. On this website, our ten-year growth averages are based on our 40 years of experience in Zone 5a. The numbers are estimates based on average soil and moisture condition in the first 10 years of the plant’s life from graft. Extraordinary growing conditions could modify information. West and East coast growth estimates can be quite a bit. different. We can provide the right tree for the right place for home owners, landscapers, landscape architects, rock gardeners, perennial gardeners, garden railroad enthusiasts, conifer collectors, arboretums, commercial projects, rooftop gardens, gardens with a small footprint, shady sites or full sun areas.
We can help our customers be garden-artists painting the landscape with our expanded palette of plants. Bring photos of your yard or plat of survey and we will help you create a masterpiece! Know how much sun those areas receive in the summer. Do a drainage test to determine the permeability of the soil. Then select plants with appropriate growth rates for that area. You will create a sanctuary that your whole family can enjoy!
Our lives were enriched greatly by becoming more committed to the goals of the organization known as Heifer Project International. In more difficult areas of the world to support a family, farmers are given farm animals to help solve hunger and nutrition problems. The farmer is required to 'Pass on the Gift' and give the first female offspring to another family in need. Rich and Susan are volunteers and former trustees of the Heifer International Foundation. In September 1997, the Board of Trustees met in Honduras and we visited several project sites. The farmers thanked HPI profusely for improving the nutritional value and health of their families. It was incredible to see the process work and to share the incredible success of the program. HPI provides a micro-credit loan of an animal. The gift is passed on and on and on. Our experience in Honduras was an affirmation and empowerment of the future for us to try to dedicate more time to solve the huge problem of world hunger. We encourage you to support HPI and those in need in the greater one world community in which we live. HPI is the best vehicle we have found that achieves the goals in which we believe.
Call HPI at 800-422-0474 or visit their website: www.heifer.org.
Rich and Susan are available for speaking engagements with a variety of slide show presentations. Group tours of the nursery are available to horticulture classes, garden clubs, or other interested groups. Box lunches or local restaurants can be recommended. Rich looks forward to answering any specific questions on conifers or siting problems. He gives landscape design information at the nursery and he can come to your site for a donation.
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