BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
From Maryland to Murray Bay, Summer means flower-filled houses and gardens for Chicago-based designer Todd Schwebel and his clients. June brings peonies and roses followed in July by lilies, delphiniums, and his signature displays of colorful annuals in pots and urns. Grab a cold drink and enjoy our exclusive peek behind the manicured hedges with Todd!
Pitch perfect: heirloom pink peonies on a neo-classical David Adler plant stand Todd acquired years ago from esteemed antiquarian Buzz Norton.
Todd has a thing about manicured hedges, and these boxwood parterres are simply stunning set off with a large planting of the peachy pink Morden shrub rose named “Sunrise”. Todd reports they are very hardy and quite resistant to black spot, a lazy gardener’s dream!
Inspired by the spicy summer colors of Hidcote this mix of hot orange & salmon geraniums highlight the antique limestone urns in this otherwise very buttoned-down formal garden.
In the same garden, the rosy red Sweet William, chartreuse barberry hedges and salmon geraniums contrast beautifully against the robins egg blue garden fence (with a Mr. Lincoln climbing rose). Todd had the federal-style acorn finials custom made in Boston.
Stately lilies perfume summer evenings and make garden visitors stop and linger while they inhale the intoxicating scent.
These hanging baskets pack a colorful summer punch filled with bright begonias and accented by blue lobelia!
“General Sikorski” clematis scampers up an antique limestone column Schwebel re-purposed to build this garden pergola.
The rumors are true, they build things the old-fashioned way at The Schwebel Company. Todd’s expert in-house craftsmen laid these herringbone patterned brick walks to his exacting design for a charming 19th-century Victorian Cottage they are restoring for a young family.
A chic Longshadow Planters garden urn filled with fuchsia and begonias overlooks a monumental pergola and formal pelouse Todd and his team recently built in Chevy Chase.
Red, white and blue is not only patriotic in the United States, it’s also the colors of the French tricolor flag, and therefore perfect for the unique Franco-American atmosphere in Murray Bay, Canada, the great summer gathering ground on the St. Lawrence. Regardless of your nationality the red roses, white astilbe, and blue delphinium are a jaw-dropping combination!
The pleasures of gardening in Murray Bay are legendary, not least for the lupines that seem to be on steroids at Vertefeuille.
Designer and guy with style Todd Schwebel, long time Chicago Botanic Garden Guild Board member, seen here in the CBG English Walled Garden cozying up to a matching variegated pink weigela.
Todd includes peonies in every garden he designs!
The Schwebel Company is well-known for restoring and renovating fine houses, like this historic Arts and Crafts villa in Chevy Chase. But nothing gives Todd a bigger thrill than a historic garden element like this entry pergola still intact with its ancient wisteria in full bloom!
Keep it simple stupid or “KISS” is a time-honored island saying Todd learned from his time on Nevis. Nothing is more elegant than a simple pot of classic geraniums wherever you find yourself this summer.
And for those of you lucky enough to find yourselves on the guestlist for a summer party Todd’s chairing one day, these are the sort of joyful centerpieces you can expect on the tables!
Happy Summer to all!