Chicago’s motto is Urbs Horto, or City in a Garden. Given the amount of sprawl and environmental damage that’s occurred since its founding, I would find it hard to argue that Chicago is still a city in a garden. However, we can still have a garden in the city.

Jason gardens in Evanston, Illinois (zone 5), about one mile from the border with Chicago. He lives with his spouse, Judy, and has two grown sons. Judy, seen below at the antiquities museum in Istanbul, is in charge of photographs, while Jason is in charge of plants.

To contact us, write to jasonbertkay@gmail.com or judyhertz@gmail.com.


Judy with one of the Lions of the Ishtar Gate.

52 Comments on “About/Contact”

  1. Hi Jason, thank you for visiting my blog, MulchMaid. In answer to your question about Cornus x ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’, it is a cross between the native Western dogwood, Cornus nuttallii, and the Eastern North American species, Cornus florida. We wanted to plant a Western dogwood, but they are prone to injury and disease, so not as good a choice in the garden as a tougher hybrid.

  2. Ah now I remember where you garden, Jason — love that photo of you attacking the dead branches! San Jose, where I lived for many years, was originally known as the garden city. And accounts from the 19th Century attest to the truth of that – Now, well, not so much, but there are a lot of avid gardeners there.

  3. I have enjoyed wandering around your blog checking out older posts. You are growing a lot of the same plants I am, and you seem to have similar design and plant choice tastes, and all the same challenges too! How great that you got to go to Russia — I also spent a semester there in college, only it was called Leningrad then, it was the height of the cold war, and it was 43 years ago! Your son is having an amazing experience I am sure.

  4. Hello Jason and Judy! Thanks for paying a visit to my blog recently and for leaving such a nice comment. Thanks!
    I have been strolling around a bit on your blog and it was a very pleasant adventure. Your garden(and house, love those wooden American houses) is beautiful. In our family I’m the one in charge of garden and photography, love both, my husband has biking as his number one hobby.

  5. Well, I could get lost in your blog since I am new to to, but I have so much catching up to do on my own. I will stop by as often as I can! I have a lot of new challenges back in Missouri now and it helps to view all the public gardens you have toured. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Dear Judy & Jason,

    I loved your garden and thanks for all the information and wonderful pictures. I live in Brampton, Ontario and try to build my own garden. I am originally from Turkey and I liked Judy’s photo in Istanbul. Take care and please carry on, beaitiful work.

  7. I’ve always dreamed of starting cleaning up our house’s garden, but unfortunately lacking time and principally motivation have had reason of me, so recently I’ve decided to begin my potential hobby that is gardening, but now I am wondering how shall start, the first step that I’ve taken was to remove all the stuff that do not correspond to any garden, and now I want to buy new flowers and plants, so I would love to find all the necessary information on your blog for doing so, Hopefully 🙂

  8. Good to meet a fellow Illinoia-lol! I just read your about page-my husband and I grew up in the Chicago suburbs but moved to the Quad Cities ( a bit west of you on the Mississippi) and raised our 3 kids here:-) Both of our families are from that area + I was born at Evanston Hospital,+ grandparents lived there + MISS Lake Michigan–will enjoy reading your blog of your garden+ photos you and your wife share:-) I don’t find too many blogs of people growing in zone 5!

  9. Was internet spelunking to see if I could find out what caterpillar calls Mertensia v. a host plant. No luck so far but I was side tracked by your blog. I also garden in IL, in my case Aurora, which is way southwest of you.

    I ripped out and redid my front yard in 2013. My goal was to stop traffic and enhance the curb appeal so if I sell, it will stand out. I’m extremely pleased, tho cursing bindweed and quackgrass. I’ve also modified the landscape design because they NEVER USE ENOUGH PLANTS!

    Anyway, enjoyed your observations and want to extend an invitation to the Plant Sale on 05/16/2015 in Aurora IL from 8am until noon. It’s down by the transportation Round House in downtown Aurora on Rt 25/Broadway. Traffic seems to increase every year, I think there were at least a hundred rabid plant fanatics there last year!

    • Thanks so much for the invitation. Unfortunately at this time of year I am out of town about five days a week and have very little time at home, so I don’t go to many events. Sounds like something I would really like, though – maybe another year I can attend.

  10. I’ve just been introduced to your blog, so your review of Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh” is the first thing I have read. I have to tell you that perhaps you have missed your calling as a literary reviewer. It will be my next read, and thank you!

  11. I’m so glad to find your blog on this dreary solstice day. Great photos and I am bookmarking things to order -after checking on zone issues! I have never seen a Senna and I think I have a place for it. Agree about the “weedy” white aster – was going to pull some out but noticed it was covered with bees so right now it can go anywhere it wants. Bees have been scarce even with lots of natives. Sending good vibes for successful treatment.

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