Such a gloomy winter we have had–brown grass and gray skies.
But look what just a light dusting of snow will do:
Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin 1/16/07 The large trees are Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa), while the smaller trees are Hill’s Oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis). A red oak, it has pointed bristled-tipped glossy green leaves that turn scarlet in fall, then turn brown and persist all winter. It can grow from 60 to 100’ tall. In nature, it is found on stony, gravely morainal hills. It is indigenous to the upper Midwest–northern Illinois, western Wisconsin, eastern Iowa and Minnesota, and pockets throughout Michigan.
This is the slope up the first gravel kame at Bluff Spring Fen with Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).
Bluff Spring Fen. Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariaefolia) is a great winter presence. In nature, it is found in open woods, especially at the edges of clearings. 12/7/09
Ironwood or Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) also retains its leaves all winter. A common oak woodland understory tree that grows 35-50’ tall, it is found throughout the Chicago region and indeed, most of the eastern half of the country. I’ve heard that it can be quite aggressive, but I have no personal knowledge of that–what has been your experience, dear readers?
Potawatomi Park, St. Charles Blue Beech (Carpinus caroliniana) 12/7/09
River Bluff Road, Elgin 12/20/08
My patio 1/18/09
Entrance to my savanna garden12/7/09