Native Plant Seminar

Late Winter is the time for Native Plant Seminars in our area and I urge you to attend at least one.  Jerry Johnson, of Garfield Farm,  is such a compelling writer that I decided to feature his entire promotion.

Contact Jerome Johnson  (630) 584-8485

25th Annual Native Plant Seminar

CAMPTON HILLS, IL     Garfield Farm Museum‚s 25th annual Prairie, Woodlands,

and Wetlands Management Seminar will be held on Saturday, February 19 from

8:30 am-4:30pm. From backyard gardeners to owners of natural area acreage,

this seminar covers all the key methods and techniques of preserving and

using the best adapted plants for the Illinois environment. Experts Roy

Diblik, Cathy McGlynn, Conner Shaw, John Engstrom and Jerome Johnson will

help explain the best techniques and methods to increase and maintain native

plants communities. There is a $50 donation for the all day seminar which

includes lunch and refreshments.

Living in Illinois requires developing an eye for the subtle beauty

and uniqueness of this the Prairie State. Even long time residents have

yet to fully develop such vision and in part it is no fault of their own.

So much of what Illinois was has disappeared. Even the once plentiful farmsteads

that dotted the horizon that turned oceans of prairie into fields of corn,

are themselves disappearing.  So ironically the average gardener that calls

out heavy artillery when a single dandelion makes its appearance, he or

she would be aghast if they could as readily see the forests of buckthorn,

the mat of garlic mustard, the jungle of false chervil that are dominating

our „natural areas‰. This is such a dilemma that simply planting native

plants is not enough. Even the federal government has recognized the great

damage invasive species of plants are doing to our economics and environment.

At the regional level the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership

(NIIPP) has been established to prevent and control new and existing plant


Cathy McGlynn, Coordinator of the NIIPP will be a special featured

speaker at the 25th annual seminar. She will provide information about new

and established invasive plants and each plant‚s natural history, identification,

native look a-likes, control methods, and current known locations.  For

more information about NIIPP and the New Invaders Watch Program (NIWP) please

visit and

Cathy McGlynn received her Ph.D. from SUNY Stony Brook and her dissertation

focused on the effects of common reed and purple loosestrife on native plants,

small mammals, and birds in freshwater tidal wetlands of the Hudson River.

She has worked as the Manager for the New York Department of State‚s Significant

Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Program, a habitat mapper for the non-profit

Hudsonia, and the Volunteer Coordinator for the Hudson River Submerged Aquatic

Vegetation Project.  She began work as the Coordinator for the Northeast

Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) this past August.

The other season veteran speakers already know that management of

these invasive plants is an ongoing battle that neglected makes effort to

plant native species almost fruitless. McGlynn will offer up the latest

challenges and methods.

Roy Diblik who has been growing native grasses and flowers from seed

since the late 1970s, knows how critical soil preparation and mechanical

or chemical control of „weeds‰ are when he installs more formal landscape

plantings be it public parks or palatial estates. From Northwind Perennial

Farm in Springfield, WI Diblik has consulted and supplied plants for around

the country and has published a book „Small Perennial Gardens: The Know

Maintenance Approach‰

Connor Shaw is one of the few people who collects seed from the wild

and can grow native Illinois trees and shrubs like few others. Since 1978,

his Possibilities Place Nursery in Monee, IL is one of a kind. For homeowners

in town who want just the right tree for their backyard, Shaw knows what

will grow in such suburban conditions. For larger properties, his combinations

of native shrubs like the viburnums and deciduous oaks or Kentucky coffee

trees makes one‚s landscaping truly grand scale.

For property owners who are looking to turn the backyard in to a natural

area to large acreage owners, Johnson and Engstrom will bring their years

of experience to the table. Jerome Johnson, executive director and museum

biologist grew up walking the fields, woods, and streams around Garfield

Farm. Recalling woods full of spring flowers little did he realize how rare

such features would become with habitat loss, invasive plants, and over

grazing by deer which were once rarely seen. Housing developments certainly

caused loss but without management, Johnson quickly learned at Garfield

Farm, its prairie and woods were struggling to survive. With the addition

of John Engstrom as natural area manager to the museum‚s staff, Engstrom‚s

knowledge of chemical control methods has complemented Johnson‚s increase

use of mechanical means to aid the classic use of controlled burns. Their

combined management experience will offer the property owners or aspiring

volunteer restorationists the necessary tools to be successful and avoid

re-inventing the wheel.

The day‚s outline will consist of researching property history, identifying

native plants, soil preparation for planting in garden settings, use of

native trees and shrubs, identifying invasive species and the use of fire,

herbicides, and cutting and brush stacking equipment.

This seminar has both a history and method unlike any others. It

offers information that can be directly taken to the field and put in place.

Participants are welcome to return in March to gain hands on experience

in the museum‚s controlled burns.

Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL

Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. For reservations call 630 584-8485 or email



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