April Activities

Spring Begins

April Activities

 Side Yard Burn 4:11:14How to conduct a prairie garden controlled burn.  Friday, April 11, 2014

 Last fall  Send application to the Illinois EPA.  Check.

Several months later:  Application returned, giving permission.  Check.

March:  Send application to City of Elgin.  Check

April:  City application not returned yet.

April 4     E-mail Sandra Taylor, asking her to expedite City of Elgin permission to burn.

April 7 Received confirming  E-mail signed by Fire Chief. Check

Day before;  notify neighbors of impending burn. Check

Weather conditions for a burn:  40-60 degrees;  4/11/14  check

Wind: between 5-10 mph and steady:  check

Notify Fire Department  dispatch:  check

Notify Fire Department Battalion Chief  check

This all has to take place before the plants in the garden come up. check

Wear jeans, leather boots, natural fabrics only–no synthetics.

Go outside, turn on hose, get out metal leaf rakes to control fire.

Go outside to wait for Glenn.  check

Glenn didn’t show up.

So I burned two of the beds–it’s not that difficult–but I was not able to cut away the grasses that grow next to the tree or next to the entrance in order to burn those beds.   My daughter-in-law, Tami, came to the rescue in the afternoon and cut down the grasses for me.

All’s well that ends well.

front yard burn


tree in burned  parkway

One can’t burn next to a tree; Tami cut down the last year’s Penn Sedge and Wild Geranium and I soaked it and the tree with water from the hose, so it would not burn.

april snow on corner

April 14, 2014  What happened to Spring?


April snow trellis

April 14, 2014  The back yard savanna garden has not been cut down or burned.

Frozen birdbath

Frozen bird bath.

Frozen rain chain

April 14, 2014  Frozen rain chain. Appropriate if it were winter, but this is supposed to be spring!

red trillium april April 16, 2014  Red Trillium (Trillium recurvatum} is our most common trillium.  Because it is common doesn’t make it any less beautiful or welcome.  The showy mottled leaves, which popped up last Saturday, April 12, make a statement all season. It grows in my shady patio garden along with Early Meadowrue, Wild Ginger, Virginia Waterleaf, and Bloodroot.  It also grows in a few places in my savanna gardens–not planted by me.   In nature, it is found in oak savannas and other woodlands.  (The plain green leaf in the middle of the photo is Trillium grandiflorum, the only one left from a group of them I planted in that area.   These two trillium are found together in nature, so I will add more Large White Trillium to the picture this spring.

What will tomorrow bring–or next week?


The sun was warm, but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much dare to speak,

A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,

A wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

Robert Frost

Two Tramps in Mud  Time





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7 Responses to April Activities

  1. sharon cross April 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    The only constant about Chicago weather is that it changes. And I LOVE it!

    • Pat Hill April 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      So do I, Sharon.

  2. sue harney April 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    The joys of burning. I’m so glad spring seems to finally be here. I can’t wait for the new flowers. We burned at Jelke a few weeks ago and it’s already starting to green up.

  3. Barb Glassel April 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Such an appropriate poem for our vacillating spring. Truly admire your descriptive checklist and photos. Thanks!

  4. Jason April 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Sounds like a lot of work. How often do you need to do this?

    That poem is very on point. I was out in the garden today and thought, how is it possible there was snow on the ground 48 hours ago?

    • Pat Hill April 18, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      I conduct a controlled burn every spring, Jason. I t is tiring, but I don’t have to water, fertilize, herbicide, or weed my gardens and they bloom spectacularly all spring, summer, and fall.

  5. Pat Sullivan-Schroyer April 18, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    “Where there is a will, there is a way!” I am so impressed that a burn can be done in the city AND you do it! Thank you for spelling out the steps and the time frame—both very helpful.

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