Author Archive | PatHill

House with Snow

Celebrate Winter

The night is freezing fast, Tomorrow comes December; K. E. Housman Celebrate Winter The final leaves of autumn have fallen and while winter does not officially begin until December 21, everyone knows that winter begins the day after Thanksgiving. But instead of turning our backs on winter, hoping only that it will be short, let’s […]

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Illinois Rose Fall Foliage

November Flowers-The Last Hurrah

November flowers–is that a misprint? No it’s not. The little known Common Witch Hazel blooms in, yes, November, and it will continue into December! Not sparsely, either–every branch is covered with the fragrant, yellow, spidery blossoms. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) grows 10-20′ tall in a wide flat-topped vase shape. Its smooth gray-brown crooked branches give […]

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Prairie Alum Root


November always seemed to me the Norway of the year. Emily Dickenson We’re back to Standard Time and the sky begins to darken by 4:00 pm. The leaves are almost all down or else have turned crisp and brown. We were blessed ;ast week with a warm Indian Summer, but that has left us. But […]

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Gray Dogwood

Walk in the Woods

The Chicago area landscape was formed by ice.  As the Wisconsin glacier receded about 13,000 years ago, it deposited glacial till it had collected when it moved forward—boulders, stones, gravel, sand, and clay particles—and built overlapping moraines.  The material dropped out unevenly thereby creating rolling hills, ridges, and kames.  Where huge blocks of ice broke […]

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“Asters are without honour in their own country” said Louise Wilder Beebe. Known as “Michaelmas Daisies” because they bloom around SSt. Michaelmas Day on September 29, asters are held in high esteem by English and other European gardeners, while we in the United States disdain them as common weeds. they have to compete with the […]

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Prairie Dropseed

If you want to start a prairie garden, I recommend that you first plant Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis). If you have a perennial garden, place Prairie Dropseed between the plants. It grows in whorled, arching mound, 2-3′ tall and around. In late July-early August, delicate, fragrant, airy panicles of flowers begin to emerge on stiff […]

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My House in Autumn

Fall may seem an odd time to begin a blog about gardening, but fall is in many ways the best time to start or renew a garden. The soil is mellow, the weather is temperate, and in autumn plants put all their energy into root growth rather than top growth as they do in spring. […]

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