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A Light Dusting Of Snow

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 […]

Snow Catchers

During winter the winds come in crisp and invigorating from across the prairies.  At this season of the year the landscape assumes a dreary look to many who do not understand.  But to others, when the gray arms of the cottonwood are illuminated by the January sun and silhouetted against the blue sky, when sleeping […]

Robins are Back! Spring is here!

A robin! Robins are back!  Spring is here! Well, not exactly, even if we are going to have spring-like weather this coming week. We assume that all robins fly south in the fall, but some linger here all winter, particularly the males.  (They want to be the first ones here in the spring to claim […]

Christmas Card 2015

I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way, Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring.       Percy Bysshe Shelly Peace, Love, and Joy! Merry Christmas                        Pat Hill    

How Does One Learn About Native Plants?

How does one learn about native plants? Their names, their habitat?  How tall do they grow?  When do they bloom?In what kind of soil do they grow best–wet, medium, or dry?  Do they grow in Prairie, Savanna, or Wetland?  Do they like sun or shade? Pioneering prairie restoration made by St. Charles High School students […]

Prairie Grasses in Winter

During winter the winds come in crisp and invigorating from across the prairies.  At this season of the year the landscape assumes a dreary look to many who do not understand.  But to others, when the gray arms of the cottonwood are illuminated by the January sun and silhouetted against the blue sky, when sleeping […]

More Winter Interest:Persistant Leaves

  More Winter Interest Persistent Leaves Some deciduous trees (mostly oaks) hang on to their brown crackly leaves all winter, not dropping them until spring. 12/27/2010  Lord’s Park Lagoon.   White Oak (Quercus alba) hangs unto its leaves through the winter when it is young, but as it ages, the leaves fall off in autumn. […]

Snow Catchers

Snow Catchers  Snow transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Dull landscapes turn into breathtaking splendors and, trite though it sounds, into a winter wonderland.  Plant horizontally branched trees and shrubs to catch the snow and hold it aloft until it melts.  Bur and White Oaks with their burly outstretched arms do it best; their open […]

Merry Christmas

Christmas  Card 2014 O, Wind, if Winter comes, Can Spring be far behind? Percy Bysshe Shelly  God Bless us all, Everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Pat Hill

Build It and They Will Come

Build It and They Will Come Bees and Butterflies are Back, Baby  Bees and especially butterflies were scarce last year, but they have made a spectacular comeback this summer, at least in my gardens.  All the rain of early summer promoted robust growth of my prairie plants and the insects are deliriously happy. This is […]