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Signs of Early Spring

Signs of Early Spring Winter Aconite (Eranthus hymelis) is in full bloom.  It is native to Europe, but it came along to this garden via a Red Trillium I transplanted from my old garden.  A member of the buttercup family, its golden cups are the earliest perennial to bloom in our area, sometimes as early […]

Purple Coneflower is the Most Popular Perennial in America

Click on photos to enlarge. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is the Most Popular Perennial in America. It s a familiar, old-fashioned flower that has been a staple in Midwestern gardens since settlement days.  We had a few in my childhood garden on Lovell St., but my recollection is that they were called Rudbeckias. A bold, […]

Why Plant Native Plants?

WHY PLANT NATIVE PLANTS?   Native Midwestern plants are sustainable.  They are well-suited to the climate and soil conditions of the area where they are found naturally–they are grown successfully with little effort.  They are adapted to extreme temperatures, blustery winds, and intense sunlight.   They are drought-resistant–once established, after 2-3 years, they need no […]

If I Had to Do It Over Again

If I had it to do over again: I was a pioneer in 1998 when I began to plant my prairie gardens in my small- 50’ x 120’- city corner  lot,.  My gardens are mostly all  linear , arranged  on both sides of the public sidewalks, along the edge and side of my back yard […]

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 […]

SWAN NEIGHBORHOOD VEGETATED SWALE UPDATE

Swan Neighborhood Vegetated Swale Update This is a photo taken by Management Analyst and Sustainability Grant Coordinator Aaron Cosentino of a recent rainstorm where you can clearly see the rainwater entering into the Vegetated Swale. The Vegetated Swales in my neighborhood are doing what they were designed to do: direct and infiltrate the rain water […]

One Dazzling Butterfly and Two Splendid Asters

One Dazzling Butterfly and Two Splendid Asters. It was chilly in my studio/office in the northeast corner of my house one day last week, so I set up my computer in my screened-in porch (facing southwest), where it was comfortably warmer.   It wasn’t long before I noticed butterfly activity on the New England Aster right […]

Where Have all the Butterflies Gone? Part II

Where Have all the Butterflies Gone?  Part II On July 29, I asked where have all the butterflies gone?  I received 12 replies and everyone said the same thing–no one had seen many butterflies and monarchs least of all. Then I received this photo via Facebook from Minnesota, so there’s our answer–all the monarchs are  […]

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BUTTERFLIES GONE

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BUTTERFLIES GONE? That’s the question that’s been going around the web blogasphere within the past week–I’ve received two of them. This magnificent Black Swallowtail visited my garden yesterday afternoon. This beautiful creature has been visiting my garden for a few days now, but I can’t ID it.  Is it a butterfly […]

MORE NATIVE MILKWEED

MORE NATIVE MILKWEED   All members of the genus  Asclepias are appealing to Monarch butterflies and caterpillars. Nine species grow in Kane County but only four are available at local nurseries. I’m going to show you six more today.   Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is, by far, the best butterfly attractant.   The dense, domed, […]