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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 […]

Mystery Oak Trees

Mystery Oak Trees There are three mature oaks from the Red Oak group growing on the parkway of Gertrude Street a couple of blocks from my house.  Tall and full-grown, they retained some of their leaves throughout the winter.  I could tell they weren’t Red Oak (Quercus rubra) or Black Oak (Q. velutina) and assumed […]

Thanksgiving 2016

This was the 2014 Thanksgiving essay.  I have more to add this year: Kane County Forest Preserve of Illinois invited Kent Nerburn, author of several books about American Indians, to speak at a program earlier in November.   Several people from Northern Kane County Wild Ones and/or Ruthless Readers, our Environmental Book Club, attended. Three […]

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 […]

Our Only World

I went to Book Club last Friday night. So–”why should we care? “ you say. It is an Environmental Book Club and I encourage all of you to begin or join one. Invite like-minded friends to create one in your area–there is no end of books to read concerning the environment. Ours  takes place on […]

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 […]

A New Way of Gardening

Traditionally, the way plants were organized in parks and gardens reflected a culture that liked to order and discipline nature.  Contemporary planting design is not only freer, but also seeks to reflect nature.  It also addresses our concerns about how we garden sustainably and in partnership with nature.  Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury Planting: A […]

Jens Jensen, Prairie Spirit, Artist, Conservationist, Ecologist, and Teacher

To try to force plants to grow in soil or climate unfitted for them and against nature’s methods will, sooner or later, spell ruin.  Besides, such a method tends to make the world commonplace and to destroy the ability to unfold an interesting and beautiful landscape out of home environments.  Life is made rich and […]

Monica Buckley’s Interview with Jerry Wilhelm

Monica Buckley, who lives in Chicago, contacted me a few years ago and told me she wanted to quit her current job and do what I do.    I encouraged her and hooray–she has launched her business and her website.  This is her first blog, a compelling interview with Jerry Wilhelm, co-author of Plants of the […]

Yearly Essay on Buckthorn

Yearly Essay on Buckthorn  …on the fertile Corn Belt soils, all our oaks are headed for oblivion, except where ecological restoration or other intentional management protects them .Stephen Packard “Interseeding” The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook Edited by Stephen Packard  and Cornelia F. Mutel   Which situation is worse?  Top or bottom photo? Actually, they are both […]