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Prairie Grasses in Late Fall

Prairie Grasses By December, the flowers of herbaceous plants have all faded and the leaves of woody plants have fallen.  But the landscape is not barren: some may think this is the most beautiful time of year.  Why is that?  Prairie grasses come into prominence, creating stunning pictures. Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is one of […]

This Weekend in My Back Yard

This Weekend in my Back Yard   Golden-leaved Wild Grape (Vitis riparia) crawls along my neighbor’s clothes line contrasting beautifully with the scarlet leaves of my Hazelnut.  One never plants Wild Grape–it just shows up, planted by birds,   American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) is the most spectacular autumn shrub we have in the Midwest. Its […]

Where is Jack Frost?

Where is Jack Frost? He is late–in previous years, he always came around 8 October, my mother-in-law’s birthday. Actually, it’s not Jack Frost that causes leaves to turn color. What causes leaves to turn color in the fall?   Shorter day lengths and cooler temperatures trigger the leaves to discontinue the production of chlorophyll, allowing […]

Farewell, Indian Summer

Farewell Indian Summer   SONGWRITERS WILLIAMS, HARRY/HICKMAN, A Does anyone remember that song? Here’s the rendition by Glenn Miller; there is also one by Frank Sinatra. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa_faILW6MQ Obviously dating me. In this song, Indian Summer was a metaphor for a romance that had begun in June and had faded by Indian Summer. What really is […]

PAWPAW, SPIKENARD, SPICEBUSH, and WITCH HAZEL, OH MY

PAWPAW, SPIKENARD, SPICEBUSH, and WITCH HAZEL October Golden-leaved Plant Community  A group of unusual plants  grows along the south end of the  savanna in Potawatomi Park that is located between the  parkbuilding and the Fox River.  Shaded by a gigantic Linden or Basswood (Tilia americana) tree, the low ground never completely dries out. Paw Paw […]

Fiery Fall Foliage

Fiery Fall Foliage Let’s Plant Red-leaved Native Shrubs instead of the Invasive Burning Bush In the late 50’s-60’s, Compact Burning Bush (Euonymous alatus compactus) was introduced to the landscape industry and was soon installed on the corner of every newly built ranch house in the Northeast and Midwest, including ours.   While it does have […]

My Red Oak

My Red Oak When I moved into my Sears Bungalow in the fall of 1997, my grandchildren, who, at that time, all lived in new sub-divisions with newly planted trees, referred to my neighborhood as the Neighborhood of Big Trees, which, indeed, it was.  Settled in the late 20’s, as houses went up, street trees […]

This Week in my Garden

This week in my garden Asters are still the stars in the autumn garden–this is New England Aster-formerly known as Aster novae-angliae and is now Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.  The most colorful and best known of the species asters, its intense purple flowers bloom from early September until the end of October.  Growing 3-4’ tall, in the […]

For Everything There is a Season

For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes  3:1 This is a pictorial record of  my prairie gardens at the corner of my front  and side yard, overlooking the intersection.  Spring is coming, and so is Summer, Autumn, and then Winter again, each with its own weather, […]

The Big Show Has Ended, but Some Color Lingers On

The big show has almost ended, but some colorful leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers linger  on. Part 1 Herbaceous plants and grasses. The clusters of lavender-blue daisy flowers of Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis) are still in bloom.  It grows 2-4′ tall, blooming from September through early November. The Heath Aster (Aster ericoides), so-called because its […]