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Laurie Otto, Prairie Queen

Lorrie Otto, Prairie Queen At our last Northern Kane County Wild Ones meeting last month, Bret Rappaport presented a program on Lorrie Otto. Who is Lorrie Otto? She’s the inspiration for Wild Ones, widely acknowledged as the heart and soul of the natural  landscaping movement. by Carol Chew, Mandy Ploch, and Bret Rappapport After graduating […]

Wild Petunia

 Wild Petunia  Wild Petunia does two things especially well.  Brand new cheerful, lavender-blue flared trumpets of Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis) greet the dawn every morning in July and August.  The blossoms do indeed resemble the annual petunias with which we are all familiar, but our native petunias are smaller and not as flared.   In […]

Calico Lawns 2015

Calico Lawns We must give up the idea that the ideal lawn should resemble Astroturf. Small flowering plants dotted throughout the lawn give it a look of tapestry and improve its health considerably. Until the 1960’s, White Clover (Trifolium repans) was considered an asset to lawns for its natural nitrogen attracting properties and for its […]

Let This Be the Year

For however democratic a lawn may be with respect to one’s neighbors, with respect to nature it is authoritarian.  Under the Toro’s brutal indiscriminate rotor, the landscape is subdued, homogenized, dominated utterly.  I became convinced that lawn care had about as much to do with gardening as floor waxing or road paving.  Gardening is a […]

Calico Lawns

Is this your idea of a beautiful landscape?  If so, you will really like the new Round-Up Ready turf that is about to go on the market.    This was just published in Garden Rant. http://gardenrant.com/2014/02/coming-soon-round-up-ready-turfgrass.html But calico lawns, sprinkled with wild flowers are so much more charming, why would anyone want a plain green […]

Should Leaf Blowers Be Banned?

Should Leaf Blowers be Banned?  For those of us who enjoy a walk around the neighborhood on a lovely fall weekend,  noisy leaf blowers with a multi-decibel whine can destroy tranquility, conversation, and ones hearing.   Birdsong,  rustling leaves,  and laughter are drowned out.  And noise isn’t the only pollution the leaf blower produces.  It also […]

Petunias on my Parkway 2002-2013

Petunias in my Parkway 2002–2013 This how it all started in Aug 2002.  Seeds of Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis) migrated from the garden  on the other side of the sidewalk into the lawn on the parkway, along with the seeds of a few Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var. sullivantii). Aug 2002 June 2005  The […]

LET’S KEEP OUR RAINWATER HERE, PART 2

LET’S KEEP OUR RAINWATER HERE Part 2 WHAT FALLS IN ELGIN SHOULD STAY IN ELGIN   When rain falls, two things can happen to it.  It can infiltrate the soil and become an asset to local life, or it can run off and become a liability to life downstream. James M. Patchett & Gerould S. […]

FALLEN LEAVES PART II

FALLEN  LEAVES PART II   A few weeks ago, a friend sent out an e-mail to a long list of people, asking what we could do to mitigate global warming in addition to the other things we had already done:  change our light bulbs, drive less, turn down the thermostat and the water heater, eat […]

Lawns

For however democratic a lawn may be with respect to one’s neighbors, with respect to nature it is authoritarian.  Under the Toro’s brutal indiscriminate rotor, the landscape is subdued, homogenized, dominated utterly.  I became convinced that lawn care had about as much to do with gardening as floor waxing or road paving.  Gardening is a […]