Archive | Natural World

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I’m Back!

I’m back! My book Design Your Natural Midwest Garden sold out this Spring and the publisher, unfortunately, has declared bankruptcy.  I have no more books to sell but there are still copies available at Amazon. I haven’t just been lolling around all summer, eating bon-bons–I have been working on my new book.  The working title […]

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pin oak

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 […]

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wild-grape-on-clothes-line

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 […]

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pussy willow 2016 blog

Spring Begins

MARCH Spring Begins March is the drabbest month of the year in the Midwest.  The snow has melted revealing vast expanses of brown grass and a winter’s accumulation of trash that’s been hidden beneath its white blanket.  March is completely unpredictable—warm and sunny in the 50’s or even 70’s one day, cold and raw the […]

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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 […]

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golden solomon's seal

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 […]

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