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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 […]

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 […]

Jens Jensen Council Ring–A Memorial

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon. A surprisingly large group of Elgin High School’s Class of 1959 gathered under a Shagbark Hickory tree at the edge of a savanna on the grounds of the high school.  They were there to dedicate a memorial to their class sponsor and former Biology teacher, Gus Stuart. The memorial […]

More Winter Interest:Persistant Leaves

  More Winter Interest Persistent Leaves Some deciduous trees (mostly oaks) hang on to their brown crackly leaves all winter, not dropping them until spring. 12/27/2010  Lord’s Park Lagoon.   White Oak (Quercus alba) hangs unto its leaves through the winter when it is young, but as it ages, the leaves fall off in autumn. […]

Save Our Savannas

Which is worse? This?  Buckthorn-choked savanna? Or this? A lawn grown under the oak trees, mowed, fertilized, and watered on a regular basis. Well, this one certainly looks better, carefully kept, all neat and tidy. I hope you already know the answer.  Actually, they are both terrible.  Both sites guarantee the demise of our oak […]

Fiery Fall Foliage

Fiery Fall Foliage First Week in November The Chicago area landscape was formed by ice.  As the Wisconsin glacier receded about 13,000 years ago, it deposited glacial till it had collected when it moved forward—boulders, stones, gravel, sand, and clay particles—and built overlapping moraines.  The material dropped out unevenly thereby creating rolling hills, ridges, and […]

Late Spring Savanna-3

Late Spring Savanna  While the prairie is just barely waking up, savannas have been blooming since late March–early April.    A member of Northern Kane County Wild Ones invited our group last week to see her amazing savanna just west of Elgin. From Brenda: My property is a rolling 6 acre Oak savanna.  It primarily […]