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bluestemmed goldenrod next to back door

Monday Melange–Who Needs Chrysanthemums?

Monday Melange Who Needs Chrysanthemums? Serendipity. I didn’t design this, but isn’t it a stunning combination?  Heath Aster (Aster ericoides) and Butterfly Weed seedpods (Asclepias tuberosa) show off against a backdrop of the huge magnificent leaves of Prairie Dock (Silphium  terebinthinaceum).  Prairie Dock bears yellow daisy flowers at the top of 10’ stems in July, […]

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rose trellis bird bath


Trailing against the house and also along the path are prairie roses, inviting when in bloom, but equqlly inviting in winter when they brighten up the path with their gay colored berries.  Jens Jensen Siftings   The Illinois Rose, also called Prairie Rose or Michigan Rose (Rosa setigera),  is the latest blooming and the showiest […]

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snow side yard 2013


The Snow-Storm Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end. The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet Delayed, all friends shut out, […]

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smooth blue aster in prairie

Astounding Asters

Astounding Asters  I have way too many asters—Smooth Blue, New England, Aromatic, and Heath in my prairie gardens and Short’s and Side-flowering in my savanna gardens—that is, until September.  Now I’m emerged in joyful aster exuberance, exultation, abundance, generosity, verdancy, lushness, luxuriating in asters, intoxicated with asters…well. look for yourselves:   I’ve been so busy […]

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Shap border

Garden Walk Report

GARDEN WALK  REPORT He who plants a garden, plants happiness. Chinese Proverb   The day was perfect–part sun, not too hot.   The Butterfly Weed was still in bloom, joined by Prairie Coreopsis and Wild Quinine, mentioned last week. The Purple Prairie Clover, also mentioned last week, was a big hit.   Visitors were fascinated […]

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Red Oak BFP

Fiery Fall Foliage

“I planted white acorns…  The white oak is the noblest tree in Illinois.  It will live to be a thousand years old on soil best fitted for it.” Jens Jensen Kames and Kettles Fiery Fall Foliage First Week in November The Chicago area landscape was formed by ice.  As the Wisconsin glacier receded about 13,000 […]

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Showy Tick Trefoil

Two Splendid Summer Shrubs

Several years ago, in July, 1999, I saw two extraordinarily beautiful native shrubs in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden that I had never seen before. They are in bloom now–what would you guess? Maybe you have never heard of them before either.   The first is  Prairie or Illinois Rose (Rosa setigera) .   […]

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