Many people think of Goldenrod as a plant that lives in sunny fields and flowers in wands or plumes at the top of tall stems. There are a number of Goldenrods that do not fit this description, however.

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Oh, Shenandoah

This is the time of year when the ‘Shenandoah’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) really starts to shine. The leaves take on more burgundy color and the airy flower panicles take on a purplish hue.

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Free Compost For Chicago-area Gardeners

Did you know that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is giving away high-quality compost? Maybe you did, but I sure didn’t. The compost is made from wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, and biosolids derived from water reclamation.

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This past Saturday, Judy and I picked up Beckee and Daniel to go see the trolls at the Morton Arboretum. The trolls, up to 30′ tall, are creations of the Danish artist Thomas Dambo.

However, when we got off at our exit, we discovered a long line of cars stretching down the road waiting to get in. We sat in the line for 15 minutes or so, then decided that the trolls would have to wait for another day.

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An impressively large patch of Blue Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) outside the visitor center.

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The most interesting plants in the Herb Garden right now are the Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) and the ‘Italian White’ Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

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Doubling Down on Tall Plants

In addition to the bulbs, I’ve ordered some new perennials for fall planting. Most of these are for the Front Island Bed. This bed is an irregular oval wedged between the rectangular Driveway and Sidewalk Borders, all three divided by grassy paths.

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The Front Garden at the beginning of August. The Island Bed is pretty much invisible except for the Cup Plant and Sweet Joe Pye Weed in the back. Otherwise the Island Bed is hidden by the Driveway Border to the right and the Sidewalk Border to the left (with the Bee Balm). 

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We seem to have begun the transition from summer to fall, which seems like a good time to take another look at the shady Back Garden.

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The garden’s butterfly population seems to be reaching its peak, especially with the migrating monarchs. I can’t leave or return home without wanting to grab the camera, or at the very least lose myself in watching these magical creatures. A couple of these photos have already been posted on Instagram so I’m sorry if this is repetitious for some of you.

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There are so many fruits on our  ‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple that the branches are bending under the weight.

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That’s Where the Tall Plants Grow

I have a lot of admiration for writer and landscape designer Benjamin Vogt. His blog, newsletter, and other writings make very useful reading for anyone interested in the intersection between gardening and ecology.

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Our front garden: 8/2015

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