A Back Garden Update With (Mostly) Natives for Summer Shade

And this is what the Back Garden looks like in mid-July.

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The Back Garden sits under the shade of Silver Maples and Siberian Elms, not everyone’s favorite trees, I know. But they give a high, dappled shade that I appreciate.

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What’s New In The Front Garden?

Changes in the garden accelerate as we reach mid-summer. Every few days seems to bring something new. Let’s take an overview of the state of the Front Garden.

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Birds, Butterflies, and Bison at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

An hour’s drive southwest of Chicago is an 18,000-acre prairie preserve called Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (pronounced Mi-DAY-win). The preserve was created mostly out of lands that had belonged to the now-closed Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. Today the land is part of the U.S. Forest Service and is operated in partnership with the The Nature Conservancy and other groups. There is a large volunteer organization called the Midewin Alliance.

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Monarch Caterpillars!

We believe strongly in doing our bit to help the Monarch butterfly, whose migrating population has declined about 90% in recent decades (you can read more about saving the Monarchs here). And so we have lots of Milkweed (Asclepias spp.), which is the only genus of host plants for Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars.

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Monarch Caterpillars on Butterflyweed.

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It’s Clematis Time!

We got back from Michigan on Saturday, and I like to think that our various Clematis varieties had put on a show to welcome us home.

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Clematis ‘Jackamanii’

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Baby House Wrens!

We’re home! Judy and I got home just last night from the Upper Peninsula. There are a lot of developments in the garden, almost all positive, which I’ll get to soon. However, we’ve spent much of today doting over the baby House Wrens in the yellow birdhouse right outside our back porch.

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Baby House Wren waiting for a home-delivered nosh.

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On The Shores of Lake Superior

Our cabin is just a few yards from the Lake Superior shoreline.

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Greetings From The North Woods

I’m writing from a cabin on the shores of Lake Superior, in a remote spot near Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We’ll be here for the remainder of the week.

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This farmhouse was close to halfway between Chicago and St. Paul, so we rented it for our weekend family gathering before heading north.

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Blue Days In The Garden

June is a month for blue flowers. High summer is a time for reds, oranges, and (especially) yellows. But the transition to summer is a quieter time, notable for blues and whites. Let’s look at some of the blue flowers currently blooming, then shift to something completely different.

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The Lurie Garden in June (2018)

In late May and June the River of Salvia flows through the Lurie Garden. I visited Lurie with camera in hand on the 14th and 15th of this month. There were patches of the river that were done blooming, showing only bare flower stalks.

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