A Shady Garden in August

So let’s take a look at the Back Garden in mid-August. Summer is a quiet time in a shade garden, but there are still a few things worth noting.

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This Year’s Summer Containers for Sun

This has been a pretty good summer, if not a great one, for our flowering containers in the sunny front garden. I feel like we’ve developed a style and a palette of plants we can keep going back to. At the same time, there are always lessons to learn – particularly those taught by stretches of very hot, dry weather.

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A New Wren Family in the Birdhouse

So we have more wren babies in one of our birdhouses, this time the blue one near the west hedge of the Back Garden. Earlier today Judy was watching and taking pictures as the parents frantically tried to keep the nestlings fed.

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“I’m WAITING …”

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Random Notes From The Front Garden

Aside from the Jolly Yellow Giants, there are a few other goings on in the Front Garden.

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The Jolly Yellow Giants

Some say that Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum), or any perennial that can top 10 feet in height, is unsuitable for a small suburban garden. I disagree.

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Cup Plant with Wild Bergamot and a bit of Ironweed in the foreground.

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A Summer Picnic for Pollinators

There was a lot of buzzing in the garden the other day, buzzing and fluttering. So I decided I would do a little pollinator post. Judy was out of town, though, so these pics are not be up to her usual quality.

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Most of the Butterflyweed is done flowering, but there’s still a bit here and there, plus there’s lots of Swamp Milkweed.

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Prairie in the City: West Ridge Nature Preserve

On Sunday, Judy and I met our son Daniel for lunch. Afterwards, we crossed the street to visit the 24-acre West Ridge Nature Preserve. Judy and I had been here in February last year, but there wasn’t much plant life to observe at the time. This was a chance to see what was going on mid-summer.

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Entrance to the West Ridge Nature Preserve on Western Avenue

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Our First Home Grown Monarch Butterflies

So Judy and I just raised our first Monarch butterflies to adulthood. We were nervous about trying, but then we read that only about 5% of Monarch caterpillars in the wild make it to adulthood. We figured we could do better than that.

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Prairie in the Garden: Mettawa Manor Part II

Let’s continue our visit to Mettawa Manor, the garden of Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra. For me, the highlight of the trip was wandering through their 20-acre Tall Grass Prairie.

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Return to Mettawa Manor, Part I

Today Judy and I visited Mettawa Manor, the garden of Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, as part of the Garden Conservancy‘s Open Gardens Day. This was our second visit, as we had been there in early June for an event organized by the Lurie Garden. You can read about that first visit here.

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