Chicago Botanic Garden’s Dixon Prairie

Here’s another post about a summer visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden. This time I want to write about Dixon Prairie, one of the less visited parts of CBG.

Dixon Prairie is a 15 acre restored prairie with six different ecological communities, from wet to dry, black earth to sand and gravel. In addition to the grasslands, there is burr oak savannah, wetlands, and lagoons. Wildlife – insect, bird, mammal –  is numerous and diverse.

We were there in July, when the wildflowers seemed to be at their peak. Fortunately, Judy brought her camera.

Blue Heron in the lagoon along the prairie. CBG is working to improve shoreline erosion.
Blue Heron in the lagoon along the prairie. CBG is working to improve shoreline erosion.
Heron in flight.
Heron in flight.
Doe in the grasses.
Doe in the grasses.
2009-07-19 13.55.13
Purple Martin House.
Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

If you live in the Chicago area, go see the Dixon Prairie! Do you have a favorite local prairie, meadow, or “wild” garden?

Before concluding, I want to respond to the questions asked by Nadezda at Nadezda’s Northern Garden.

My favorite Christmas flower: Amaryllis.

Christmas preparation I never miss: Buying gifts.

What is the scent of Christmas: Judy’s baking.

Favorite Christmas song: Dropkick Murphys’ Christmas Song (with thanks to my friend Joanna).

30 Comments on “Chicago Botanic Garden’s Dixon Prairie”

  1. Dixon Prairie looks wonderful. I love the way you captured the common milkweed in the half bloomed state..beautfiful!
    The Dropkick Murphy song is too good! LOL As a Bostonian, I’ve been a fan of theirs for years. The video for The Season’s Upon Us is riotously funny. Google it if you haven’t seen it yet!

  2. Tell Judy, good captures. Deer and heron usually do not stand and pose. I am always happy to see botanic gardens have these wild outdoor spaces. Most don’t have the space, but is great when they do. Ours does have some wild areas and I have seen deer. The pond is small and has many varieties of ducks. We have a nature preserve in our area that really is a wonderful place to take the family for a day of nature. It is great Chicago has a place like this with spaces of biodiversity.

  3. Prairies and wild meadows as part of a garden amaze me. I always wonder how much time and effort it takes to make them look beautiful. My really and truly wild meadow is nothing but weeds, with just a very few flowers at certain times. So, I know this must be an amazing accomplishment as well as an amazing place to see.

    • Are you trying for an actual prairie or meadow, or just a border with a mix of flowers and grasses? Have you seen the guides to planting a prairie on the website of Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin? From what I’ve heard, the big challenge is to keep the weeds down while your prairie species are becoming established.

  4. What a beautiful spot, you got some great photos to remember it by. I love prairie style gardens and natural meadows. We have left the back section of our property go wild (we’re rural) and I’ve never regretted it one second. Nothing I like better now than to see the grass swaying and birds flitting through picking seeds.

  5. Seeing this made me long for spring and summer! 🙂 I don’t love living on the Prairies in the winter (it’s way too cold and there are no trees to keep out the biting winds!) but there is nothing to match the beauty of the wildflowers and the grasses during the rest of the year. The CBG did an amazing job of Dixon Prairie. The photos are fantastic.

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