Trying Something New

I’m trying something new this year: Bush’s Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe bushii). This is a close relative of Wine Cups (C. involucrata), in fact it used to be considered a variety of that species. My understanding is that Wine Cups will spread out… Read More

A single Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) goes a long way. It’s a big plant – ours grows about 5 feet tall with a 4 foot spread. It’s a perennial but looks more like a small shrub. But if you have the space in… Read More

Thanks a Million

A few days ago the Chicago Tribune ran a story about how 14,000 Chicago gardens had been registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, contributing to the total of 1,040,000 gardens registered since 2015 when the challenge was launched. Actually, the press… Read More

Which Native Milkweeds Are Best For Monarch Butterflies?

Monarch Butterflies need Milkweeds (Asclepias sp.), right? Because Monarchs lay their eggs on Milkweeds and only Milkweeds. But when it comes to attracting and supporting Monarchs, are some Milkweeds better than others?

Hummingbird Wars

A few days ago there was a short but eye-opening New York Times article concerning recent research on hummingbirds.  The research indicates that Hummingbird beaks evolved primarily for fighting, not for feeding.

Good News on Monarch Butterflies, But Don’t Get Too Excited

So the good news is that there are a lot more Monarch butterflies roosting in Mexico this winter than there were a year ago. Monarch populations are measured by the size of overwintering colonies in the mountain forests of Michoacan. This year,… Read More

Some 2018 Garden Highlights: Summer Breeze

Today is New Year’s Day. While a patchy blanket of snow lies on the ground outside, it seems a good moment to look through some favorite photos of our garden in summer.

Crabapple Surprise

I’ve been disgruntled lately about the garden’s lack of fall ornamental fruits. This year in particular has been almost entirely fruitless. Then suddenly our ‘Golden Raindrops’ Crabapple dropped its bright yellow leaves, and – boom! Clusters of bright yellow fruits emerged, no… Read More

Gardening for Native Bees: Interview with Heather Holm

A couple of months ago I heard Heather Holm speak on gardening for native bees at a forum organized by the Lurie Garden. Heather is an award-winning author and widely-recognized advocate and educator for native bee conservation. Educated in Canada, she currently… Read More

Almost Fruitless

I keep trying and failing to have lots of autumn berries in the garden. Berries are good to have, in theory, because they attract birds and provide ornamental interest in fall and winter.