Study Gives Reason To Bee Hopeful

A new study demonstrates that prairie restoration brings back the bees, both in numbers and species diversity. Here’s an article about it from the website of the Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, the study itself is behind a pay wall, but you can read the article here.

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The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

I’ve lived practically next door to the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary ever since we moved back to Chicago 14 years ago. In fact, I’ve driven right past it on most days for all those years. And yet, last week was the first time I actually went there.

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The Lurie Garden in August

So yesterday Judy and I went to the Lurie Garden to see how things were progressing.

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Illinois is Milkweed Country

I’m proud to say that my state just adopted Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) as its official wildflower (the official state flower is the Violet).

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Monarch on Rose Milkweed

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Hey Joe (Pye Weed)

August brings not just the Susans, but also Joe – as in Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium). Note that Joe Pye Weeds used to be Eupatoriums, but now thanks to the ever-busy taxonomists they are Eutrochiums. This is arguably an improvement since Eutrochium is one syllable shorter. (I’ve written my Senator demanding passage of a bill barring taxonomists from introducing new genus names with more syllables than the old ones. I should hear back any day now, though I can’t imagine what’s taking so long.)

Of course, Eutrochium has that belligerent hard C, while Eupatorium has a gentler sound to it. So I don’t know.

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The Susans Are Here!

The Susans always make their presence known in August. There’s Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida), also known as Orange Coneflower. And then there’s Brown-Eyed Susan (R. triloba), which I like to think of as R. fulgida’s big sister.

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Black-Eyed Susan

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An Information Superhighway for Plants

So let me tell you about another website I just discovered that is of interest to the botanically-minded. It’s called Soils Matter, and it’s sponsored by the Soil Science Society of America. These are folks devoted to educating the public about the importance of sustainable soil practices.  They also have a website, www.soils.org.

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Blighted Impatiens, Dead Wheelbarrows, and Partridge Peas

So here is a bit of garden miscellany for today. Those of you who grumble that I never show the seamy underside of my garden should appreciate this post.

First off, I have been blithely ignoring the Heartbreak of Impatiens Blight ever since news of this scourge spread to these parts. And for years, everything was fine. I thought the Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) and I could lead a charmed life, safe from the devastation around us.

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Impatiens in a window box: After the blight.

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Light in August

The light changes in August, and so does the feel of the garden. The days have begun to shorten and the sun is lower in the sky. The light still brings heat, but there is a softening, especially in late afternoon.

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If You Plant Just One Annual for Pollinators …

Pollinators love Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). DSC_0101

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