About

Adrian Ayres Fisher


Gardening and the outdoors have always been important to me. Years ago, several life-altering events, coupled with my Quaker beliefs and concern for the environment led me towards an earthcare-centered life that includes learning about and practicing ecological, or regeerative gardening.

Professionally, I am a sustainability coordinator at a community college, where I also serve on the green committee. The opinions expressed here are in no way meant to represent those of my employer.


In the past, I have trained and volunteered as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and worked at an independent garden center as a native plant buyer and gardening coach. I am a long time volunteer and apprentice steward at Thatcher Woods Savanna and Adena Woods in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and grow plants for the Native Seed Gardeners program.  I am also a member of the Environmental Concerns Committee, Illinois Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers). Occasionally I give talks that grow out of this blog's content, most recently about native bees and hedgerows.

My garden:
My home is a 35x150-foot urban lot in an old neighborhood built at the turn of the twentieth century on a prairie in the Chicago Lake Plain. The soil is black silt loam. The garden is mostly in the backyard. What started as grass with narrow borders of annuals along the fences has evolved into a bird and pollinator-friendly polyculture of mostly native species of shrubs, flowers and grasses, along with herbs, rhubarb and raspberries, and a small raised bed for vegetables, all surrounding a small polyculture lawn. Like most gardeners, I am always experimenting with new plants. The garden functions as a kind of lab and its aesthetic appeal arises out of its ecological functionality rather than adherence to principles of visual design.

Ongoing collaborative projects:
Prairie Garden, with students and faculty
  • We started this project in 2009 by seeding into sod. We also propagated native plants from collected seed and plugged them in during Spring 2010. Maintenance is ongoing.
Landscape planning and maintenance, Friends Illinois Yearly Meeting/Clear Creek Meeting property, McNabb, Illinois
  • This project involves a twelve-acre property in central Illinois corn/soy country which is being made more sustainable. There is a restored pocket prairie and remnant hedgerows. We have planted many native trees and plan to restore the hedgerows with native berry and nut-bearing species.
Talks and Workshops:
From time to time I give talks about garden-related subjects. Topics have included "Your Garden Is an Ecosystem," "Ecological Gardening," "Reconciliation Ecology," "Organic Rose Care," and "The Polyculture Lawn."

2015
Do Three Shrubs Make a Hedgerow? Reflections on Hedgerow Structure and Usefulness in Several Contexts: as part of the symposium Life Along the Edges – A discussion of the value of field margins, hedgerows, and buffers in the modern landscape.

March 27, Society for Ecological Restoration - Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter Annual Meeting, Chicago Botanic Garden

Native Bees in the Garden
January 31, Chicago Wilderness Wild Things Conference, UIC

2014
Native Bees in the Garden,
August 17, sponsored by West Cook Wild Ones, Dominican University, River Forest

2011
The Polyculture Lawn, Oak Park Art League

2010
Oak Park Friends Meeting, Oak Park
Washington Park Conservancy, Chicago
Triton Community Horticulture Club, River Grove
Friends MCGM Meeting, Oak Park
Proksa Park Garden Club, Berwyn

2009
Friends Illinois Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions, McNabb
Trailside Museum, River Forest

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