Two Bur Oaks and a Crawdad

A group of swamp white oaks Healthy soil is important, but for whom?  In the Garden  The young bur oak would not be kept down. Yet again it revealed itself among the standing dead stalks of a large patch of purple bee balm, a good three feet tall and leafing out. In spring, a bur oak’s leaves look like sharp-edged, glossy cutouts. They are not green, but shade delicately among soft corals, tans and pinks. The green comes a bit later, like a slow-motion wave gently pervading each leathery leaf. The question, as it had been for several years, was what to do with this young newcomer to the garden.  About ten feet away and across the walk from house to garage stands a second bur oak that I’d started from an acorn some twelve years ago. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow its first sets of true leaves, become large enough to attract birds and then mature enough to bear acorns. This winter I limbed it up three feet from the ground, mainly to give the sedges and wild geraniums growing underneath a

Native Gardens through the Seasons: A Virtual Walk

In-person garden walks, as wonderful as they can be, only offer a "snapshot" of a garden on one day in a particular season, usually summer.  Missing are the daily and weekly changes that make up so much of a native plant garden's place-specific beauty.

The annual West Cook Wild Ones/Interfaith Green Network garden walk has traditionally been held in early August. When the pandemic forced cancellation, we decided to go virtual. This enabled three experienced native plant gardeners to show how our gardens grow and bloom over time, from the freshest spring ephemerals to the asters and goldenrods of early fall, and everything in between. I was thrilled to be on the same program as West Cook Wild Ones president Stephanie Walquist and board member Candace Blank.

This might be a perfect time to "visit" our gardens, while dreaming about spring and planning your own. You'll find it here.

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