Posts By: Stephanie

Sprezzatura in the Fall Garden

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Fall clean up, Maintenance, Uncategorized.

Rembrandt, an Old Master who used earth tones to offset golden light, used a technique he termed sprezzatura, meaning apparent carelessness. In the spirit of artistic and environmental sensibilities, let us native gardeners unite under this term.  Allowing the gardens to stand during fall and winter, we might appear careless about the gardens, but instead… Read more »

Resources to Learn about Harvesting Milkweed Seeds

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Butterflies, Native Plants, Seeds.

Resources to Learn about Harvesting Milkweed Seeds This post provides links to articles that help us with learning about harvesting and sharing milkweed seeds. Many of the tips and tricks are applicable to other types of seeds.   If you’ve grown milkweed, your plant is probably developing pods.  Rose Milkweed (Ascelpias incarnata) might have already… Read more »

What’s in a Leaf Pile?

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Clean up, Fall clean up, Maintenance.

What’s in a Leaf Pile? Many beneficial (and beautiful) insect overwinter in our yards. For instance, the Katydid (important food source for birds during late summer) and Preying Mantis overwinter as eggs attached to twigs, stems, and/or leaves. Ladybugs and Lacewings also spend the winter in our gardens.  Native bees find winter homes in soil,… Read more »

Native Pollinator Garden Basics for the Chicago Region

Posted by & filed under Bees, Biodiversity, Native Plants, Pollinators.

Native pollinators take many forms, and all are very different from the European Honeybee, of which much has been studied and written.  Despite the many articles written about colony collapse, Honeybees will be just fine, and their issues are not ones of conservation, but instead are ones of domestic animal management. The animals we do… Read more »

Milkweed Cosmos

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity.

Milkweed cosmos: A colony of milkweed is almost its own world.  Most of us have planted milkweed to attract and support the Monarch butterfly, but eventually the other insects that are dependent on it find our milkweed patches.   On the one hand, these bugs are just doing what they’re supposed to be doing–living off… Read more »

Citizen Science Projects

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Community, Speakers.

Our June 25, 2017 program featuring Dr. Emily Minor (UIC Urban Ecologist) focused on the many citizen science projects available.  These are projects that include data/observations made by laypeople and can be used for research by scientists.     Citizen science may sound difficult, but it is really as easy as looking out your window… Read more »

Aphids: What to Do?

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Clean up, Maintenance.

  This post was written to address a question about aphids on milkweed.  Any of the steps would apply to aphids on any other type of plant, including edibles.  (Note the image at the top of the page is of a Lacewing adult, one of the beneficials that you want to attract and keep in your… Read more »

Rethinking Spring Clean-up

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Clean up, Spring clean up.

Hold your rake!  Clearing out your garden can backfire–you are removing the building blocks of soil and harming if not destroying beneficial insects that found a safe place in your garden during the winter.  You can learn more about some of these animals in this post: What’s in a Leaf Pile.   Read the below… Read more »