Posts Categorized: Learning

Aphids: What to Do?

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  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 »

Standing for Science in Your Yard

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pollinators on flowers

West Cook Wild Ones loves science– scientists explain the world to us and impact many parts of our lives. One of these areas is our own yards or landscapes in which we we work or live.  Science is telling us that even if we are in an urban area, our yards are incredibly important, providing… Read more »

Indoor Seed Starting

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Indoor seed starting gives you a jump on the growing season. If you wintersowed your flats outside, and they’ve had enough time outside, you can simply bring them and start the germination process indoors.  Or, if you stratified your seeds in your fridge via a medium or paper towel method, you can then sow the… Read more »

2017 Gift Ideas for the Native Plant Gardener

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We thought we’d compile a handy list for the nature lover on your list. Don’t forget the possibility of a gift membership to West Cook Wild Ones. 🙂 Books: Mike MacDonald’s My Journey Into the Wilds of Chicago  Heather Holm: Bee Identification and Forage and Pollinators of Native Plants Charlotte Adelman and Bernard Schwarz’s new book… Read more »

Putting the Garden to Bed–Wild Ones Style

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Putting the Garden to Bed–Wild Ones Style The best time to get ready for next year is now.  1.Get rid of any invasives.  2.As you remove some of these plants, you might bring up hibernating insects like ladybugs and spiders. Tuck them back in the best you can, so they can do their good work… Read more »

Sprezzatura in the Fall Garden

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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

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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, Or Why Not to Do Fall Clean-up

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What’s in a Leaf Pile? A lot of potential for life is in a leaf pile. Many beneficial (and beautiful) insects 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… Read more »

Native Pollinator Garden Basics for the Chicago Region

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Native pollinators take many forms, and all are very different from the European Honeybee. Despite the many articles written about colony collapse, Honeybees are not going extinct. Their issues are not ones of conservation, but instead are ones of domestic animal management. The animals we do need to be worried about are our native pollinators…. Read more »

Milkweed Cosmos

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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 »