Parkway Plantings: Native Gardens in Urban Zones

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Sunday, May 19th, 2024
to (Central Time)

Public Welcome Free Event Program/Speaker Presentation

Please join us for "Parkway Planting: Native Gardens in Urban Zones" with Judy Klem and Stephanie Walquist on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 2:30 pm (CT).

Find out how to turn your parkway/hellstrip, also known as that dried out, compacted narrow bit of land between the sidewalk and the road into a gardening opportunity! Two experienced native plant gardeners will give you a virtual guided tour of their stunning parkway gardens and share tips, challenges and successes in turning this challenging area into habitat.

Judy's Garden

With four kids and a desire to enjoy a healthy landscape, we embarked on a long journey to reduce our turf grass lawn and convert it into a natural landscape. What began as a small patch on our bungalow's front yard, it expanded to encompass almost the entire parkway on our corner lot along a busy road. 

The parkway is now fully planted with about 75% native plants, grasses, and sedges. Because of the location, we added a curvy footpath to invite neighbors and passersby to explore the 4 seasons of textures, colors, and scents. In the peak of summer and late fall, there is a flurry of activity from all the flying friends: butterflies, birds, and bees know they have a healthy buffet to graze while on their outdoor adventures. 

Stephanie's Garden

My parkway began as a way to transform lawn to a more biodiverse space and as a place to evaluate plants to recommend to others who want to utilize the parkway space. I used the lasagne method to create the garden bed (I know there has been some research that demonstrates this is no longer best practice); over the years, the sun conditions have changed as the parkway tree matures and creates more shade. Currently, one end of the garden is shade plants while the other end transitions to part sun. Responsive to the busy sidewalk and dogs, I am careful about plantings that border the sidewalk and keep plants near the height requirements. The garden is an important place for pollinators, and the plants used are visited by some rare bee species. 

Judy Klem Bio

Judy Klem is the Executive Director of the non-profit Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. In her role with The Friends, Judy manages the organization that provides volunteers, education programming, and grants to support the Oak Park Conservatory. 

Judy is also President of the Board for Oak Park Temple providing vision and leadership to this thriving congregation. 

As a long-time 20-year resident of Oak Park, Judy has been able to pursue her passion for experimenting and learning about native plants in her home garden, at Oak Park Temple’s garden, and as a planner for the West Cook Wild Ones native garden walk for 5 years. 

Stephanie Walquist Bio

Stephanie Walquist is co-founder of Wild Ones West Cook. Butterflies taught her the importance of native plants and rethinking traditional garden maintenance over 20 years ago; native bees are teaching her more lessons as well. She loves to keep learning by trying out new plants and identifying the many animals that come into the yard. 

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