Ways to celebrate Pollinator Week (June 17-23, 2024)!

  • Volunteer! Join MCTG members working at Wayside Park or on the square in Petersburg this week—or later this summer. We’ll be weeding, trimming, planting, watering, mulching, and eventually collecting seeds. If you’re interested in adopting a bed or a corner on the square, we can show you the ropes!
  • Scout blooming plants now for later seed collection (see a blog on this subject soon!)
  • Be a citizen scientist! Download the iNaturalist app and participate in the Illinois Monarch Project’s Bioblitz to document local insect activity.
  • Create pollinator habitat at home! While the heat makes planting a little challenging this week, with ample water during establishment, natives will tough it out! Consider planting native species from local growers like 3B Natives. Their plants can be ordered online or purchased at Seaney’s. The Mason State Nursery is another great option!

From Pollinator Partnership:

Pollinator Week 2024 is a celebration of the vital role that pollinators play in our ecosystems, economies, and agriculture. Under the inspiring theme “Vision 2040: Thriving ecosystems, economies, and agriculture,” this year’s event urges us to envision a future where pollinators not only survive but thrive. These essential creatures, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, and hummingbirds, are the unsung heroes behind the food we enjoy and the beauty that surrounds us. As we reflect on the interconnectedness of our world, let’s unite in a collective effort to protect and preserve these crucial pollinators. By understanding the impact of our actions on their habitats and embracing sustainable practices, we can pave the way for a flourishing future. Join us in celebrating Pollinator Week 2024, and let’s cultivate a world where both nature and humanity thrive in harmony. Explore our resources, learn about pollinator-friendly initiatives, and be inspired to contribute to the vision of a greener and more sustainable tomorrow.



Planting Party for Wee Ones

Trails & Greenway is a proud sponsor of this family event organized by Birth to Five Illinois: Region 51 to introduce little ones to gardening with hands on experience of planting vegetable and native pollinator plant seeds. They will also learn about the importance of pollinators for our food supply.  See the image below for event details and list of sponsors. If you’re interested in helping out let us know.

Sip n’ Sow Seed Sowing Workshop

Sip n’ Sow Seed Sowing Workshop
1st & 3rd Boutique & Wine Bar
January 12th from 6:00 to 8:00

1st & 3rd Boutique & Wine Bar has generously donated their event space. Please show your support — come early to shop, get a beverage & maybe a charcuterie board!

Event Limited to 30 Registered Participants — Fill Out  Form at Bottom of Page

It’s never too soon to think of spring! Join some adult-only fun at the Sip n’ Sow Workshop! Sip a glass of wine and sow some native flower seeds for your summer garden.  Native plants attract pollinators and serve as butterfly host plants, including many species growing on the square in Petersburg. 

The evening will kick off with a slide presentation with photos and discussion of some of the species that will be available. Participants will then use the winter sowing technique to plant native species of their choosing. Seeds, soil, tools, and some containers provided. Participants are encouraged to bring additional CLEAN plastic milk jugs if you wish to plant multiple containers. 

Alana McKean (Starhill Forest Arboretum), Cindy Andreasen (Illinois Extension Master Gardener), and Terri Treacy (Menard County Trails & Greenways) will be leading the workshop. Bring your questions about gardening with native plants and any native seeds you wish to share!

No fee but donations appreciated! And, please support 1st & 3rd — come early, shop, grab a beverage and even a bite to eat!

Questions? Email Cindy at event@menardcountytrailsandgreenways.org;   (Please don’t contact 1st & 3rd — use the email provided!)

For planning purposes registration is required.

Form submission is now closed.

Plant pollinator habitat at home

Wanting to add more pollinator habitat at home? Look no further: native plant seed packets are available again in Petersburg! You can find displays at the Petersburg Public Library, 1st and 3rd Boutique, the Talisman, and the Crazy Daisy Gift Shop. This year we are offering 13 colorful species collected from the plantings on Petersburg’s square, Historic Wayside Park and our members’ own gardens and prairies. The packets are free, but we welcome donations that support Menard County Trails & Greenways. The displays will be restocked until we run out!

Wondering how to choose? 

Check out blog posts highlighting the available species:

Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Purple Prairie Clover, Golden Alexanders

Small Yellow Wild Indigo, Butterfly Milkweed, Blue Star

Black-eyed Susan, Rattlesnake Master, Purple Coneflower

Swamp Milkweed, Sneezeweed, Aromatic aster

We’ve added one new species to the mix this year: Wild quinine. More on that species soon!

Wondering how to plant them? 

Follow the detailed planting instructions on the back of each packet, and check out this blog post with instructions on the winter sowing method. Also– watch for an announcement about upcoming winter sowing workshops where we’ll have these species and many more to share!

Scary Invasive Plants in Your Landscape

Scarier than goblins, witches and ghosts are all the invasive plants we have planted in our yards and gardens! This Halloween we bring you a post about the horrors of invasive plants in your landscape.

Some of our Menard County Trails & Greenways members have already been hard at work on the restoration efforts at New Salem in recent weeks. With the arrival of cooler temperatures, we’ll be scheduling volunteer work days soon! Be watching our Facebook page or your email if you’re an MCTG member for those dates. If you’d like to contribute to our forest restoration efforts at New Salem, but you can’t make it to our work days, there is still something you can do to help: remove invasive garden plants in your own yard!

There are many problematic plants still being sold in garden centers for use as landscape plants and seeds from those plants end up growing at New Salem and in other natural areas. Here are some of the worst offenders: Continue reading “Scary Invasive Plants in Your Landscape”

Garlic Mustard Pulls at New Salem

Why do we pull garlic mustard?

Each garlic mustard plant grows pods called siliques and each plant produces on average 22 siliques, each silique containing as many as 28 seeds. That is over 600 seeds on an average per plant, with some particularly robust plants producing almost 8,000 seeds. That’s why it is so important to remove the plant before it sets seed.

garlic mustard plants
There are at least 50 plants in this photo. 50 x 22 x 28 = over 30,000 potential seeds !!

Continue reading “Garlic Mustard Pulls at New Salem”

Winter Seed Sowing Check In

Time to check in with our winter sowers! In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of seedling germination. There is some variation, so it may have taken some containers a long time to show anything, but by now they should all have germinated and growing!

Participants at two winter sowing workshops enjoyed creating their own miniature greenhouses.

Removing the Tops and Watering

The weather has been pretty erratic this month, with some very warm days and some very cold nights. Up to this point, the top of the milk jug or container lid has helped to retain moisture and protect seedlings from temperature extremes and wind. Now that the temperatures have turned quite warm some days, it is important to open the containers up. This allows for good air circulation that will toughen up the plants and prevent fungal diseases. On particularly warm days, leaving the lid on can be very detrimental. Those delicate seedlings can bake in the heat! Continue reading “Winter Seed Sowing Check In”

Winter Seed Sowing

Winter seed sowing is a great way to grow most native plants! The seeds of many native species require cold, moist stratification to germinate. This occurs naturally when a seed falls on the soil and goes through an average Illinois winter.

These conditions can be mimicked in the refrigerator with a moist paper towel or a spoonful of sand, planting the seeds after meeting the required time for stratification of a particular species.

Winter sowing is an even simpler option—great for gardeners of all levels of experience. Planting in a milk jug or other recycled container gives seedlings a head start, as the containers create a mini-greenhouse to trap heat, speeding up germination and protecting seedlings during spring cold snaps, and lets nature work its magic! Continue reading “Winter Seed Sowing”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4

This post wraps up our 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. View earlier blog posts here.

The final three plants described in the post are swamp milkweed, sneezeweed and aromatic aster. All 12 species discussed in the series are available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3

yellow coneflower
Black-eyed Susan is a prolific bloomer with showy yellow daisy-like flowers July through September.

This is Part 3 of a 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can read Part 1 here;  read Part 2 here. The 12 species discussed in the series are all available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog, Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat at Home, for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3”