This is the first of a 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. In addition, most of the species provide birds with seed in the winter–so don’t cut back plants until late spring!! The 12 species are all available for free (while supplies last!)–see December 12th blog, Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat at Home, for details.
Each Thursday through January 5th we’ll feature 3 of the 12 plants with detailed descriptions of the plants as well as specific sowing instructions. Note however, for those that say to direct sow in spring, you may actually direct sow them in late fall/winter. In nature the seeds would go through winter and just come up when they’re ready. If you’re late fall/winter sowing a bunch of plants, it’s kind of convenient to just do them all the same way! Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for your Garden – Part 1”
It is very exciting to kick off our habitat restoration work at New Salem Historic Site in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources! While the site is best known and visited for the recreated village where Lincoln once lived, much of the site is forested land, from the floodplains along the Sangamon River to the upland forests crisscrossed by several miles of hiking trails. Like most natural areas, regular management is necessary to deal with invasive species that have displaced so much of our native flora.Continue reading “Invasive Species at New Salem State Historic Site”
Leaves of three, let it be… but leaves of three are not always a sign of danger!
There are many beneficial native plants with trifoliate leaves that are completely benign. Speaking of beneficial native plants, poison ivy IS extremely beneficial for wildlife. The flowers are visited by bees, the leaves are hosts for several moth caterpillars and browsed occasionally by mammals, and probably most importantly, the white berries feed dozens of bird species. Of course, the birds are then responsible for its wide distribution, much to the dismay of all who react to the irritating urushiol oil, present in all parts of the plant.
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) can form a bush, creep along the ground, or grow as a climbing vine. It can be recognized by the glossy, toothed, trifoliate leaves. New growth sometimes has a reddish tinge. Fall coloring is often a brilliant orange. The vines are often covered in course hairs and aerial rootlets that allow them to cling to trees, fences, etc.
In and around Menard County we’re fortunate to have so many places to explore nature at a safe distances from fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s a snapshot of a few places we’ve been visiting this month.
For Earth Day 2019, Menard County Trails & Greenways members filled more than a dozen bags with litter found along the Sangamon River in Petersburg’s Hurie Park. On Earth Day 2020, two Trails & Greenways members returned to Hurie Park and collected several more bags worth of litter.
What better way to celebrate Arbor Day than by planting a tree or two or more!
People often ask for help selecting a tree to plant at their home. My first bit of advice is always to choose something that is appropriate to the site, that will thrive for years to come. It is important to do some research and have a good understanding of a tree’s expected mature size, growth habits, and insect pest or disease concerns. Too often, we see trees that have been topped for line clearance—something that could have been avoided by selecting a smaller species! Continue reading “Happy Arbor Day”
On that note, the Native Plant Conservation Campaign has made available Douglas Tallamy’s video presentation of his latest book, Nature’s Best Hope. Tallamy is a leader in advancing our understanding of how individual homeowners can help local wildlife, support vital ecosystem services such a water purification, and fight climate change all by gardening with beautiful local natives!
We hope the video gives you inspiration as you plan your post-Covid-19 garden and landscaping projects! Enjoy! And, share!