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Prairies to Perennials

An almanac of all things that grow in Lincoln's backyard.
Prairie Plants
Monarch ageratum
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Plant a Pollinator Pocket

Pollinators are crucial to the pollination of more than 150 food crops in the United States. Many of these being fruits, nuts and berries which wildlife depend on and humans enjoy eating. Pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, flies, wasps and bats. As gardeners, we can provide pollinator-friendly gardens that provide valuable habitat to insects and wildlif...

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Visitor to the Demonstration Gardens

On the first day of the Illinois State Fair, University of Illinois Extension master gardener volunteers observed a monarch butterfly. This butterfly could have been the same one that emerged on August 6, but no way to know for sure. Monarchs are easily recognized by their orange and black wings. A few quick facts about monarch butterflies. Butterflies have a 3.5 to 5 inc...

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Treasure Found in Nature's Hideaway (Part 2)

University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers are thrilled to report the emergence of the Monarch Butterfly from the chrysalis. Volunteers have been observing the chrysalis inside the bean teepee within the Idea Garden on the Illinois State Fairgrounds! The chrysalis has been observed and photographed daily from July 29 to August 5, and we can hardly believe our good fortu...

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Bean structure
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Treasure Found in Nature's Hideaway

Treasure Found in Nature's Hideaway Nature's Hideaway is one of five "Idea" gardens within the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens in Springfield.. Nature's Hideaway encourages family gardening using readily available, inexpensive materials and seeds that are fun and easy. This garden features a bean teepee su...

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Including Native Plants In Your Landscape

Five years ago, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers started a demonstration garden to feature sun-loving native plants. The Native Wildflower Garden (NWG) demonstrates the use of native plants in home landscapes and how these plants are beneficial to pollinators, particularly struggling Monarch butterflies. Fittingly, the NWG is located at Lincoln M...

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The Monarchs Have Arrived

In 2012, the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers began a restoration of the gardens of the Dana-Thomas House and at the cottage on the west side of the railroad tracks. One of the many projects undertaken was a planting of various native plants in a garden behind the cottage. This project was later expanded to include appropriate plants for a pollinator garden. M...

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Lead Plant

When considering native plants to add to your garden, don't overlook Lead Plant, Amorpha canescens . It is an herbaceous, multi-stemmed perennial that grows 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. If this is a little tall for your garden location, the size is easily managed by pruning. Lead Plant has a deep branching root system good for erosion control and is easy to grow in any sunny well-draine...

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Butterfly Weed In Bloom

Perhaps you've noticed the bright orange pops of color in fields and along roadsides? Butterfly weed is currently in bloom throughout Illinois. Butterfly weed ( Asclepias tuberosa ) is a native perennial that grows in dry open woods, prairies, fields, and along roadsides. Typically, it grows in a clump 1 to 3 feet tall and features clusters of bright orange to yellow- orange flow...

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Master Naturalist Summit Explores Wetlands Habitat

More than 30 individuals gathered on June 4th at the Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary in Loami for the 2016 University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist Summit. Attendees learned about wetlands including grasses, plants and wildlife that live around this habitat. Speakers included: Joe Bartletti, Prairie Engineers of Illinois, and Mary Lou Lael, U of I Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. After...

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bluebird eggs 2016
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Local Bluebird Enthusiasts Working To Expand Population

Bluebirds Face Predators While Nesting Once nearly eliminated from Illinois, local bluebird enthusiasts who have put up and regularly monitor bluebird boxes are helping to grow the population of these birds locally. At the Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center in Springfield, Illinois, there are 14 such bluebird houses that are regularly monitored by volunteers to h...

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