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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Landscapes (Trees, Shrubs and Flowers)
Dec17 WTMJ
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Welcome to My Jungle - December 2017

The medlar ( Mespilus germanica ) project was a success. I had enough bletted (very ripe but not rotted) fruit from one tree to make a small batch of jelly and try a new dessert bar recipe featuring medlars and walnuts. Having never tasted medlars before, I was worried I would hate the taste and had wasted my time, but I really enjoyed the unique, stewed-apple-like flavor created in both...

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21Aug2017 Eclipse Clifftop IMG 8771
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Welcome to My Jungle - September 2017

A personal thank you to the staff and volunteers of Clifftop. I could not have asked for a more beautiful site to view the solar eclipse with my family and friends on Monday, August 21 st . A 360° sunset is a site I will never forget. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into making this such a special day for so many. As quoted on Clifftop's Facebook page "It was a long, hot...

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Penstemon tubaeflorus - Tube Beardtongue IMG 5570

Welcome to My Jungle - June 2017

June begins the season of green, when the trees and shrubs are fully leaved and spring blooms have faded. My Jungle is primarily an iris garden, but it would be boring right now if made up of only green swords of foliage. Not to worry though, numerous late spring and early-summer blooming plants pick up the color standard so the Jungle does not suffer summer blahs. One of my favorites is trumpe...

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Welcome to My Jungle - May 2017

Birds are arriving from their winter home to add their beauty and song to my landscape. I hope that I have created a suitable environment for them to complete a successful breeding season. A ruby throated hummingbird alerted me to his presence very recently, so I dropped everything to put out feeders. He seemed rather pleased. I have also sighted two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo bunt...

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Welcome to My Jungle - April 2017

Sticker shock, but definitely worth it! Some plants like lady slippers, a.k.a. hardy terrestrial orchids, can be relatively pricy in the world of herbaceous perennials (think ITOH and herbaceous yellow peony prices), and when combined with some very exacting growing conditions, most gardeners aren't willing to risk the added investment. This is definitely a species to research thoroughly before ca...

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Cherry Rootstocks Gisela5 Mahalab Seedling

Welcome To My Jungle - March 2017

Dwarfing rootstocks have always fascinated me, and the sweet cherry trees in my jungle really demonstrate their useful versatility. I have three sweet cherry trees and they are all similar in age, but they are all on different rootstocks, making them extremely different in size. My largest sweet cherry tree grew from a cherry pit a friend of mine had chucked into his garden, resulting in a stan...

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065 Pieris japonica cv Shojo - Japanese Pieris

Welcome to My Jungle-February 2017

Winter is still with us but a number of winter interest plants are already brightening an otherwise sleeping garden. Winter blooming plants like witch hazel ( Hamamelis ), hellebore ( Helleborus ), mahonia ( Mahonia ), Japanese pieris ( Pieris ), and paperbush ( Edgeworthia ) are especially good at harking the coming of spring. If you are unfamiliar wi...

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BB lesions 03 watermark
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Boxwood blight confirmed in Illinois

URBANA, Ill. - Boxwood blight, a serious fungal disease, has been confirmed in Illinois. According to a University Diagnostic Outreach Extension Specialist, two boxwood samples were submitted to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic in late 2016. The samples came from Lake and Cook Counties in northeastern Illinois. Both were from recent landscape additions. "Although the characterist...

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Helleborus - Hellebore P1010117

Welcome to My Jungle - December, 2015

Growing giant vegetables usually takes some extra effort, but sometimes Mother Nature provides just the right conditions for some crops to exceed normal growth expectations. Take turnips for example. Normally, turnip are harvested as they reach the size of a tennis ball or slightly larger up until soil freezing. This ensures reaching peak flavor and maintaining a smooth internal texture. Like m...

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