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Yorkville on the Fox River

The garden in the Fall of 2008

Asters and Goldenrods are in full bloom. Lots of yellows, purples, blues and violets.

Toby's eyes are immediately drawn to the irridescent Sky Blue Aster, Aster azureus.

Diverting the downspout into a rain garden keeps the water from flowing onto the driveway and freezing in the winter.

Toby ponders the subtle hues and textures of the native wildflowers and grasses in the Fall.

The Outer Garden offers the viewer a cool and comfortable place to sit and reflect ...

... upon this magnificent vista.

We are now in June 2009. Everything is come alive.

This relatively large raingarden is carpeted with white flowering Canada Anemone, Canadensis anemone. See the downspout and the trendy flagstone waterfall feature.

The Outer Garden -- what a wonderful place to sit in the shade of this Oak and observe the natural world all around you.

The small hill, about five feet high and forty feet across, is a raised-bed above ground septic field. Its soil is very porous and well drained so it makes a good home for plants that like dry sites.

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, is an elegant flower. We use it on the Art and Linda's logo. The narrow notched petals start out in a reflexed position (see flower lower left) and they have slightly hairy stems. It blooms about a month earlier than its famous cousin -- the Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.

Illinois has native cacti!! The Eastern Prickly Pear, Opuntia humifusa, is found abundantly at Illinois State Beach Park north of Chicago. It likes the sandy, sunny, well-drained conditions on this small hill. It is doing very well.

The brilliant butter-yellow flowers reminds me of Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris, which grows in very wet areas -- just the opposite of this cactus.

June Grass, Koeleria cristata, is an attractive short, clump-forming, cool season grass that grows well in sandy areas.

Now it is late July 2009 -- only a month later but everything has changed. The native perrenials have varied bloom times. So nature always has some action going on for the birds, butterflies and other insects.

This is Early Goldenrod, Solidago juncea. Its bright yellow flowerhead looks like a fireworks starburst. Unlike the other goldenrods that flower in the Fall, Early Goldenrods flower in the Summer, along with the Purple Coneflowers. I have found this plant to be readily well-behaved -- an uncommon but welcome trait for a goldenrod.

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium, looks like it somehow came from outer space. It has cactus-like leaves and a strange Sputnik-shaped flowerhead. It grows three to five feet tall under average soil conditions and full sun. It is a good plant to use in prairie plantings as it adds a lot of interest and does not get aggressive.

A big fuzzy Bumble Bee is having a good meal on this WIld Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, sometimes called Bee-Balm. This plant spreads well forming large clumps about four feet tall. It attracts a wide variety of butterflies and bees and is mildly fragrant.

Royal Catchfly, Silene regia, is one of the few truly red flowers. It is not carnivorous but the stickly tube below the five red petals does snag small insects. It is a spectacular plant about four to five feet tall and attracts Hummungbirds.

The raingarden along the driveway entrance provides a habitat for plants that like to get occasionally drenched. Common Ironweed, Vernonia fasciculata, has a royal purple flowerhead, can grow from four to seven feet tall and blooms in the Summer.

Winged Loosesprife, Lythrum alatum, is a native Illinois wildflower. It is relatively short, two to three feet, fairly aggressive, likes wet areas and has a purple flower.

Another plant that likes it wet is the Queen of the Prairie, Filipendula rubra. Its pink flowerhead reminds me of the cotton candy we used to get at the circus. She likes full sun, is fairly aggressive and gets three to six feet tall.

On Sunday morning, January 23, 2010, Art got a call from the owner of this property. A few problems had occurred and she wanted to know if we could address them immediately. We had planted about two dozen assorted trees near the river last Fall and had secured a chicken wire fence around each trunk to prevent beavers from damaging them. Some large ice flows had bent over several of these new trees, and also moved the fencing, allowing beavers to chew down two of them.

We immediately arrived at the scene and securely encased all of the the trees (the ones we had already planted plus the existing ones) with chicken wire. About half a dozen recently planted trees were bent over from the ice, their root balls slightly exposed, but we determined these could be repaired in the Spring.

As a special treat a bald eagle flew down the river, circled around in front of us for a while, and then perched on a tree on the other side of the river. Watching this display made the whole day worth while.

Nice view of the snow-covered garden and the river edge taken from the end of the driveway. In the lower right corner is a solid brick bench which acts to protect a well-head in case a car slides over the edge of the driveway.

A newly-planted tree near the river's edge. Note the small hanging bag of deer repellant and the chicken wire enclosure around the trunk. These act to keep the tree safe from deer and beavers.

Many people think the only way to add winter interest is to have evergreens. Look how nice this scene is in black, white and muted shades of brown.


We got here too late!

Toby stands guard while David prepares to wrap the trunk of the slightly tilted Oak with chicken wire.

Toby also stands guard on Ron, the owner.

These beavers are brazen. You must always be on the lookout for them.

A large bald eagle flies down the river and circles around in front of us. Can you spot him in the center of this photo?

Here he is slightly enlarged. How magnificient!

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