Garden Stories

Garden Stories

Garden Stories

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How to dry flowers, from A to Z

Dried Flowers

Gardeners know it takes time and effort to cultivate a plant palette that blooms throughout the seasons. Each flower brings so much joy and satisfaction, but the blooms never last as long as you would like. My first urge is to take pictures. But there is another way to preserve this ephemeral beauty: drying flowers.

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So You Want to Buy Your First Houseplant

Soil has spilled all over my kitchen floor. It happened while I was dumping another withered plant—this time, a sad collard green—from its pot into the trash. The mess, and the funeral, is for a good cause though.

Today, I bravely enter new territory: My neighborhood garden center, where I will adopt my first, fledgling plant family. You might remember my pledge to become a better plant parent from the first post in this series. Now, my adventure begins.

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10 Cool Plants in the Nature Play Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Regenstein Learning Campus is home to an incredible variety of experiences. The Nature Play Garden gives kids and kids-at-heart opportunities to explore: splashing in the runnel or running up and down the rolling hills.

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How to dry flowers, from A to Z

Dried Flowers

Gardeners know it takes time and effort to cultivate a plant palette that blooms throughout the seasons. Each flower brings so much joy and satisfaction, but the blooms never last as long as you would like. My first urge is to take pictures. But there is another way to preserve this ephemeral beauty: drying flowers.

Read more

Naturally Halloween

While stores can’t keep Halloween and fall decorations in stock this year—supply chain issues or maybe gremlins—we’ve got some DIY ideas. With a little help from nature, you can go Insta cool or full-on Martha Stewart. Capture the spirit of the season by using mostly found objects, materials you might already have, and some embellishments.

Here are some projects that I’ve worked on over the years. These ephemeral projects celebrate what’s happening now in gardens and then fade as the wonders of the next season take over.

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Insta-improved Photos!

Simplicity is critical in creating a striking Instagram photo. Here are some tips to help you reduce distractions and bring focus to your pictures.

The most important thing to keep in mind when photographing for Instagram is that your photo will be viewed at a relatively small scale. Your composition needs to grab the viewers’ attention as they scroll through their feed. Nature is full of beautiful detail, intricate patterns, and delicate textures. However, keep in mind that once a picture is posted, the subtlety and tiny details of the subject matter may be lost.

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Zebra Longwing: The Friendliest Butterfly Around

A longtime favorite of staff and visitors alike, the zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) is native from South America to south Texas and Florida, and occasionally an immigrant can be found as far north as Nebraska! The zebra longwing is the state butterfly of Florida.

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What’s a Little Frass Flicking Between Friends?

Cecropia moth Caterpillar

I am sure that most of you know what I am referring to when I say “leap year.” Although this is not a leap year, I am suggesting that we unofficially call 2015 “Lep Year”—“lep” being short for Lepidoptera (from the Latin “scaly wing”), the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. It has probably been a decade or more since I have seen the diversity and abundance of butterflies and moths that I have seen this past spring and summer.

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