When spring unfurls, the trillium are among the stars of the native wildflowers—and in coming years, the show at the Chicago Botanic Garden will be even more spectacular. A ground-level view of forest trilliums in spring bloom
Plant Science & Conservation
I remember vividly the first time I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. I was silent (unusual for me) and in awe. Everywhere I looked, I saw plant labels, and looking at them provided me some kind of familiarity—like when you meet someone new, you want to know their name, what they do, what they like, right? Well, the same with plants.
Just below the summit, we scrambled past enormous boulders to an unhappy sight—a small group of beautiful aspens in big trouble.
Why did five midwestern horticulturists hike through the oak-hickory forests of the Missouri Ozarks? And why did we need a desiderata? The first question is easy—we were on the trail of specific wildflowers and woody plants to preserve and add to our collections. Collections trip horticulturists Michael Jesiolowski, Tom Weaver, Josh Schultes, Kelly Norris, and Steve McNamara (left to right)
Home gardeners can sympathize: not every seed that is planted grows. This truth extends to restored prairies that are grown from seed mixes, according to Rebecca Barak, Ph.D., who completed research examining the success of individual species within seed mixes, and their combined potential to power up to the diversity level found in remnant prairies. A healthy, diverse prairie
On a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden, you are likely to encounter dozens of woody plants—short, tall, flowering, or simply lending structural beauty to a landscape. It’s OK to have a favorite. Phillip Douglas, the Garden’s new curator of woody plants, is not shy about listing his top picks.
Well, here we are with another titan arum in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Java, the taller of our Titan Twins, began blooming at 8:28 p.m. on May 30.) We never really considered the possibility that we might have two plants developing inflorescences at the same time. But it did not take too long to brainstorm some ideas on what we hope to learn from this rare possibility.
When it comes to controlling invasive plants, a little faith can’t hurt. This is particularly true for garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).
In recent years, the plight of pollinators has gotten a lot of press, and rightly so. I spoke with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune when they were investigating the well-intentioned distribution by General Mills of “one size fits all” wildflower seed packets to combat the declining populations of bees and other pollinators.
In the Chicago area, record-breaking weather was recorded in 2016 and 2017: For the first time in 146 years, the National Weather Service documented no measurable snowfall in either January or February. Chicago’s record year was mirrored globally. Scientists from both NASA and NOAA released reports showing that 2016 was the hottest year since global temperature tracking began in 1880. If that sounds familiar, it is: It was the third record-breaking warm year in a row. And the warmth continued into 2017. “Is it hot outside?”