As winter grays and whites fold over the outside world and work-from-home fatigue sinks in, a splash of gold, red, or blue can provide a joyful relief. Spy a bird, or two, or three here at the Garden using prime spots recommended by Jim Steffen, Garden senior ecologist and manager of the McDonald Woods.
As the days get shorter, you might be looking for off-the-beaten paths where you can soak up the rest of the season. I’ve got just the place for you—the Barbara Brown Nature Reserve.
When you walk along the natural areas of the Chicago Botanic Garden, you’ll notice hundreds of species of plants. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice signs of wildlife all around you, too. Their connection makes for the best kind of codependency.
Thanksgiving is here again, and we at the Chicago Botanic Garden are thankful for all the pollinators who make our food possible, every day, around the world. Bats, bees, butterflies, birds, and more pollinate plants that create one-third of the food we eat. As you enjoy a meal with friends and family, take a moment to say thanks for the little things that make such a big difference—pollinators!
This season, the Chicago Botanic Garden honors pollinators through Bees & Beyond, a program that reveals the vital role pollinators play in our everyday lives and in a healthy, diverse planet. The “beyond” in the title refers to bats, birds, butterflies, moths, wind, and generally any force or creature that keeps our world producing.
When I was growing up, there were certain animals I was saddened to think I would never see in my lifetime. There were those species that had become extinct, of course, like passenger pigeons, Carolina parakeets, ivory-billed woodpeckers, and Labrador ducks. I had read the life histories of these species and marveled at descriptions of their colors, sounds, and abundance. It made me feel depressed that these amazing creatures were gone forever.
Read on. Want to see a butterfly dry its wings, hang upside down, or even fight? Watch the weather first. As summer gets underway, it’s fun to see how weather changes affect the activity at Butterfly & Blooms. The seasonal exhibition is a photographer’s dream, with hundreds of live butterfly species native to countries around the world. Here are some tips on butterfly behavior, depending on the weather:
It still counts as summer as long as there are dragonflies around. Some years at the Chicago Botanic Garden, there are dragonflies everywhere! The quick, strong fliers seem to love the Garden.
Eastern pondhawk dragonfly, female. Most dragonflies have very different-looking males and females. This one was in the Native Plant Garden. Photo ©Carol Freeman.
A Half Male, Half Female ButterflyAt Butterflies & Blooms on Monday, I saw something I had never seen before in my five years as a butterfly wrangler at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I noticed that a leopard lacewing's right wings were bright orange, just like any other male of the species, but the left wings were beige—only females have beige wings. This lacewing was half male and half female, or a gynandromorphic butterfly.