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butterfly plant, Milkweed, Monarch, Native grasses, native plant, Native Plants, native seed, native wildflowers, wildflowers -

When it comes to planting native seed, most people in Illinois and the Midwest think of spring and summer. This is when the seed of annual vegetables and flowers and grass is planted in gardens, landscape beds and lawns. Native plant seed, however, can be, and in most cases should be, planted in late fall through late winter, a technique called “frost seeding.” Planting at this time of year is typically the best of the year to plant native seed as it mimics and takes advantage of a natural process. If you missed this fall/winter window and you are seeding...

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butterfly, butterfly plant, Coneflower, Milkweed, Monarch, native container garden, native plant, Native Plants, native urban, nature, Nectar, perennial, perennials, urban native garden -

I had the opportunity to prepare and plant a small native garden with my four-year-old daughter this Labor Day.  It was the most fun that I had in a long time and I hope she had fun too.  Hopefully not too much child labor on this day of days for the laborers of the US :-)  Shed did play quite a bit and found a new pet, a roly poly bug. We first picked out some plants, I let her pick the flower color, obviously purple was the choice!  We could have gone with Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium) or Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder) or multiple...

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Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed), butterfly, butterfly plant, chicago, illinois, Milkweed, Monarch, native container garden, native plant, Native Plants, native urban, nature, Nectar, perennial, perennials, urban native garden -

Question: I have a roof top deck with planters in Chicago. Do you have any native plants that will work in this urban environment?   Answer: Laurie, yes I believe I have some plants that may work for you.  Admittedly I have never installed natives in a roof top planter, but dry prairie species should do the trick.  I have several plants in mind that may just work for you. The plants I am recommending are showier plants that are on the hardy end of the spectrum, need less water than most plants, are shorter stature that should work better...

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amazing, Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed), Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed), butterfly, butterfly plant, chicago, illinois, Milkweed, Monarch, native plant, nature -

Native Plant Conosoure:  Hi! I was wondering if milkweed plugs can be planted in the fall, before the first freeze. Thanks! Natural Communities: I would say yes, with one caveat. I would caution you against planting Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) super-late in the season, i.e. after say the 15th of October.  It would probably be OK, but Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) seems to be the most finicky of the milkweeds around here.  Really they should all be fine, but if your really wanting to hedge your best go with Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) or Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed), they seem to overwinter in the pots the...

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butterfly plant, chicago, illinois, Invasive, Invasive Control, Invasive Weeds, native plant, native plants, nature, perennial, perennials, Weed Control, Weeds -

Sam ---  Nick! Thanks for spending time with me at Green Fair on The Fox about my Thistle issue. Can you refresh my memory about what my treatment options are for this?   Natural Communities --- Sam, excellent to see you again!! The weed appears to be Canadian thistle. There are several methods that can be implemented, but one should always consider the approach with the least environmental impacts first.  For natural areas I will discuss several ideas from the greenest to the least environmentally friendly. Prevention: Prevention is always ground zero, having a good crop of native plants such as...

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