Archives of Native plants

Doug Macdonald, steward of the Civic Center Habitat Garden

Looking at the world from the plant’s point of view

It’s often good to approach plant habits from their point of view instead of from ours. Why does a plant act in a certain way? Ferns, for instance, will often shed old fronds when new ones emerge. These dead fronds lie in a heap at their base. This...
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Asters and joe-pye weed at the Ladd Arboretum

Floppy prairie plants

Prairie plants are often tall and floppy—a tendency that's more obvious when they're growing in a garden. Why did they evolve this way?...
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Wild geranium in bloom


Mayapples have wilted in July’s heat, bringing to a close the season of spring ephemerals. In the Ladd Arboretum, prairie plants are now towering, and plants like these retreat until next spring. Top to bottom: sharp-lobed hepatica, birdfoot vi...
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Civic Center Habitat Garden, flourishing two years after planting

What a difference two years make

The Civic Center Habitat Garden marked its second anniversary this month. What started out as a weedy lawn has been transformed through good planning and hard work into a flourishing oasis for birds and pollinators. More than sixty species of plants ...
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Prairie trillium at the Ladd Arboretum

Hidden under the buckthorn

As dense buckthorn is cleared from the banks of the North Shore Channel, other plants have a better chance. These prairie trilliums showed up recently in one of the recently cleared areas...
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June in the Civic Center Habitat Garden

Visualize green

With landscapes drained of color and temperatures plummeting, this is an ideal time to start planning for spring....
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Climate Action & Resilience Plan

Climate action from the ground up

Evanston City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ambitious Climate Action & Resilience Plan that makes Evanston the first city in Illinois to commit to achieving carbon neutrality. ...
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Planting wildflower plugs at the Ladd Arboretum

Planting for diversity

Saturday was cool and wet, but a truckload of plants awaited, so our tough band of volunteers got to work with shovels and trowels. ...
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