“Snow in April is abominable, like a slap in the face when you expect a kiss.” –Lucy Maud Montgomery
It’s been a delightful week, full of adventures. A few days ago, Jeff and I found ourselves in Glenview, IL, to give a talk on prairie ethnobotany for the wonderful Glenview Gardeners and the Glenview Library. We arrived early to go for a hike on the Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie.
Beautiful interpretive signs connect visitors with the 32-acre remnant prairie and its community, and the more than 160 species of plants, including the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea).
It’s a favorite hotspot for birders; a little oasis in the middle of Glenview.
As I paused to sniff a wild bergamot seed head, still fragrant with mint, joy took me by surprise.
Sometimes, in the midst of development and growing populations, prairie is recognized as the treasure it is. Kent Fuller Air Force Prairie is proof that prairies and development can co-exist. We can recognize our tallgrass heritage in Illinois, and make a place for prairie in Chicago’s growing suburbs.
On such a gloomy, chilly day—seeing what has been accomplished here—I felt hopeful for the future.
Sunday evening, I checked the forecast before I nodded off to sleep.
Surely nothing will stick.
But when I looked out my bedroom window Monday morning…
A dusting of snow.
Rattlesnake master—that early pioneer of the garden and just-burned prairies—stoically took it in stride.
The non-native violas, which self-seed all around the garden, didn’t seem to mind a little ice.
Marsh marigolds, weighted with the weather du jour, kept on blooming.
Tucked under the eaves of the house the prairie alum root…
…the prairie smoke…
…and the new shoots of prairie dropseed…
…seemed to thrive amid this unexpected turn of weather. It’s only a little snow. What’s the big deal? I could almost hear the plants scolding me for pouting. As I type this on Monday evening, more snow is falling. I’m tempted to complain with the poet T.S. Eliot that “April is the cruelest month,” but I’m going enjoy this twist of temperatures. One of the joys of living in the Midwest is the weather. Always a few surprises. I like that. Mostly.
Never a dull moment on the prairies.
The opening quote is from fictional character Anne Shirley, from the series “Anne of Green Gables,” written by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942).
April Events (find more at http://www.cindycrosby.com)
April 25, 9:30-11am The Tallgrass Prairie: Grocery Store, Apothecary, and Love Charm Shop with Country Home and Garden Club, Barrington, IL (In person). Closed event. For more information on the garden club click here.
Join Cindy for one, two, or three Spring Wildflower Walks at The Morton Arboretum! Learn some of the stories behind these fascinating spring flowers. April 22 (woodland, sold out), April 28 (woodland) and May 6 (prairie, one spot open) (9-11 a.m.). In person. Register here.
Save Bell Bowl Prairie! Find out what you can do at www.savebellbowlprairie.org .