April Prairie Snow

“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.

Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

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).

Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

It’s a favorite hotspot for birders; a little oasis in the middle of Glenview.

Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

As I paused to sniff a wild bergamot seed head, still fragrant with mint, joy took me by surprise.

Wild bergmot (Monarda fistulosa), Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

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.

View from the pavilion, Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

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.

Forecast April 17, 2022.

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.

Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), Crosby’s backyard, Glen Ellyn, IL.

The non-native violas, which self-seed all around the garden, didn’t seem to mind a little ice.

Violas (Viola sp.) in the snow, Crosby’s backyard garden, Glen Ellyn, IL.

Marsh marigolds, weighted with the weather du jour, kept on blooming.

Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris), Crosby’s backyard, Glen Ellyn, IL.

Tucked under the eaves of the house the prairie alum root…

Prairie alum root (Heuchera richardsonii), Crosby’s backyard, Glen Ellyn, IL.

…the prairie smoke…

Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Crosby’s backyard, Glen Ellyn, IL.

…and the new shoots of prairie dropseed…

Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) with spring bulbs, Crosby’s backyard, Glen Ellyn, IL.

…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 .

8 responses to “April Prairie Snow

  1. Thanks, Cindy, as always a terrific blog!

    Here’s our snow, a bit more than a dusting, but it melted by noon-ish.

    On Tue, Apr 19, 2022 at 6:15 AM Tuesdays in the Tallgrass wrote:

    > Cindy Crosby posted: ” “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 ethn” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never get tired of seeing your posts. Cindy, you are an old soul. God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy Montgomery

    Yes, just a little snow here, too. Daffodils, tulips, & pansies took it in stride. I just look ahead at the weather forecasts to hope for warm, sunny days. Your blog is the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy for reading and for that kind compliment! Nice to see how tough our early spring bloomers are. Another freeze in the forecast tonight, so they need to stay tough! Love hearing from you…. Cindy 🙂

      Like

  4. One of my favorite prairies, the Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie in Glenview. On the grounds of the former Glenview Naval Air Station. A lot of dedicated work by Kent Fuller and his wife Gerry allowed this landscape to be saved from development.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s such a great place, isn’t it Eileen? I love the stories of the dedicated people who helped save these precious remnants. Thank you for all you do for prairies! I’m grateful to know you. Cindy 🙂

      Like

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