“When the soul lies down in that grass; the world is too full to talk about.” — Rumi
By any reckoning, it’s a new season on the prairie. Aldo Leopold wrote, “In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” I want to “heed” them all! But how to choose what to see? A hundred species—animal, vegetable, mineral—clamor for attention. The bumblebee pushing its way into the American vetch blossom over here….
…or the tiny immature female eastern forktail damselfly, clinging to a grass blade…
…or the insect hiding in the spiderwort. Sort of ironic. (Even if spiders aren’t insects.)
You can’t miss the red-winged blackbird, its wing tattooed with floral shadows.
What a racket he makes! No doubt a nest is nearby. Nearly everyone has a story about being dive-bombed by a protective red-winged “daddy” bird. I give him plenty of space.
Blooms, blooms. It’s a wildflower extravaganza.
Marvel at the architecture of stem, leaf, and flower.
Each bloom is a wonder.
The colorless wildflowers…
…are no less beautiful than the colorful ones.
Look for the unusual, in structure and hue.
In each stage of bud and bloom is the opportunity to see a familiar wildflower with new eyes.
The buds may seem more intriguing than the blooms.
Many wildflowers are easy to miss. Unless you slow down and pay attention.
I love the infinite variety of wildflowers just past their prime; the tension between what has been, and what is yet to come.
The transitions are as delightful as the blooms themselves…and sometimes more so.
Watch for the flowers to go to seed, ready to set sail on the slightest puff of wind.
Just think! Each seed holds the secrets of next year’s prairie.
Change is happening, so fast that I can’t keep up with it.
Standing on the threshold of June, anything seems possible.
Rumi (1207-1273) was a scholar, poet, and theologian born in what is today known as Afghanistan. The opening quote is from his poem, “A Great Wagon.”
Join Cindy for a program or class this summer!
The Tallgrass Prairie: Illinois Original Garden Online: June 2, 7-8:30 p.m. Illinois’ nickname is “The Prairie State.” Listen to stories of the history of the tallgrass prairie and its amazing plants and creatures –-from blooms to butterflies to bison. Discover plants that work well in the home garden as you enjoy learning about Illinois’ “landscape of home.” Presented by Sag Moraine Native Plant Community. More information here.
Literary Gardens Online: June 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Join master gardener and natural history writer Cindy Crosby for a fun look at gardens in literature and poetry. From Agatha Christie’s mystery series, to Brother Cadfael’s medieval herb garden, to Michael Pollan’s garden in “Second Nature,” to the “secret garden” beloved of children’s literature, there are so many gardens that helped shape the books we love to read. Discover how gardens and garden imagery figure in the works of Mary Oliver, Henry Mitchell, Barbara Kingsolver, Lewis Carroll–and many more! See your garden with new eyes—and come away with a list of books you can’t wait to explore. Registration through the Downers Grove Public Library coming soon here.
Plant A Backyard Prairie: Online, Wednesday, June 9 and Friday, June 11, 11am-12:30pm CST –Bring the prairie to your doorstep! Turn a corner of your home landscape into a pocket-size prairie. If you think prairie plants are too wild for a home garden, think again! You can create a beautiful planted area that welcomes pollinators and wildlife without raising your neighbors’ eyebrows. In this online class, you will learn: how to select the right spot for your home prairie; which plants to select and their many benefits, for wildlife, and for you; creative ways to group plants for a pleasing look, and how to care for your prairie. Plus, you’ll get loads of inspiration from beautiful photos and stories that will bring your backyard prairie to life before you even put a single plant in the ground. Offered through The Morton Arboretum. Register here.
The Wild Garden’s Frequent Fliers: Dragonflies and Damselflies: Online, Thursday June 17, 7-8:30 p.m. CDT, Rock River Valley Wild Ones. Discover the wild and wonderful lives of these fascinating insects with the author of “Chasing Dragonflies” in this hour-long interactive Zoom program (with Q&A to follow). To join Rock River Valley Wild Ones and participate, discover more here.