“Perhaps it is because we have been so long without flowers that the earliest seem to be among the most beautiful.” — Jack Sanders
Gray skies. Tornados. Rainbows. Raw temperatures. Rain.
What a week it’s been! Not optimal for being outside. Nevertheless, I went out for a “short” hike on the Schulenberg Prairie Monday between rain showers. Two hours later, I didn’t want to go home.
There is so much to see on the prairie in May.
Common valerian—one of my favorite prairie plants—is in full bloom.
Such a strange, alien-esque sort of wildflower! It is sometimes called “tobacco root” or “edible valerian,” and despite reports of its toxicity, Native Americans knew how to prepare it as a food source. Early European explorers noted it had a “most peculiar taste.” The closer you look…
…the more unusual this plant seems. Bees, moths, and flies are often found around the blooms.
A white leaf edge causes the plant appear to glow. Later, the stems will turn bright pink. Gerould Wilhelm in his doorstopper book with Laura Rericha, Flora of the Chicago Region, gives this uncommon plant a C-value of “10.” It’s a stunning wildflower, although not conventionally pretty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The prairie violets are in bud and in bloom, with leaves that vary from deeply lobed…
… to fan-shaped.
Cream wild indigo, splattered with mud, spears its way toward the sky. Blooms are on their way.
Long-tongued bumblebees work the purple dead nettle for nectar. This non-native annual in the mint family is aggressive in garden beds and on the prairie’s edges, but we don’t have much of it in the prairie proper.
Leaves, as well as flowers, offer studies in contrast and color this month. Wood betony is on the brink of blooming.
Queen of the prairie, with her distinctive leaves, is almost as pretty at this stage as it will be in bloom.
Compass plants’ distinctive lacy leaves are May miniatures of their July selves.
In the nearby savanna, rue anemone trembles in the breeze.
Although they won’t fully open in the drizzle, yellow trout lilies splash light and color on a dreary day.
It’s a time of rapid change on the tallgrass prairie and savanna. Each day brings new blooms. Each week, the prairie grasses grow a little taller. It’s difficult to absorb it all.
But what a joy to try!
Why not go see?
The opening quote is from Jack Sanders’ (1944-) book, Hedgemaids and Fairy Candles: The Lives and Lore of North American Wildflowers. The book is jam-packed with fascinating lore about some of my favorite blooms. Thanks to Mary Vieregg for gifting me this book–it’s been a delight. A similar book from Sanders is The Secrets of Wildflowers. Happy reading!
Join Cindy for a Program or Class
May 3, 7-8:30 p.m.: Dragonflies and Damselflies: The Garden’s Frequent Fliers, at the Winfield Area Gardening Club (Open to the public!), Winfield, IL. For more information, click here.
May 5, evening: 60 Years on the Schulenberg Prairie, Morton Arboretum Natural Resource Volunteer Event (closed to the public).
May 18, 12:30-2 p.m.: 100 Years Around the Arboretum (With Rita Hassert), Morton Arboretum Volunteer Zoom Event (Closed to the public).
June 5, 2-3:30 pm.: Illinois’ Wild and Wonderful Early Bloomers, Downers Grove Public Library and Downers Grove Garden Club. Kick off National Garden Week with this in-person event! Open to the public. Click here for more information.
Time is running out for a precious Illinois prairie remnant. Save Bell Bowl Prairie! Find out what you can do to help at www.savebellbowlprairie.org
“…And life revives, and blossoms once again.” —Emily Pauline Johnson
How can you describe the prairie in early May? So much is happening! New wildflowers open every minute. A different insect emerges. Bumblebees buzz. Rain falls. Strong winds ripple the new grass blades and foliage. A few dragonflies cruise by, sampling the warmer air and looking for love along the prairie streams and pond edges.
The prairie is awake. So much jazz and motion and life! Here are three reasons to go for a hike on the prairies and prairie savannas this month and see what’s unfolding.
Wild and Wonderful Wildflowers: The spring prairie wildflowers have arrived. Look around the savanna and the prairie edges, and you’ll spot the prairie trillium. The deep wine petals are unmistakable.
Maybe you learned this trilliumby a different name, such as “wake robin” or “bloody butcher” or even “bloody noses” (as one of my friends tells me he called it as a child). By any name, it’s one of the touchstones of spring. The dappled leaves are camouflage against deer, which eat the leaves and flowers. It’s a common wildflower which occurs in every Illinois county.
It’s tougher to spot the jack in the pulpit; sometimes pale green, sometimes reddish green. Can you find “Jack” under the spathe or hood (the “pulpit?”)
The 20th century modernist Georgia O’Keeffe created a series of six paintings based on this unusual plant, although she is better known for her work with flowers, animal skulls, skyscrapers, and the landscape of the American southwest. What a great way to immortalize this curious flower!
Not far away in the open sunshine, a single pussytoes plant reminds me of a bundle of Q-tips. It is striking when seen alone…
…or in a small colony.
Such strange little flowers, with their feathery antenna-like “blooms!” Another white wildflower, Comandra umbellata, may not be as strange looking, but its common name “bastard toadflax” always gets the attention of my wildflower students.
Bastard toadflax is the only plant in its genus, and it has a certain nostalgia for me. When I first began volunteering on the prairie more than two decades ago, I saw this tiny flower while I was bent over weeding. Puzzled, I asked Marj, an older volunteer, for the ID. She laughed. “Oh that!” Then she told me the name, and made me laugh. Marj is gone now, but I always think of her mentoring a newbie volunteer whenever the toadflax blooms.
These tiny wildflowers are just a hint of what’s out there. And so much more is on the way!
2. Signs of Bird Life: Mornings in May are all about birdsong. In the dawn light, I wake to robins chattering their joy, looking forward to the hours ahead. The first oriole showed up at my backyard feeder this morning, and the juncos-–those somber yet jaunty northerly birds, cloaked in nun-like colors–have disappeared, doubtless to their breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada.
On the newly greening prairie, killdeer find the perfect nesting spots in the exposed gravel after the burn. Their signature calls are a soundtrack for any hike in May.
Have you seen them? No? Seeing the killdeer and listening to its heart-tugging, high-pitched cry is reason enough to get outside on the prairie. There is something elemental; something primal, about this particular bird call that always makes me think “spring!”
Other birds leave clues to their presence. Some feathers are breathtakingly soft, subtle.
This feather is a startling shaft of bright color.
I leave the feathers where I find them, even as I wonder what stories they hold. Imagine a bird’s-eye view of the life of the prairie. Supposedly, northern flickers may live up to nine years; red-tailed hawks may live up to 15 years in the wild. What glorious years those must be, spent so high in the sky!
3. The Fragrance of Spring Prairie: I don’t wear perfume, but if you could bottle the smell of the prairie in May, it’s a scent I’d gladly wear. The prairie in May smells like the drifts of wild blue phlox edging the savanna…
…a sweet scent, but not cloyingly so. Fresh. Light.
The fragrance of phlox mixes with the green chlorophyll scent of countless numbers of growing prairie plants and their cradle of damp earth. Inhale. That smell! It’s life itself. Can you feel your heart expand? Do you feel your spirits suddenly lift?
So much joy. You want to shout!
This is spring.
You are on the prairie.
Isn’t it a wonder to be alive?
The opening quote is from a poem, “Fire-Flowers” by Emily Pauline Johnson (1861-1913), who also published under her Mohawk name Tekahionwake. Born on the Six Nations Reserve, Canada West, she was an artist, performer, and poet who authored three collections of poetry, including Flint and Feather (1912). Grateful thanks to Dan Haase who introduced me to this poet.
Join Cindy for a program or class this spring!
Spring Wildflowers of Prairies and Woodlands Online: Thursday, May 6, 6:30-8 p.m. Join Cindy for a virtual hike through the wildflowers of late spring! Hear how wildflowers inspire literature and folklore. Discover how people throughout history have used wildflowers as medicine, groceries, and love charms. Offered by The Morton Arboretum. Registerhere.
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.
Thanks to John Heneghan for his help with bird feather ID this week!
Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.– John Updike
So much rain. Will it ever end?
Rain or shine, it’s migration week on the prairie. New birds arriving daily.
Egrets stalk the prairie streams, or perch high on dead snags.
Red-tailed hawks keep their own vigils, alert for unwary prey.
Resident bluebirds intensify their coloration to deepest sapphire and rust, busy about the business of home building and finding mates. No holding still. See ya later.
In the savanna, the early spring ephemerals are beginning to wane, but there are plenty of exciting flowers if you know where to look. Wild ginger holds its maroon flowers close under its leaves, a secret to all but those in the know. And now that’s you.
The Virginia bluebells cover the woods and savannas in sheets of pinky-purple-periwinkle. This plant has a tiny pollinator.
Not to be outdone, the wild blue phlox pinwheels bloom under rain-washed skies. Wow. That fragrance! Sweet, without cloying.
On the prairie, more blues: Jacob’s ladder, just coming into full flower. Like chips from a pale sky.
Two partially-parasitic prairie wildflowers, bastard toadflax…
…and wood betony (pictured below) are just beginning to flower. The “parasitic” part sounds forbidding in name, but is actually a plus. As a prairie steward, I value these two plants as they create openings for wildflowers and damp down the grasses a bit when the grasses threaten to monopolize the prairie. Read more here for additional info.
On a less scientific note, some Native Americans carried the root of wood betony as a love charm, or used it in various ways to bring feuding couples together. No word on how well it worked for those purposes. But I love the idea that a prairie plant could be so powerful, don’t you?
The new kid blooming on the block this week is hoary puccoon. So unexpected…that orange! A punch of color in the middle of all this rain-inspired green.
And look—common valerian, Valeriana edulis ciliata. A very high quality plant on the spring prairie–Wilhelm’s Flora gives it a “10” out of a possible “10.” Love seeing it throw its “stinky socks” scent into the prairie air. The leaves are edged with thick white hairs, giving them a distinctive silver edge. Valerian’s thick stalks and bunchy flowers remind me a bit of sprigs of cauliflower.
These blooms, these birds, those skies —- alternating between thunder and sunshine, rain and rainbows, cumulus and cirrus—announce that the fast-paced spring life of the prairie is underway. It’s nonstop now. From the tiniest crayfish in its burrow, living their lives mostly unnoticed…
…to the powerful bison, a charismatic megafauna that rules the prairie in all seasons…
…to the familiar field sparrows, now in steep conservation decline—trilling from prairie shrubs, trees, and utility wires….
…the days begin to fill with birdsong, wildflowers, grasses, sedges, new life.
Get ready, the prairie seems to whisper. Fasten your seatbelt. I’ve got so many surprises in store for you.
So much to see now.
So much to anticipate.
The opening quote is by John Updike (1932-2009), an American writer. Most readers think of him as a novelist (Rabbit, Run; The Witches of Eastwick), but I prefer his poetry. If you haven’t read Seagulls or November, click through and see what you think.
All photos and video copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): rain over Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; great egret (Ardea alba), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Schulenberg Prairie Savanna, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), Schulenberg Prairie Savanna, the Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild ginger (Asarum canadense reflexum) Schulenberg Prairie Savanna, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), Schulenberg Savanna, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans); bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata); wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens); common valerian (Valeriana edulis ciliata), DuPage County, IL; devil crayfish (Cambarus diogenes), Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; bison (Bison bison), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; field sparrow (Spizella pusilla)— a species in steep decline–Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; discovering the spring prairie, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL.
“…It is time for a different, formal defense of nature. We should offer up not just the notion of being sensible and responsible about it, which is sustainable development, nor the notion of its mammoth utilitarian and financial value, which is its ecosystem services, but a third way, something different entirely: we should offer up what it means to our spirits; the love of it. We should offer up its joy.” –– Michael McCarthy
May draws to a close. June bugs beat against the porch lights in the evening. An almost “Full Flower Moon” rises on Memorial Day, not quite technically “fully-full” but looking complete.
The sun intensifies its gaze after dawn. It’s hot. In my backyard, the garden blazes into bloom. Giant allium attracts some tiny pollinators.
The poppies open their crinkled blooms. Just in time for Memorial Day week.
Their knock-out color is only matched by the screaming scarlet of the prairie’s Indian paintbrush. The hummingbirds rejoice to see so much red!
Speaking of scarlet, the red-winged blackbirds, wearing their red and yellow epaulettes, sing territorial warnings. Get too close to a nest, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.
The prairie puts away its spring wardrobe in exchange for summer. Goodbye to the smooth wild blue phlox along the shaded prairie edges.
Hello, shaggy little fleabane!
The asparagus-like spears of white wild indigo unfurl their leaves. Soon their white flower spikes will turn heads on the prairie. For now, they bide their time.
Golden Alexanders begin to fade in the suddenly intense heat. The ants frantically work the blooms, knowing their time with this flower is getting shorter.
The sedges humbly make their presence known, mostly overlooked by people wowed by all the new prairie blooms.
It’s the annual transition from spring to summer. So much joy! So much anticipation. What will happen next, here on the prairie?
I can’t wait to find out.
The opening quote is from Michael McCarthy’s (1947-) “The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy.” By turns it is poignant memoir, elegy, and a passionate call to fall in love with the natural world.
All photographs copyright Cindy Crosby: May’s “Full Flower Moon,” about 12 hours before it is “fully full;” giant allium (Allium giganteum), author’s backyard garden, Glen Ellyn, IL; oriental poppy (Papaver orientale), author’s backyard garden, Glen Ellyn, IL; Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea), DuPage County, IL; Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea), DuPage County, IL; red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), Schulenberg Prairie Savanna, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; marsh fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; white wild indigo (Baptisia alba macrophylla), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; common wood sedge (Carex blanda), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL. Thanks to Sherry Rediger and Andrew Hipp for helping make this blog post possible this week.
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” — Shakespeare.
Woodland and prairie wildflowers are praised in poetry and prose; celebrated in song, and immortalized in art. Those colors! That fragrance! Innocent. Fragile. Such beautiful blooms.
And yet. These lovely blooms have a darker side.
Take a walk through a spring woodland. In the Victorian language of flowers in which blooms symbolized certain sentiments from the giver, anemones were often associated with bad luck, illness and death.
Anemones are also known as “windflowers;” from the Greek wind God’s name, “Anemos.” You can see why.
Or look at this colony of trilliums below, edging the prairie. What name would you suggest? Something pretty, right?
Nope. They are known in the vernacular as “the bloody nose flower” or “the bloody butcher.” Memorable? Yes. But most of us would rather settle for “red” or “prairie” trillium.
Even this elegant woodland trillium…
…bears the common name, “drooping trillium.” Not quite as bad as a bloody nose flower, but not a peppy moniker for something so stunning, either.
On the prairie in early spring, the “common valerian” looks like a sweet little flower. But give it a sniff…
…and you’re reminded of the smell of dirty socks after a work-out at the gym. Not a repeater.
When wood betony blankets the early spring prairie, you immediately think of snapdragons, yellow fireworks, or even carnival rides that swirl and turn.
Its other common name is— “lousewort.” This, in the once-mistaken belief it repelled lice on livestock. Could have used some help from marketing, don’t you think?
“Lousewort” might not be the worst name on the prairie, however. When I began volunteering in the tallgrass, this flower was one of the first ones I learned.
Bastard toadflax. Not a lot to love in that name. But a favorite plant of any school group I take out on a walk in the tallgrass, and one they are sure to remember.
Not far from the bastard toadflax is the ethereal wild hyacinth. Its name is nice, but it is associated with an unfortunate Greek legend that goes somewhat like this: When two gods fought for the love of a Greek boy named “Hyakinthos,” one of the gods murdered the boy in a jealous rage. Where Hyakinthos’ blood was spilled, a flower grew. The “hyacinth.”
A crime scene? Not what you’d think of when you see something this exquisite, is it?
The delicate trout lily below–also exquisite–is valued for its medicinal qualities, including as a possible cancer-fighter. Too bad its unfortunate side effect is inducing vomiting. Lots of it.
Who would have thought something so sweet looking could be so nauseating?
And blue cohosh seeds, once used as a coffee substitute, were found to be toxic when not roasted correctly. That’s a bad cup of coffee. Stick to Starbucks.
These are only a few of the wicked wildflowers and their traits. So many beautiful blooms, both on the prairies and in the woodlands!
But don’t be fooled. They’re not just pretty faces.
Which makes them just that much more interesting, doesn’t it?
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English playwright, and widely believed to be one of the greatest writers in the English language. The opening quote in this blog comes from Act 4- Scene 1, of Shakespeare’s play “MacBeth.” The phrase has been widely used in a number of other literary works, including as the title of a murder mystery by Agatha Christy (1890-1976) and a book by Ray Bradbury (1920-2012).
The information above about wildflowers was sourced from a variety of books and online sites. A few of my favorite resources include “The Secrets of Wildflowers” by Jack Sanders; “Native American Ethnobotany” by Daniel E. Moerman; “Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie” by Sylvan Runkel and Dean Roosa; and “Wildflowers of Illinois Woodlands” by Sylvan Runkel. Great books! Go give them a look.
All photos and video clip copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides or Anemonella thalictroides (older name) ), East Woods, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum), Schulenberg Prairie Visitor Station, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; drooping trillium (Trillium flexipes), East Woods, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; common valerian (Valeriana ciliata), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) white trout lily, (Erythronium albidum) East Woods, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), East Woods, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), Schulenberg Prairie Visitor Station, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL.
If a friend gave you a bouquet of Jacob’s ladder blooms, would it be a compliment? Or not? To find out, it’s necessary to consider the Victorian language of flowers and their messages.
I looked at the language of flowers with my wildflower ethnobotany class this week, as we hiked the woodlands and prairie, thinking about way people have viewed blooms throughout history: medicinal, edible, and ceremonial. The idea of attaching meanings to flowers, then sending these messages to your friend or lover by including specific blooms in a bouquet, first began in the early 1800s. Today, floral dictionaries proliferate. The meanings of flowers may vary from guide to guide. The meanings people attach to each species often tell us something about the blooms themselves.
If you sent your love a bouquet of asters, you asked her for patience. Not surprising that asters were chosen for this sentiment, as they are the last blasts of color at the end of a long prairie growing season.
Give someone a buttercup? “You’re acting childish!”
Wild geraniums celebrated your piety.
A lady’s slipper orchid told that special someone– you’re beautiful. Not difficult to see how this bloom got its assigned meaning! Knowing how rare these beauties are — and how long they take to bloom from seed –is to realize that a wild orchid in a bouquet would be a travesty. Much better to admire them in their secret prairie places.
Blazing star? –Try, try again. The disks or “blooms” along the stem open in sequence, one after the other, from the top down.
To add a wildflower to your bouquet from the mustard family,such as the weedy yellow rocket, was to say, You hurt me! Our conservation group pulls this weedy invasive from the prairie; it’s an unwelcome intruder. We put the hurt on it!
Marsh marigold –Let’s get rich! And wow –look at all that gold! The best possible kind of riches.
Woodland phlox, or wild blue phlox –our souls are one. The sweet fragrance of these blooms is one of the signature smells of spring.
In summer, the pale purple coneflower sends the perfect get-well message– wishing you good health and strength. Below it is shown blooming with coreopsis (you’re always cheerful!) and butterfly milkweed (hope). Viewing these beautiful flowers together is a good cure for the blues, if nothing else.
Trillium is considered a tribute to modest beauty. Hmmmm. Not sure how someone would receive that. But how beautiful this spring wildflower is, modest or not.
Violets are a compliment about someone’s worthiness. The violet is also Illinois’ state flower. Although — 1908 lawmakers neglected to tell us exactly which of the eight species of violet in Illinois was chosen!
And –oh yes — those Jacob ladder blooms mentioned at the beginning. The language of flowers tells us their presence in a bouquet was to ask the receiver to let go of your pride.
Guess you’d have to choose the right moment to give that bouquet!
Of course, the best (and only!) way to share the message of flowers today is to leave them blooming on their conservation sites. A spring morning spent discovering “bouquets” in place, or different species with your friend or loved one, then looking at your photos or a field guide over a cup of coffee, reminds us that the value of these blooms is far more than what we immediately see or any messages we contrive to send through them. Rather, we celebrate not only their beauty but also, their struggle for survival, and their persistence in the face of all the odds. They teach us the vocabulary of careful conservation. They encourage us through their presence to preserve what is left. Through these flowers, we learn the language of paying attention.
And perhaps, that’s the best message of all.
(All photos by Cindy Crosby: From top: Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), Curtis Prairie, University of Wisconsin- Madison Arboretum, Madison, WI; swamp buttercup (Ranunculus septentrionalis), The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum), NG; small white lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium candidum), MA; blazing star (Liatris species), NG; yellow rocket (Vulgaris arcuata), MA; marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris), NG; phlox, MA; Schulenberg Prairie summer flowers, MA; white trillium (Trillium flexipes), MA; striped white violet (Viola striata), MA; Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), NG.)
Cindy Crosby is the author, compiler, or contributor to more than 20 books. Her most recent is "Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural, Cultural, and Personal History" (Northwestern University Press, 2020). She teaches prairie ecology, nature writing, and natural history classes, and is a prairie steward who has volunteered countless hours in prairie restoration. See Cindy's upcoming online speaking events and classes at www.cindycrosby.com.