April 17 Program: Native Orchids of Illinois, Kathleen Garness
April 17, 2016 2:30-4:30 PM. Room 259, The Priory, 7200 W Division St., River Forest, IL
Many people are completely unaware of Illinois’s incredible biological diversity, and its national and international leadership role in conservation. Kathleen will present an overview of all of Illinois’s native orchid species with some considerations about their conservation and future as ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of habitat and surface water quality.
Kathleen Garness has been studying and illustrating orchids - native and tropical - for decades. Her artwork has been exhibited widely and her articles published in many venues, including Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Smithsonian in Your Classroom, and Keys to Nature - Orchids on the Field Museum website. Kathleen brings both an artist’s and a natural areas steward’s perspective to native orchid conservation.
Free and open to the public. Park on the east side of The Priory and enter through the door on the east. Follow the hallway to the end, turn left, and follow that hallway. Turn right up the stairs (or go straight to the elevator), and head up to the second floor.
For the accessibility entrance, enter through the south doors. There is an elevator, which goes to the second floor. Exit the elevator and turn left for Room 259.
Photo: Kathleen Garness
Special Showing of Symphony of the Soil
April 3, 2016 1:30 PM, 2400 Desplaines Avenue, North Riverside, IL
Plant Sale Pre-order Until April 15th
Plant sale pre-ordering is still open, but there are only a few more weeks left, and there are limited quantities of certain plants. Wild Ones members receive a discount of 10%; use this discount code at checkout: MEMSAVE10. Browse and shop here: https://wild-ones-west-cook.myshopify.com/
New blog post: 5 Reasons Why Edible Gardens Need Native Plants.
Monarchs in the News
You may have heard about the severe winter storm in Mexico that is expected to create a 50% mortality rate in the overwintering population. It is a reminder that these animals are under a great deal of pressure (read here about the quasi-extinction risk the eastern population faces: Monarch Joint Venture), and we need to continue to develop habitat for them and for all of the other animals that are increasingly vulnerable to the multiple stressors they face. E.O Wilson's new book calls for setting aside 50% of the Earth for the other animals and organisms that also live here. Perhaps we should aim to preserve 50% of our yards/landscapes for other animals?
Photo: Debby Preiser
Spring Clean-up Tips
Follow some of these tips from Stephanie Walquist, long-time butterfly gardener and Vice-president of West Cook Wild Ones.
Hopefully to provide overwintering refuge to bees, butterflies, moths, and other beneficial insects, you left your garden standing or parts of your garden (read Heather Holme's post here at Restoring the Landscape
). If stems are broken, lying down on the surface, now is a good time to clip them where they are broken, and place them in small tidy piles if you like or lightly stacked in a passive compost pile. Why? It is possible, that in the stem are overwintering larvae of native bees that use stems as a nesting place. Be sure to check for chrysalides too. If you do find one, you should leave the stem standing or keep it somewhere where the butterfly can emerge later this spring.
You can also make sure leaves have not accumulated to too deep of a layer over emerging plants. Most of our native plants will force their way up through the leaves with no problem at all, but if there are several inches, there is the possibility they will smother or weaken the plants, particularly if we have an extended damp period. You can simply move the leaves off to the side of the plant and keep a light layer over the plant to protect them during periods of wild temperature swings. I would not recommend at all raking out the garden because beneficial insects are still in winter hibernation.
Leaving stems and other plant material that take a long time to break down also helps to increase soil biodiversity, particularly fungi which are the organisms responsible for breaking down the lignin in stems and the tough part of leaves. We want as much fungi as possible in our gardens--most of them have a symbiotic relationship with our plants. The nutrition that went into building the stems will be recycled back into the soil. As they break down, the stems provide important habitat to beetles, etc.