Getting on the Prairie Path

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

After attending FRED 2013 (Frederick Law Olmstead in Riverside Education and Design) symposium last month, and while there hearing what  all-around gardening pro and native Berwynite Roy Diblik had to say about a few local prairies, I had to see for myself it it was true.  

Even though he is not a prairie gardening purist, Diblik did have a few suggestions for gardeners like me who are experimenting with the feasibility of growing a variety of native prairie grasses in a smallish urban landscape with what I hope is adequate sun. 

For anyone who is an avid gardener, or gardener of any grade, and doesn't know about Diblik's "know maintenance" approach, they should consider taking a road trip to his native and perennial farm in Wisconsin, pick up one of his many books, or hop on the el into Chicago to stroll through Lurie Garden, or one of his other public spaces he's designed to experience his philosophies, and of course the year-round beauty of what he puts into place.  

Or just go on a prairie crawl this October, as we have been doing.  Our first stop was Wolf Road Prairie, which has all browned up beautifully by now.  Happily, it is a quick drive from here, about 15 minutes due west.

Last weekend we headed to Schulenberg Prairie at the Morton Arboretum where we witnessed groupings of trees turning shades of yellow and orange, plus a patch of prairie land that took our breath away. 

On tap for us is the Gensburg Markham Prairie, which is about 45 minutes south, and down the road will be a few of the projects affiliated with The Wetland's Initiative's open space project to learn why wetlands are more valuable wet than dry.  For us, that will mean an afternoon spent at the Dixon Prairie (it is preserved on 15 acres of land and has six prairie ecosystems) via the Chicago Botanic Gardens, which is an anytime jaunt for plant people, and a great haunt for the entire family, especially in October, with the festivities of Halloween heating up.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad