Perfect Places to Peek at Prairie Plants Prior to Purchase

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By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

In recent years, my perennial tradition is to head into the gardens and natural spaces of Chicago year-round, and particularly just before June, to peek at, and later pick out, one or two new varieties of Illinois native and prairie plants to grow at home. 

As of now, my sustainable landscape is about to bust (and burst into bloom) with all those native plants,partial shade loving to sun needing.  Oh yeah. 

Last weekend, to check out the ease of yet another new and nifty thing to do over a gorgeous holiday weekend,   we decided to "Divvy" up the lakefront for a leisurely look-see, with the idea that I can post-purchase a few gotta-have-now plants at the Oak Park Farmer's Market from Ted's Greenhouse, a purveyor there.

At Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, I was reminded about the late-spring-to-early summer delicate and muted hues of Bluestar and Prairie Smoke, plus the punchy pollinator attracting palette that is Salvia.  For the bees, the Salvia, common name Meadow Sage, was putting on a go-to garden party, a nice sight in light of the plight of the honeybee.

Further north in the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, we observed that it is in various stages of growth, but still offers a fascinating view that is teeming with biodiversity.


And, as I have said previously, The Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadows in Jackson Park are worth the trek, as well as in the category of one more FREE way to view nature --  plants, pollinators, and birds, including  eagles -- in an urban setting.

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