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Feeling Free in Nature

Jay 6a Chicago
7 months ago
last modified: 4 months ago

So nice to see all the insects, birds and animals using the plants I put in the ground. We all agree with the things Doug Tallamy talks about in his books. Anyone is welcome to join in. Lurkers are especially welcome.

Comments (418)

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Cirsium pumilum doesn't need moist soil.

    "Habitat: Dry meadows, woods and sandy floodplains

    Light Requirements: Full to part sun

    Soil Moisture: Dry to medium"

    I ordered 3 of them so I can collect seeds and start a population.

    I do have mock strawberry all over the place.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    I didn't have a clear idea as to whether these native thistles are perennial or not. For pumilum ,discolor, and altissimum it says they can be biennials or short lived perennials. Pumilum and altissimum both die after flowering. We have a rare form of pumilym var. hillii, Hill's thistle. I want to grow the pumilum because it's a lot shorter than the discolor, making it easier to blend into a planting.I don't really have room for a chestnut, but it will never become huge in my lifetime.

    Cirsium pumilum var. hillii


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  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    That’s a pretty thistle. I just have the nonnatives showing up, at least as far as I know. The Monarda punctata has spread a lot. Third year now. Kind of hard to see in the picture, the winter color blends in with the ground. Good thing there is no border around that bed yet.


    Excuse the mess, just started pulling weeds there.

    seek is telling me this is the American field pansy. Correct? Looks like I have the European one, too.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    So, that's Viola bicolor and it's native, and you also have tricolor, Johnny Jump Up from Europe?

    Still snow on the ground, and hard to walk the paths, and muddy. No plants emerging yet.




    I wonder where beavers would be planning on building a dam?
    This area should be carpeted with Virginia Waterleafs in a few weeks.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Yeah its still super early for plants. Supposed to have highs in the 30s until Monday. Waiting for temps to get above 40 at night, around 55 during the day, then I'll spray my cereal rye patch. Planning on spraying around April 10 and planting around April 24th, might be earlier if the warm weather sticks around in mid March.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    It will probably be a few more weeks before the nighttime temperatures here stay above freezing. I hope the weather warms up more gradually than it did last year. It seems like last year it went from the 30s straight to the 90s with no in between. It was too hot to work outside right at the very beginning lol, and then for summer it was in the 110s, you could fry eggs on the flagstone, but my plants proved to be very resilient. Then instead of cooling down gradually for fall it went straight from the 90s into the 30s.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    It was 70 here today. I am afraid a lot of plants are being tricked again. Plum looks like it wants to bloom within a week. Happens almost every year. I could use my own “name that plant forum”. So much stuff popping up. Trying to figure stuff out with google though.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    You can post them here, I need the practice. It's going to reach 60 here Sun., Mon., Tues and Wed.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    60 sounds perfect for som e yard work! Ok, here it goes. This one looks like something you might have identified before for me. Looks a bit different, but this one is also on a kind of dry slope. Ranunculus abortivus?

    This one looks harmless enough, but as fuzzy as it is, would it maybe be mullein?
    pruned back the fig and found this. Thought it looks kind of like milkweed, but also pretty hairy.
    There are a lot of plants I just qualify as weeds since there are many in one area. Hope that’s not a mistake. But I don’t think I have ever seen so many unfamiliar looking ones. This is all happening in one of the flower beds that’s just 4 years old. My old ones have mostly the usual suspects. Weird.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    The top plant is Ranunculus abortivus, the second down looks like Verbascum thapsus, and the last plants might be a Silene species, but I'm not sure.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    Thank you, Jay!

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    Hope you all had a nice day. Back to the pepper weed. Is it a good idea to keep it in the flower bed? I found a bunch more at the edge of one bed and pulled some. They have some serious roots! Any of you have them around? Are they going to take over the world if I leave them where they are? I could put them by the brush pile.

    pretty sure my husband is going to want to mow soon. Have to say I like how colorful it currently is. Even though most are non native weeds. Still being used more by the critters than the lawn it is supposed to be.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    Looks really cool. The deadnettle is all over the place around here too. People regard pepperweed as a weed even the it's a native, I don't know if anything uses it. Picked up this to help out my ID skills

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    This looks like a nice book. I have so many insect ones, but probably need some more. Seek identified a beetle I saw today as common sun beetle. Not native here, but is being studied to be used as pest control. Maybe it got ahead of the study. There have been sightings here in SC on INaturalist. Maybe I should chew on the pepper weed to see if it’s worth keeping around for the salad.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Skip, does that book cover the Illinois midwest too. It sounds like a really good book with keys and everything. That Lawrence Newcomb apparently had an easy system for identifying plants. Lately I've been buying used books in good condition. It's a lot cheaper. That book Braiding Sweetgrass, is there any practical instruction in it, or is it just like prose?

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    The field guide covers the northeast, so there is overlap with the midwest but it will probably miss a lot of plants. I'm interested in the process it uses to get to an ID. Braiding Sweetgrass is all prose.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I want to learn Newcomb's process too. Anthony the botanist in my NPS group was talking about the unique way Gerould Wilhelm was teaching him how to ID plant species. I want to hear more. Anthony talks super fast, my head spins. Right now I think I'm more into learning more rather than trying to be uplifting by reading prose. I have so much respect for the authors who are giving solid scientific instruction rather than writers doing their prose personal ego trip. Yeah it's my medicine makes me this way. Things I want to be growing by summer.

    Caribbean Milkweed
    Buffalo Clover
    Running Buffalo Clover
    Plantago patagonica. I've been searching for seeds a long, long time. Think I'll have to drive 50 miles to find some.
    A real stretch. At the least I might be able to see a living plant in the wild somewhere. I don't know anything about a population in Illinois, but that's going to change soon.
    Asclepias meadii. Again, I'd be happy just to be able to see it. Supposedly a population or more of meadii grows in fields in Kansas, and it gets mowed every year before they can make seeds. Why aren't they being protected? Maybe I'll show up when they mow, and I'll collect some cuttings.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    Wait a minute, its prose in the same sense Nature's Best Hope or a Sand County Almanac are prose. It examines people's relationship to land and each other, and illustrates how that can be re-evaluated for more sustainable and rewarding relationships.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Wait Skip, I think it's just the author's personal style, because I love reading everything Doug Tallamy says and he makes it very enjoyable. I think maybe I'm just not in the mood to read a book right now. I'm going to start the online training to be a monitor. I don't know how much all my knowledge will help? I might pass on the Arboretum class, maybe too much to be doing at 1 time. I never even heard of Sand County Almanac wow. I'm not looking it up lol.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    I don’t have the Braiding sweetgrass book, but have to say I rather read the books like Bringing Nature Home than the scientific textbooks. This one inspired me to try to do better. And that’s really all you can hope for with the average person. I don’t think many go into this as deep as you two are. Well, Dandy, too I suppose. I have some books, but they all have plenty of sticky notes with stuff I mean to google to understand. So normal kind of Field Guides is what it is for me. I do go down the rabbit hole of Google with some insects though. Meanwhile the nightly happenings 10 feet from my front door :)

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    Jay, did you plant the Buffalo clover already? Looks like this one is native here, too.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    There is a trail with natural land next to my subdivision and the deer have started coming out and looking for food in the neighborhood. They were eating my birdseed and I saw their tracks in the snow. There might be more of them out there at night once I start planting more natives in the front. I wonder if they will eat the Aralia racemosa? They completely devour my Aralia spinosa. I haven't got the 2 Buffalo Clovers yet.


    There must also be a full sun prairie Carex guide hmmm? 🤔💡

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Sedge ID is dedication. You're one of the sedge people now, a whole new level. Carex brevior can take full sun off the top of my head. A bunch of the pond margin and wet soil sedges can take full sun too.

    Braiding Sweetgrass isnt as scientifically grounded as Nature's Best Hope, but that's the point. It's based on the authors revelations and experience with native american culture, and as a university professor and practitioner of restoration ecology. The message is similar but the actions to take aren't as clearly defined, and the data and citations aren't at the center of the argument. The writing is a lot more poetic and illustrative.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    I potted up 24 Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii from last year's tray into 3.5" square x 5" deep pots. I don't know if this is the regionally appropriate variety. The species was extirpated from NJ so I don't think it really matters. I have some Liatris scariosa from Bowman Hill too, it will be interesting to compare them side by side.



  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    My Liatris still potted are all unlabeled. Not sure what is what. I think I might have some scariosa var nieuwlandii somewhere. They all look similar when they're little.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago


    Camassia scilloides, Wild Hyacinth
    Saint John's Wort, Hypericum spp.
    Geum triflorum, Prairie Smoke, Primula media, and a Pucoon, Lithospermum.
    Hydrophyllum apendiculatum, Giant Waterleaf
    Symphyotrichum cloud
    Lilium michiganense, Michigan Lily
    Wetland Lobelia cardinalis, Eutrochium spp, Anyone know what the snakey purple flowers are.
    Prairie Smoke a few weeks later associates Aquilegia canadense, Penstemon digitalis, Zizia, etc.
    Hibiscus moscheutos, Typha spp., a rush? Juncus effusus.
    The Prairie Dropseed themed native planting early in the season, with Penstemon digitalis and Asclepias tuberosa.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    Nice pictures! Looks like you can’t wait for Summer. Since you are practicing, know what this is? I saw it first last Summer, but since it was buried under another plant and didn’t bloom, I forgot about it. Looks like some bugs or slugs are eating it.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago


    Twinflower, Linnaea borialis
    Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
    Gentiana saponaria, Soapwort Gentian
    Sarracenia purpurea
    Drosera rotundifolia, Equisitum spp. Sphagnum moss.
    Viola lanceolata, Northern Bog Violet polyphyllus
    Streptopus lanceolatus, Rosybells
    Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master
    Lupinus polyphyllus, Big Leaf Lupine
    Pinguicula vulgaris, Common Butterwort.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Iris, it looks like an Erigeron to me, but I would leave it to see the flower.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Erigeron philadelphicum is a favorite of mine. I noticed it did multiply a lot in the area near the base of the plant.

    Cropped your image, snakey purple flower might be Liatris spicata, I'm growing this from Pinelands Nursery seed this year. I have, I think, even more corms I grew from Liatris spicata 'goblin' seed last year than the 32 Liatris scariosa. Goblin is another name for the 'Kobold' cultivar they sell everywhere; so size-reduced it might as well be a different plant.

    Unrelated, does any grow any Lespedeza? Lespedeza virginica is really nice looking.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Yes it is Liatris. I think I have a couple spicata kobold plants. I sowed some of it's seeds. I wonder if they could revert to growing taller. There's also Asclepias syriaca and looks like Rudbeckia hits in there. I would like to grow our endangered Lespedeza leptostachya. Hopefully I might soon find out where it's growing so I can visit it, or monitor it.

    Lespedeza leptostachya, Prairie Bush Clover
    Lespedeza viginica, Slender Bush Clover. I like it.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago


    Ruellia caroliniensis
    Ruellia strepens
    Ruellia humilis

    Link tells how to know the difference between caroliniensis and strepens.

    https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/sm_petunia.htm


  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    I am not growing Lespedeza virginica. But need to look since I think I should :)

    Jay is it warming up in your area yet? Was beautiful here today. Tree pollen is certainly starting up. First of the Chinese Praying mantises hatched today.

    Jay 6a Chicago thanked Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    It's warming up Iris. Nothing is emerging yet. I went to the woods and the Skunk Cabbage isn't showing either.






  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    Love the moss! Looks like you still have a bit of snow hiding. Well, ordered myself some Lespedeza virginica seeds. Thanks, Skip!

    My petunias are not showing themselves yet.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    Nice, Iris. Where did you get seed? I was trying to order Lespedeza virginica, VA Ecotype from Ernst Seed. Their pics of it are really nice https://www.ernstseed.com/product/slender-lespedeza-va-ecotype/, but it was out of stock. Maybe later in the year they'll have it again, or I'll find a live plant somewhere else local. Need to put the Asclepias quadrifolia and amplexicaulis seeds in for cold moist stratification now.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    4 months ago

    I ordered them on Etsy from Seedville. Not the first time I ordered from them. I would rather go with plants. Can you start the cold stratification this time of the year and plant the seeds when it’s already hot?

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I'm going to get some little condiment cups and do all my CMS in those from now on. I had Asclepias seeds wrapped in moist paper towels for 2 months without changing the towels. Then I left the baggies out for 3 days and when I opened them bam they were sprouted, but I lost about 3 because the roots were snagged in the paper towel. The nivea seeds are on the way , cool!

    Asclepias nivea, Caribbean Milkweed.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    The Lespedeza virginica seeds only need 10 days of CMS. They should be good to go after that. I don't think it will he too hot yet, so I would plant them. You will have to scarify the seeds. Prairie Moon removes the hulls on their Lespedeza virginica seeds, so their seeds don't need to be scarified. I'm going to ask a guy how he germinates the Frasera caroliniensis.

    Frasera caroliniensis

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago


    Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko. Uroplatus phantasticus.
    Polygala incarnata
    Polygala balduinii
    Polygala nana
    Bolitoglossa robust, climbing salamander
    Dryocopus pileatus, Pileated Woodpecker.

    Galaxies
    Broken Rainbow
    Erythronium umbilicatum
    Danthonia spicata, Poverty Grass

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    I put my milkweed, and other seeds earlier, in damp coffee filters. Once the CMS time is up, I'm going to plant them in trays and pots of soil, don't want them to sprout on the paper. It will be around early-mid April when the seeds are done with CMS which is perfect temperature-wise for putting seeds outdoors. Although, I do plant to start the milkweed indoors, then move outdoors to the hoop house, before finally planting in the fall.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    So Skip, what's the advantage of using coffee filters over paper towels? I'm guessing the radicals won't dig into and get snagged in the coffee filters? I ordered a hundred 2 oz. condiment cups with tops. They should last forever. No more snags. They're useful for germinating legume seeds so you can easily see what's going on. Some of my quadrifolia seeds from Mike looked small and thin, and germination was low, like 50% or lower. I got my seeds a while after you got yours, so maybe you got a better batch than me. I only ended up with 2 quadrifolia plants last year. I would have had more, but they got messed up in the tiny 72 cell trays. Normally I soak the milkweed seeds in water for a few days after CMS. A few species didn't sprout after 3 days in wet paper towels, so they are sitting in water now.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I don't know if there is actually any advantage to using the coffee filters. I figured it would be easier to get the smaller seeds off the coffee filters. The quadrifolia seeds were kind of small compared to common milkweed but there were 16 in the package.

    I have a couple clear plastic containers with lids, left over from salads, I'm going to put some soil in the bottom and keep it covered until they germinate and grow some. Then I can pot them up.

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I'm trying to find some Danthonia compressa seeds, you reminded me of it with the Danthonia spicata picture. I just asked Cornell botanical gardens if they knew where I could get some haha. They have it in their native lawn https://cornellbotanicgardens.org/explore/on-campus-natural-areas/native-lawn-demonstration-area/

    Wavy hair grass is nice too, Deschampsia flexuosa. They sell that at a nursery nearby.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Half my milkweeds are popping, and there's not much happening to the pots that were on the right side of the T5. I'm worried that the light was too close to those pots and they cooked. I took the baggies for humidity off of those pots. It looked and some amplexicaulis seeds were still good, and the pot tipped over and a bunch of soil spilled out. LOL Another mishap. I just packed everything back in and sprinkled sand over the top for good luck.🙏🙏🙏

    There's at least 1 fungus gnat flying around. Maybe if I run the metal halide light when the T5 is off, any fungus gnats will fly unto it and get fried. Is there a dunk or something I could use when watering that would kill them naturally? So I'm worried and I just put more seeds into moist coffee filters for 30 more days CMS. This is backup in case the other ones never pop up. I give people who sell plants or run nurseries a lot of credit, because it's a lot of time consuming work, taking care of plants. I'll check out those grasses you mentioned. I wanted to do about 50 percent of the front lawn in shorter grasses and sedges, and I want different textures intermingling, so these curly grasses can help do that. The garden half will be all crazy, imagine having Prairie Dock with its ginormous leaves in the front yard.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Skip, have you ever seen or heard about an almost true red flowered Asclepias tuberosa species out there by you? I was wondering if there really were any, and this guy told me there are some in New Jersey


    .

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago


    Triodanis perfoliata, clasping Venus' looking glass
    Geum triflorum , Prairie Smoke
    Agastache foeniculum , Anise Hyssop
    Viola sororia , Common Blue Violet
    Symplocarpus foetidus, Skunk Cabbage
    Delphinium tricorne, Dwarf Larkspur
    Sanguinaria canadensis, Bloodroot

  • Skip1909
    4 months ago

    I've seen the plants at the old track section at Monmouth battlefield, they were definitely not red. It's the only place I've seen Asclepias tuberosa growing wild around here. Unless there is another population I didn't see somewhere else. I didn't explore the north section which is completely separated from the main park by an orchard and a road.

    Why don't you try the sticky tape fly traps?

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    I started a new thread. This thread is over 400 now.

  • javiwa
    4 months ago

    I'm still following along...name of new thread, please? :)

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