Blog

This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 2-August 8

Plant Updates: Shhh, don't tell the TriState Fire District that this Saturday is 'Sneak Some Zucchini on your Neighbor's Porch Day'.

Garden Giveaway: Available daily in the library's lobby. Depending on our harvests, you will find herbs such as mint, chives, dillweed and sage. We also have kale, swiss chard, carrots, beans and a variety of squashes. If you have any questions about the program, or are interested in donating surplus from your garden, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Megan Lawrence!

Role: Youth Services Associate

Where are you from?: Willowbrook

How long have you been a library patron?: I have worked at IPPL for a little over a year, but I have been a patron for 8 years.

What do you like about gardening?: Lots of thingsIt is relaxing and a great way to spend time outside. I loved helping my parents in their garden when I was little and now, I can share gardening with my kids. It has been fun to explore nature with them through the garden.

Also, there is an artistic element in planning a garden and using plants as the medium. Finally, I really like being able to grow things from seed and see the result, and I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment in sharing my flowers and veggies.

What are your favorite gardening books?:

Native plants of the Midwest : a comprehensive guide to the best 500 species for the garden

Six seasons : a new way with vegetables

What is your favorite thing to grow?Zinnias, Bee Balm, Tomatoes, and Peonies

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase?:

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." Audrey Hepburn

"Mommy look it's a tomato!" My daughter, Clio

Seed Library: Are you interested in helping plant future gardens? To learn what you need to do to save your seeds and donate to our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in our Prairie Patch Art Show! If you participated, your artwork is available for pickup at the Kids & Teens Desk.

This Week in the Prairie Patch: July 12-18

This week's post is brought to you by the letter 'Z' for ZINNIA. In addition to the zinnias found vibrantly blooming in planters outside the front door of the library, there are several individual zinnia plants now visible throughout the Prairie Patch. Look for them intermingled with beds including the carrots, herbs and in Bea's Garden.

Also, there are still spots available for our outdoor Kids + Teens programs scheduled in the Prairie Patch, including a Mud Kitchen, STEM in the Prairie Patch, Mid-Kid yoga and a Mid-Kid Field Day. Click here for schedules and registration information.

Join us for the Prairie Patch Art Show. Calling all artists, reserve your blank yard sign by emailing your name and contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Pick up a sign this week (one per family) and decorate with waterproof materials (permanent markers, oil pastels, acrylic paint, etc.). Bring it back to the library by Thursday, July 23 to be displayed in the Prairie Patch the week of July 26.

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Mary!

Name: Mary Laffey

Role: Gardening Volunteer

Where are you from? Downers Grove

How long have you been a patron? Since I was twelve years old!

What do you like about gardening? I love the idea of creating, nourishing, and caring for something that is both beautiful and useful to the community.

What are your favorite gardening books? The Secret Garden and Mandy

What is your favorite thing to grow? I love our little "tea section" of the prairie patch with the mint, lavender, lemon, and chamomile

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase? "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." - Cicero

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Book Recommendations:

The Complete Summer Cookbook: Beat the heat with 500 recipes that make the most of summer's bounty

The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects

The Big Book of Blooms

Weekly Garden Giveaways: We hope to start these soon!

Seed Library:

It isn't too late to plant your own garden. If you are interested in getting seeds from our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This Week in the Prairie Patch June 28-July4

Interested in knowing what we're growing? The map to the left features what's planted in each bed.

Sensory Garden:

Want a sneak peek for what to 'see' in the next Sensory Garden tour? Look for the beautiful and big yellow hollyhock growing in the perennial bed near Bea's Garden. 

Weekly Garden Giveaways: We will hopefully start these in mid July. 

Book Recommendations:

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

Enchanted gardening : growing miniature gardens, fairy gardens, and more

Container and fragrant gardens: how to enliven spaces with containers and make the most of scented plants

Roses without chemicals: 150 disease-free varieties that will change the way you grow roses

  • Seed Library:

It isn't too late to plant your own garden! If you are interested in getting seeds from our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteering:

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



Craft the Zoo!

We know you miss the LittleShop activities, but you can receive them via email this summer!

We're going to "craft the zoo," making eight animal projects over the next several weeks. All you'll need are paper, scissors, glue, and crayons or markers.

Each project will also be sent with a catalog link to find materials for learning more about all of these favorite zoo animals. IPPL cardholders can request these materials for curbside pickup.

To be added to the LittleShop at Home list, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Activities are designed for ages 7 and under.

If you signed up for LittleShop at Home projects for May, you are already included for Craft the Zoo emails.


Rollick & Roll: Evening Edition

Throw on your PJ's and get ready for a special nighttime version of Rollick & Roll!

Get your wiggles out before bedtime, experiencing different kinds of music, movement, and mindful moments from home:

Thursday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Registration is required and closes 24 hours prior to the event. At that time, you will receive an email with the Zoom login information.

If you miss the deadline, you can still join! Contact Miss Heather at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the Zoom login information up to one hour before the program starts.


Podcasts for Kids & Families

Tired of screen time? Try listening to a podcast! Here are a few of my family-friendly favorites:

Ear Snacks with Andrew and Polly: Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast that parents enjoy and younger kids eat right up.


Wow in the WorldHosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. Go inside the brains, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids: But Why is a show led by real kids's questions! It's a big interesting world out there. On But Why, tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.

Book Club for KidsBook Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions, and a celebrity reads from the book.

ChompersMake tooth time easy with this morning and night tooth brushing show for kids. When it's time for your family to brush teeth, start Chompers. Kids will hear jokes, riddles, stories, fun facts, silly songs and more, that'll keep them giggling - and brushing - for the full two minutes that dentists recommend.



Rollick & Roll Returns Weekly!

Wednesdays, April 29 through May 27, at 10:30 a.m., join Miss Heather for Rollick & Roll online every week!

Experience different kinds of music, movement, and mindful moments, from the comfort of your own home. Rollick & Roll is fun for all ages, but is geared specifically toward families with children birth to 7 years old.

Please register each week you'd like to attend. Registration will close 24 hours prior to each event. At that time, you will receive an email with the Zoom login information.



Online Rollick & Roll Coming Next Wednesday!

It's back! Get ready to experience different kinds of music, movement, and mindful moments, from the comfort of your own home. Rollick & Roll is fun for all ages, but is geared specifically toward children birth to 7 years old.

Registration is required with a working email account to receive the information on joining the event with Zoom.