Blog

This Week in the Prairie Patch: September 20-26

Tuesday 9/22 is the first day of Fall! Are you doing anything special to celebrate? The weather is supposed to be lovely all week, so come enjoy the new season during a visit to the Prairie Patch.

Plant Updates:

Lead by volunteer extraordinaire, Cathy Streett, we are starting to winterize the Prairie Patch. This includes planting cover crops (red clover, oats, and peas) to help add nitrogen into the soil for healthier plants next year. We will continue to harvest and share via Garden Giveaways through the end of September. We will also do an official fall clean-up in October and plant our remaining plants and bulbs in anticipation of Spring.

Book Recommendations:

Container Gardening for all Seasons

Fine Cooking Soups and Stews: No-fail recipes for all seasons

All the President's Gardens

Share Your Prairie Patch Story:

Did you have a memorable experience in the Prairie Patch this summer? Reading in the shade, eating ice cream on a bench, playing in the Mud Kitchen? We're harvesting highlights to share on the blog the end of the season. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your story.

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.

This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 30-September 5

Sunflowers are the plants to 'see' this month for our Sensory Garden. Look for the blue signs to help guide your sensory experience .

Plant Updates: Despite our garden team's hard work, the heat and lack of rain has definitely gotten to a few of our plants, especially the squash and cucumbers. There are still blossoms and small fruits growing on these plants but we have seen the loss of foliage and vines. Did you know squash and cucumbers are related? They are both members of the gourd family and botanically both are considered fruit, even though they are often considered vegetables. 

In good gardening news, we have several types of peppers now visibly bearing fruit and our tomatoes continue to ripen. Garden Giveaways remain available in the lobby. Our harvest days are typically Monday, Wednesday, Saturday.

Book Recommendations:

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest

The Joy of Pickling

Ultimate Book of Step-by-Step Cooking and Gardening Projects for Kids

Share Your Prairie Patch Story:

Did you have a memorable experience in the Prairie Patch this summer? Reading in the shade, eating ice cream on a bench, playing in the Mud Kitchen? We're harvesting highlights to share on the blog the end of the season. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your story.

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.



This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 23-29

European paper wasp on tropical milkweed. Photo by Cathy Streett

Plant Updates: We continue to see a variety of blooms in the garden, including zinnias, butterfly bush and tropical milkweed (pictured left) The orange impatiens at the north end of the garden have tripled in size since being planted in June. Our regular harvesting continues on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Through our Garden Giveaway program (available in the lobby) we have harvested and shared over 43 pounds of produce so far this season.

Be a citizen scientist! Our friends at Journey North have started their fall Monarch watch and are looking for observations to help document the fall migration. Click here to learn more and participate.

Book Recommendations:

Pugtato Finds a Thing

Jam Session: A Fruit-Preserving Handbook

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

The Ultimate Container Gardener: All you need to know to create plantings for spring, summer, autumn and winter

Share Your Prairie Patch Story:

Did you have a memorable experience in the Prairie Patch this summer? Reading in the shade, eating ice cream on a bench, playing in the Mud Kitchen? We're harvesting highlights to share on the blog the end of the season. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your story. 

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.




This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 16-22

Plant Updates: This week we're harvesting dill, sage, carrots, beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, kale and mint. Look for our Garden Giveaway table in the library's lobby. 

Sensory Garden: Don't miss the sunflowers! They are blooming in several beds. The rest of the sensory garden includes dill, sage, squash and ornamental grass. Look for the blue signs indicating this curated experience.

Programming: We have a handful of outdoor programs for kids, including a Monday morning yoga class on August 24. Click here for more information and to register.

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 Natalie!

Role: Library staff

Where are you from? Michigan originally, but I've lived in Chicago most of my adult life

How long have you been a library patron? I have worked at IPPL for 7 years

What do you like about gardening? I love the magic of watching new things grow out of seemingly nothing. I love the first sprouts of spring and every new little zucchini or pepper that appears. I also like realizing just how many seeds we eat as food...like peas, corn, and beans.

What are your favorite gardening books?A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown

What is your favorite thing to grow? I like growing things in the "cucurbits" family - squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and cucumber.

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase? "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." –Audrey Hepburn

Book Recommendations:

Seed saving: A beginner's guide to heirloom gardening

Show up for salad: 100 more recipes for salads, dressings, and all the fixins you don't have to be vegan to love

Red Pepper, yellow squash: A book of colors

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.


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.