1. Witch-hazels abloom- mid January !!! ??? A tad early?

    January 27, 2020 by MAX

    Wow. I’ve always been aggaga come 1st sighting of something popping – usually late winter /early spring. But the first half of January? That’s a record sighting for me. In the Midwest we are lucky to get a few sprigs popping through the crusty earth and snow come late February- even Witch-hazels (Hammemalis x med. cultivars) (though they usually bloom in late winter in the Chicago region). But mid – January – this was a colorful surprise for me. I Cannot say enough about Witch hazels. Every garden should have a few! And great fall colors too. A warm and easy winter it has been to date!

    Ed Max, naturalist, cert. arborist, and landscape designer,  specialty in native species and native landscapes.
    a very cool and unusual sight in our natural woodlands on 1-14-20

    Witch- hazels add color to your landscapes and are a perfect fit for shade gardens, woodland beds, or under shade trees, and in the natural landscape setting. Pollinators will seek this beauty out on warmer winter days as well, so how cool is that?

    Now is the time to get thinking about the landscapes and perhaps a new garden design, or a few new trees for the yard. Consider Native landscapes, and native species too, for the benefit of insects and wildlife !

  2. The peril of our beloved Monarch

    November 30, 2013 by MAX

    PLANT, PRESERVE AND ADVOCATE FOR THE MILKWEED FAMILY (Aesculus),

    WHY?

     

    This plant family is the the only lifeline for the endangered Monarch butterfly. On it’s migration northward from the depleted forests where it winters to the wind-swept prairies of the Southwest, to the monoculture cornfields of the Midwest; the monarch is not doing well. And then there it the MONSANTO monster called ‘BT’ ready corn. This genetically altered corn hybrid creates pollen that, once adrift, kills all larvae, including that of the monarch butterfly. So, there you have it. In a decade or two, you may only see images of monarchs on a site like this. Let’s hope not.

    milkweed, (aesculus syriaca

    Fragrant, draws all osrts of unusual bugs, and of course-the Monarchs, which will lay eggs on this plant

    They may rebound.  But it is not looking so swell. From record populations (in Mexico during winter) in the hundreds of millions  documented for a millennia, to a paltry few million or less this year is alarming, as seen (or not) in the forests on one small but important area near central Mexico. There too the problems for this fragile creature are present: illegal logging.  Though slowed and perhaps even stopped, the damage has been done. It seems that the lack of dense forest cover in the mountains where they used to ‘ drape the trees’, has thus allowed colder temperature to penetrate- and a few winters have had devastating results.

    natives, miklkweed, aesculus, maxlandscape.com

    Monarch larvae on a milkweed plant seen in one the natural areas near Chicago .