Moving into the heart of summer

When people think of summer, most think of the beach, BBQs, or baseball. I think of the prairie.  Coneflowers, Indian grass, big and little blustem, songbirds, dragonflies, blue skies that seem to go on forever… to me, more than anything else, these things represent summer. Sadly, in my home state of Illinois, less than 2000 of the original 22 million acres of Illinois prairie remains.

In recent years, there has been a movement to restore some of our original native prairies. One of the earliest examples of this movement is the Schulenberg Prairie, at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Begun in 1961, the Schulenberg prairie stretches over 100 acres. From April through October, the prairie is ablaze with colorful blooms. In October and November, asters and native grasses combine to create a sea of purple, red, orange and yelow, swaying gracefully in the autumn breeze. November and December bring a wave of migrating birds, passing through on their way to winter homes in the south.

Beauty can be found on the prairie in virtually every month of the year. But for me, there’s no time like summer on the prairie…

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