Monday, June 27, 2011

Walking the Woods with Kids

2011-06-26 17.06.36, originally uploaded by dgphilli.
I went on a hike with my husband and two young kids through Starved Rock State Park in Northern Illinois this weekend. The park is a series of canyons that were formed when the glaciers melted, forming a series of rock walls, 50' + waterfalls and sand basins from disintegrating sandstone. When I told my 4 year old daughter that we would be going on a hike to a sand mountain that they could climb, she was beyond excited. So excited, in fact, that she was so focused on getting there that she wasn't really able to enjoy the journey to our destination. Not surprising for a little kid.

In between questions of "are we there yet?", I pointed out tangled tree roots that could have been steps up the cliff, tiny shade flowers, butterflies that crossed our path, interesting moss and lichen, and anything else that I thought may interest her. Not so much. Sand mountain, please!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Gossip: Growing Season 2011 Kickoff

I'm excited about my first entry of Garden Gossip for growing season 2011! Every year, I chronicle my little suburban garden on this blog, mostly for personal reasons so that I can remember what I did right (and wrong) the previous year. I'm not sure anyone else would find it interesting, but if you do, please read on.

To recap the last two years, I have removed about 1/3 of my backyard lawn in favor of an annual "square foot" vegetable garden and perennial planting beds for growing herbs, berries, and privacy ornamentals. The first year, I focused on making the garden beautiful in the classical French garden aesthetic with cute little useless fences that surrounded the pavers. Unfortunately, the bunnies thought the little fence was a joke and decimated most of what I grew. Same for last year, only worse - I think they told their friends. When I asked my fellow gardeners how they controlled the bunnies, they recommended a pellet gun. Ok, I don't like the rodents, but I don't want to kill them. So this year, I put up an ugly chicken wire fence. My garden isn't nearly as beautiful as last year, but so far it has kept the bunnies munching on my grass rather than my herbs. Success! Now I need to figure out what to do about the chipmunk that eats my strawberries just when they are ripe. Grr...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Want to learn more about teaching biomimicry?

Then check out the 2011 Biomimicry Education Summit in Cleveland, Ohio - June 27-29.  If you are in the Chicago region, email me for a promo code to save $150 off the registration. Click here to learn more.