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Abutilon striatum- Flower Maple

Flowering Maple, Standard Topiary, Urban Gardening, Easy HouseplantAlthough commonly called Flowering Maple, Abutilon striatum, is not a Maple tree. This plant gets this common name because the leaves resemble the leaves of Maple trees. Flowering Maples are in the Mallow family and closely related to Hollyhocks, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon and Okra. Another relative of Abutilon striatum is the weed commonly called Velvet Leaf, while the flowers on Velvet leaf are smaller and the foliage is different the seed pods are similar in both plants. This plant is commonly found throughout South and Central America but is thought to be native to Brazil. In the United States it is grown as a shrub in warm climates and as an annual or houseplant in colder climates.


When I Collect Climbing Lily Seeds

After your exotic Climbing Lily flower (see link for flower photo) fades you'll see an interesting seed pod develop. The seed pod that a Gloriosa Lilies will produce isn't as colorful or exotic looking as the flower but still is interesting to watch as it develops seeds. Withing a few weeks your seed pod will starting splitting at the bottom exposing round tomato-like fruits that contain the seeds you're looking for if you want to propagate by seeds.


"She Fought The Lawn But The Lawn Won"

Earlier in the week I came across the story of Betty Perry, 70 years old, who was arrested after she scuffled with a police officer who went to her home because she had let her lawn go brown. During the struggle Perry fell and injured her nose and according to her attorney, Gloria Allred, she was handcuffed with "bruises and blood." Betty Perry is being charged with resisting arrest and failing to maintain her landscape, both misdemeanors.


The Buzz On Chicago Honey Co-op

Honey Bee pollinating poppy flower, Urban gardening, Apiary, ChicagoIn the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago's west side there is a faint buzz in the air. If you listen carefully you'll notice the noise isn't coming from the construction sites that have sprung up as a result of redevelopment, the noise you hear is coming from honey bees. In the winter of 2004, three urban bee keepers came up with the idea of creating the Chicago Honey Co-op and turning their passion into a business that would also benefit the community it resided in.


Is The Opposition To CCM In Grant Park Racist?

When I first heard of plans to move the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park I was firmly opposed to the idea. I had visions of green space being torn up and replaced by a monstrosity overrun by wide-eyed, sticky-fingered kids. But mostly my opposition stemmed from my jealousy of even more park development for affluent areas of Chicago. Back in March I posted an entry on this gardening blog, titled "Dear Mayor Daley," where I complained about the disparity of park development in undeserved neighborhoods. Today I'm still not pleased with situation we have in many of our neighborhoods that aren't near the lake but I'm no longer in opposition of the Chicago Children's Museum desire to move to Grant Park.


5 Reason Why I Grow Nasturtiums In My Garden

Nasturtium, Edible plant, Urban Gardening
Today I found myself collecting seeds from my Nasturtiums all the while patting myself on the back for making the decision to grow this wonderful annual in my garden. As I was admiring the flowers I started thinking of the benefits of growing this plant and thought of a few but I'll share my top 5 reasons why I grow Nasturtiums in my garden.


Confessions Of A Seed Snatcher

How to collect seeds, seed snatcher, seed saving, seedsA few weeks ago I put the poll in the sidebar of this blog wondering if people would admit to being "seed snatchers." Not surprisingly some of the respondents didn't know what a seed snatcher was or maybe they aren't familiar with the term. I was surprised the number of people who admit to participating in the practice.


The 2007 Great Perennial Divide

The Chicago Botanic Garden, Greencorps Chicago, The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, and Open Lands will be hosting the 2007 Great Perennial Divide on Saturday, September 29th. This is an event where groups and gardeners from across the city of Chicago can swap, donate and/or receive perennials, trees and shrubs.


Slugs In My Garden (Green Thumb Sunday)

Slug, Slug Damage, Garden Slug, How To Get Rid of SlugsRecently after some heavy rains I went out into my garden to collect nasturtium seeds. As I was lifting up some of the foliage, to look for fallen seeds on the ground, I noticed a few slugs. My first reaction was "Cool! A new bug to photograph" but then it dawned on my that having these garden pests in the garden wasn't such a good thing.


Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly

Recently I came across a small light colored butterfly in my garden that at first glance I thought was a Small Cabbage White I had seen in my garden here in Chicago. When I approached the butterfly it fluttered away revealing a blue or gray tint to the upper leaves. I knew immediately this wasn't a Small Cabbage White.

When I Collect Candy Lily Seeds

All of my candy lilies have finished blooming and seeds have started to ripen on the stems of my plants. Two years from now my garden will be filled with these beautiful flowers. Not only did this perennial provide me with interesting flowers during the growing season-but watching the seed development has been just as interesting and informative.


Lords Of The Gourd: The Pursuit Of Excellence

The other day while channel surfing I came across a commercial on my local PBS station for a program called "Lords of the Gourds: The Pursuit of Excellence." Once I got past the cheesy title of the documentary and saw that the program was about a competition involving the growing of giant gourds (pumpkins in particular) I made a mental note to watch it when it airs on Wednesday in Chicago. The PBS website doesn't have a good description of the documentary but I found one on the Rocky Mountain PBS website.

Creative Garden Gate

Home Made Garden Gate, Creative Garden Gate, Garden ArtThis weekend I came across a very creative garden gate made of twigs that I assume the homeowner/gardener made out of branches from their garden. On a city street in Chicago among a row of nice homes and well maintained green spaces this little garden gate stands out when driving past it. I rode by it twice before I finally stopped and snapped this photo of the gate and wanted to talk to the people tending the inviting garden behind it but lost my nerve.