A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

How Does Your Garden Grow?

2007062402.jpgOurs keeps going and going! The prairie will be in full bloom very soon. Right now the Sand coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) is in bloom and the Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is starting to open. It’s very fragrant right now in our backyard, but not overpowering. Here you see Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) in the foreground. The Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum) is already over 5-foot tall and another of my favorites, Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), is shooting up its flower stalk. The stalk will reach 8-9 feet, but for a plant with very large leaves, it has a very small flower.

2007062401.jpgThe neighbor’s double fence is almost completely obscured. As I’ve mentioned, both the cyclone and privacy fences are theirs, and it goes all the way around their property like that. I don’t know why.

When the wood fence was being installed a year ago, I thought “Great! The privacy fence will look so much better than the ugly cyclone fence!” But then both fences remained. I tried to get the village to do something about it, and they said they would, but nothing has changed. If we were going to remain here I would have been persistent about getting it taken care of, but I’ve got better things to do nowadays.

I like these neighbors a lot and right now they’re renting the house, so apparently the owner did that. Again, I don’t know why, especially since a fence was already there. Maybe the tenants made it part of their rental agreement to have a privacy fence and the owner was too cheap to remove the cyclone fence first and/or didn’t care about getting it done properly or how it would look.

However both fences plus a little outdoor pen didn’t manage to keep the neighbor’s African Leopard Desert Tortoise from escaping one day. They were sure that he was hiding out in our prairie since tortoises eat a lot of vegetation. We all looked for him, but no luck. They found him about 5 days later down the block and across the street in someone’s yard. They said he seemed to be “happy” to be home that night —— he sat with the family all night while they watched TV (they didn’t say if he watched too).


  1. southsideandy on June 24, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    That is an AWESOME little prairie going there…I’m jealous. 🙂 I have about a two-foot wide berth between my sidewalk and fence, even with a slightly larger than normal lot.

  2. denise on June 24, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks southsideandy! Yours may be shallow but you could definitely get a nice little prairie garden going in that space. Wild bergamot is in the mint family, which tends to spread quickly, so I’d probably stay away from that—but there are plenty of other options for you: purple coneflower; Northern dropseed; Indian grass is tall and doesn’t seem to spread too much; maybe some goldenrod or aster; things that stay a little more compact. There’s lots of others too. And it’s super easy to take care of—we never even water it!

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