Cool Links

Books: Chicago Region

Chicago Region Garden Bloggers
WBEZ Environment
Always current-amazing that he keeps up with all the “right now” stories (of course, he is working for a radio station…) ! I like the way Chris thinks: very interesting topics around the region.
A design blog by Debra Phillips, owner of Scentimental Gardens in Geneva, IL. She is the queen of the beautiful:  an incredible sense of plant design and antiques.  I am always so excited to take a field trip to her shop.
Great blog about gardening in the Midwest, written by Patricia Hill.
“The Deep Middle” is a great garden blog, but also deserves a “Cool Link” because of Benjamin’s links for The Ultimate Pollinator Native Plant Guide.

Chicago Region Garden & Nature Photographers
Arthur Lazar
Arthur Lazar was born and raised in New Mexico where he began his work in photography. Mr. Lazar’s published books include Of Earth and Timbers Made, photographs of native New Mexican architecture, A Garden For All Seasons, color photographs for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s centennial celebration, and Intimate Landscapes, a monograph published in 1993 by Lake Forest College. He has taught photography at the University of New Mexico; Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology; Ohio University; Columbia College, Chicago; Lake Forest College, Illinois; Santa Fe Community College; and in numerous private workshops. A longtime resident of Highland Park, Illinois, he currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Chicago Region Garden & Nature Writers
Michael Bryson
Bryson’s academic background is in literature and biology. Currently, his research and writing focuses on city-based nature writing and the evolving notion of “urban wilderness,” as well as the environmental and literary history of the Chicago region. More generally, his interests include the sustainability of cities and suburbs; urban ecology and environmental writing; and the study of literature’s relationship to science and nature. He writes a monthly column on environmental, political, and cultural issues for his hometown newspaper, the  Joliet Herald-News.
Julia Daniel
A professor of English at Loyola University Chicago, Julia Daniel is currently working on a book entitled, Building Nature: City Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Modern American Poetry.

Community Gardens
Christy Webber Farm and Garden

Conservation and Environment Websites
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Illinois Wildflowers
This website contains descriptions, photographs, and range maps of many wildflowers and other plants in Illinois. These plants consist primarily of herbaceous flowering plants and some woody plants, whether native to Illinois or introduced from somewhere else. A wildflower, as defined here, is any flowering plant that flourishes and reproduces on its own without any direct assistance (or very little assistance) from people and their activities. A wildflower may occur in natural areas of high quality, or it may occur at ecologically degraded sites that are disturbed by human-related activities. The flowers of these plants may be large and showy, or they may be small and insignificant. Some non-flowering plants are included in this website (e.g., ferns & horsetails); such plants produce spores, rather than flowers and seeds. Website created by Dr. John Hilty, Champaign, IL
Northeast IL Invasive Plant Partnership
Solar Action Alliance
This website exists to educate visitors and provide them with opportunities to get involved with solar. It includes a petition, a blog full of informative articles, location-specific solar infographics, and much more!

Guides
Regional Plans for Chicago and the Lake Michigan Region, Chicago’s Bird Agenda of 2006

National and International Blogs
“Grounded Design” by landscape architect Thomas Rainer was recommended by Chicago landscape architect Christopher Gent. I agree: I like this man’s enthusiasm and critical spirit.
Written by my pal Dr. Loui Franke. She has transplanted from Key West to Paris, and has even written a book by the same name, Parisian Postcards. She finds all these wonderful nooks and crannies in Paris. Oh-la-la, Loui! Almost as good as being in France. Or not.
Noel Kingsbury is probably the only foreign gardener to pay attention to. Love his perspective!!
This is the website of the IL Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. It is top notch. Look no further for what’s hip in Chicago landscapes.
If you are trying to locate a landscape designer to create a beautiful garden or landscape for your property, this is the website to consult.  I have been a member of this group, the Landscape Design Association of Chicago, for 100 years. I joined after going to a luncheon and all the dames at my table talked about varieties of compost for the entire time. Ahhh, what could be better than that?

Oddball Services You Should Know
Illinois Sawmill Directory
If you have Ash, Maple, Walnut, Cherry, or Oak trees that you are about to cut down, consider having a portable sawmill come to your house and make planks out of the trees. We did this and after a few years of letting the planks dry in our garage’s attic, we used them for making closet shelves and our kitchen and dining room tables.

Organizations: Birds
Bird Conservation Network

Organizations supported by The Weedpatch Gazette
The Sierra Club is one of the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the U.S.
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.
Here’s the group I’d work for if they had a Chicago office. Earthjustice is based in San Francisco and is the absolute “go to” group for lawyers who crusade for protecting our health; preserving wildlife and wild places; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. “We exist because the earth needs a good lawyer”. Amen to that. Their success rate is phenomenal.
Since 1905, Audubon has been working to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. There’s bound to be a local chapter near you (search by your zip by clicking here) and you will learn a lot about ecology and plants from birdwatchers.

Plant Societies
The Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society
This is one of my very favorite groups, and they let Illinois gardeners in without gasping, frowning, or growling. A great group of knowledgeable people. Join it, no question.