Praire & Butterfly Gardens

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Indian Paint Brush and Phlox

"We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills and the winding streams with tangled growth as 'wild.' Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was the land 'infested' with 'wild animals' and 'savage' people. To us, it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery."

From: Chief Luther Standing Bear of the Oglala Band of Sioux, 1933

Art and Linda got involved with Brookfield Zoo's prairie garden, located at the north entrance of the Zoo on 31st Street, in 1998. They provided seed and prairie plants, including many that are unique and not commercially available.


Zoo Prairie
Click for more
about Brookfield Zoo's prairie

Let them put together an assortment of beautiful grasses and wildflowers for your sunny yard.

Obedient Plant

They will pick plants of varying heights and bloom times for beauty throughout the summer and even into the winter.

Prairie plants create a unique habitat that attracts birds, butterflies and other insects.

Art and Linda's Wildflowers landscape design service can turn any sunny, turf-filled lawn into a vibrant prairie garden.

At right, a sample from nature photographer Mike MacDonald's Brookfield home.

Mike MacDonald's Garden

Original Garden

This large semi-circular garden became overrun with a tall goldenrod. Other species were crowded out.

Pale Purple Coneflower
They can also create a beautiful butterfly garden by planting certain varieties of native plants.

Native plants are the best nectar source for butterflies and provide food for their caterpillars as well. They are also a beautiful addition to your garden and may have a scent that will attract you as well as the butterflies.
Downy Sunflower

Blazing Star

Even a small area can become a butterfly garden that will bloom throughout the summer.

Click her for more photos of a small butterfly garden

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Art and Linda's Wildflowers specializes in turning large, empty, open areas into stunning prairie gardens. Two of their recent projects involved school yards:

For many years, John Middleton School in Skokie, IL had a large, sandy, weedy eyesore of a front yard. In 1999, Art accepted the opportunity to plant a sand prairie, with the plants and grasses one might find at Illinois Beach State Park near Zion.

Middleton School Prairie

Hynes Elementary School

Hynes Elementary School in Morton Grove, IL, hired Art to create a new prairie on a very large, open space with a grant from Lucent Technologies.

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Our collection of prairie and butterfly plants includes:

(click on name or image for more information information)
Dotted Mint
Purple Coneflower
Prairie Smoke
Tall Coreopsis
Prairie Dock
Downy Sunflower
Blazing Star
Culver's Root
Culver's Root
False Sunflower
Rattlesnake Master
Long-headed Coneflower
Red Milkweed
Cardinal Flower
Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower

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Native Grasses

Big Bluestem

Native grasses are beautiful and will make a great addition to your landscape with their differing shapes, colors and textures. During the winter, their drooping, snow-covered seed heads provide shelter for birds and other critters.

Grasses are very important. One-third of the earth's land is covered in grass and two-thirds of the major food crops are grass.

Many grasses form erect, upright clumps, while others spread and form sod. Some do both. Some grow during cool weather: spring and fall, while others grow during the warm summer months. Some like sun, some shade, some both.

You will thank yourself for mixing grasses among your flowers.

Prairie Dropseed

Our collection of grasses also includes:

(click on name or image for more information information)

Indian Grass
Northern Sea Oats
Little Bluestem

Indian Grass

Northern Sea Oats

Little Blue Stem

Our availability list is extensive. We grow many native varieties you cannot get anywhere. If you don't see what you want, just ask. We may have it available later in the season or may be able to get it for you.

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Hot Flash:

On Saturday, April 6, 2002 Ray Schulenberg and David Kropp burned their recently restored 3-acre prairie in Plainfield, IL. Art and Linda were there. To read about an exciting prairie burn, accompanied by breathtaking photographs, click here.

The Prairie Directory of North America

Prairie Directory

This 352-page reference book contains a comprehensive listing of prairies in the US and Canada and is the ONLY book of its kind.

The Prairie Directory of North America pulls together information that heretofore existed in bits and pieces, here and there. It lists and discusses prairies ranging from nationally known landmarks to obscurely located remnants that miraculously escaped the plow.

The prairies in the book are listed alphabetically by County within each State in the United States and by Province in Canada. Each prairie listing has a brief description of its environmental and geological area, a brief description of how to find the prairie, along with a contact phone number for more information about the prairie and its location. Descriptions of the sites' flora and fauna are also included.

The book includes illustrations, an index, glossary and bibliography. The cover is a photograph of the authors' own backyard urban prairie.

The Illinois Audubon Publication, The Cardinal News, calls it "A great resource for prairie lovers." The book can be purchased for $19.95 ($31.90 Canadian) from the authors' website

About the authors: Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz spent their marriage practicing law, bird watching, and enjoying nature. They took early retirements and transformed their backyard into an urban prairie. The success of this project inspired a more intense interest in the North American prairie. The results are this book and another book, which will examine the natural and human history of the prairie. The book was written because of the authors' interest in prairies. The authors hope this book inspires people to visit prairies and also to become interested in protecting and restoring them. They also hope to interest others in protecting, restoring, and viewing them.

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