Tour Native Gardens at Cheney Mansion and More with Wild Ones


as told to GCC by West Cook Chapter co-founder Ginger Vanderveer Let’s go a little wild on September 28th and visit the native side of Oak Park during the Green Living and Learning Tour 2013. This stop on the all-day tour serves as the West Cook Chapter Wild Ones September meeting; all are welcome to attend the event and/or to join the local chapter. Wild Ones promotes the use of native plants in landscaping in order to save eco-systems that nurture bees and butterflies – and vice versa.

PotagerCloseUPOn September 28th, starting at noon, visit Cheney Mansion in Oak Park and explore the potager (kitchen garden) there. Our host, Charlie Ruedebusch, will lead a guided tour of the Cheney garden from 1 to 2 p.m, describing how the garden has evolved over the past ten years and sharing the joys and benefits (and pop a few myths) of choosing native plantings in the home landscape. Native plants attract beneficial insects to help pollinate the vegetable garden. Bring a few small paper bags and a pen – you’ll get to collect seeds of the native plants you most desire in your garden.

GoldFinchAfter Charlie’s tour, at 2:30 p.m. there will be an opportunity to join a group bicycle ride across Oak Park searching out food sources for bees, butterflies, and birds. We will visit gardens with native plantings that serve these creatures well.  Bees and butterflies sniff out the fragrance from the nectar of native plants because it’s a fragrance they’ve smelled for thousands of years. Birds chomp greedily on the seeds of these same plants. On the bike trip we’ll admire the diversity of these hardy natives and how well they manage in our soil. Parks, schools and churches offer great opportunities to use green space to feed the creatures that work so hard pollinating the food humans eat. The bicycle tour will make stops at Scoville Park, Jackson Boulevard parkway, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Elmwood Street, Beye School and more.

MilkweedBee029 - Copy (5)The 2013 Tour Map is available so that visitors who wish to see these gardens on their own may stop by these locations as well. From big to small, parkway to front yard, all native to mixed plantings - you’ll see a variety that will inspire you to add some natives to your garden. We also hope to have some sightings of butterflies, birds, and bees. Visiting these treasures at a leisurely pace will be our goal for the afternoon. Join us and feel the simple pleasure of going native.


For more information about the event, including registration information for all 18 sites, visit the tour page at Green Community Connections.