The use of native plants in landscape design is a growing trend as gardeners and landscapers learn more about sustainability and the important ecological role native plants provide in the environment. But though the concept may finally be gaining momentum, it is not new to landscaping.

There is a growing body of research supporting the use of native plants in landscaping to preserve local biodiversity and sustain native wildlife populations. Currently, much of our urban plant composition is not composed of native species, based on a historical preference for non-native, ex…

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Staff writer Paul Wood chats with the retired UI Geography Department staff cartographer and lecturer and latest winner of the Illinois Arts Legacy Award. He's had a long relationship with Japan House, whose gardens he designed, donated, and constructed and continues to maintain.

Partridge pea, an annual native plant that frequents prairies, has special nectar glands outside its flowers that attract ants, which defend it against leaf herbivores and seed predators through aggressive, defensive behavior or by removing herbivore eggs directly from the plant.

Fall weather can create ideal planting conditions, with temperatures cooling off and roots requiring less moisture. In addition, we typically get a good amount of rain to help ensure adequate soil moisture going into winter.

On a beautiful fall-like morning last week, a group of East Central Illinois Master Naturalists helped Urbana Park District Natural Areas Coordinator Matt Balk clip Canada goldenrod stems to stop its spread and collecting seeds from prairie sunflower to spread elsewhere in the park.

It’s Ron Bailey’s favorite day of work, even if it means longer hours. Starting at 7 a.m. today until supplies last, he’ll help hand out 4,000 free roses at his Blossom Basket shops in Champaign, 2522 Village Green Place, and Urbana, 1002 N. Cunningham Ave.