The landscape wore January’s measured weather, like an old, frayed shirt – unkempt and scruffy, yet familiar.  The soil, mostly frozen, gripped the rainfall slowly and tentatively, befuddled by its ready state.


Winter’s somewhat confused and mild weather has provided a welcome respite for local wildlife.  Birds and squirrels alike have been busy scrounging and gathering while seeking refuge and safe harbor.


A great way to offer food and sanctuary for overwintering birds, squirrels and even bees is to leave natural areas, like a perennial garden, uncut.  Not only are you assisting local wildlife by doing so, but these same plants offer winter interest with or without snow.


Even more poignant, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently added the Rusty Patched Bumblebee to the endangered species list.  This important little bee now only resides in 13 states, once 28, and Illinois is one of them.  For more information on how to create and maintain a bee-friendly garden, reach out to Sweeney’s and/or take a moment to peruse some past blogs, like “To Bee or Not to Bee” or “Bee One in a Million”.

Plant of the Week


Ivory Prince Hellebore

In late Winter, beautiful ivory flowers tinted with rose highlights that mature to chartreuse bloom amongst bluish-green, evergreen foliage March – April.  Prefers shade to partial sun and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 18-24″ tall and 18-24″ wide.  Attracts pollinators and is deer resistant.

“The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.

It is deep January.  The sky is hard.

The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

It is in this solitude, a syllable,

Out of these gawky flitterings,

Intones its single emptiness,

The savagest hollow of winter-sound.”

-Wallace Stevens

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney