In the Garden: February

By Layne Knoche, RORG Landscape Designer

To be brutally honest, I really don’t like February. Sure, the days are finally getting longer and we tend to get some big snows in mid- to late-winter which some people enjoy, but the frigid temperatures and lack of green plants really start to wear this landscape designer down at this time of the year. Thankfully, even in the upcoming -15°F weather, beauty still can be found at RORG. Although we haven’t had any big snows yet this season here on the UIUC campus, the few small ones we’ve had have helped accentuate details in the plant and animal life found in and around the garden. Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) becomes showiest when surrounded by a blanket of fresh snow, as captured beautifully by Garden Director C. Eliana Brown in the photos below. Birds are starting to feast on the berries of Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), which is typical as we reach the peak of winter. Pawprints can be seen in the snow from the various animals that move through the sedges or from tree to tree. Peggy Doty, Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator with Illinois Extension, recently turned the RORG team into avid animal trackers in her recent guest blog, which covered her process of identifying animal tracks. Take a look!

Photos by C. Eliana Brown and Layne Knoche.

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