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Walks on the Wild Side

Natural Yard Tours 2018

Every year the WPPC offers garden walks of various Native Gardens in the greater
McHenry County area. These walks are a great way to learn about native plants, get design ideas for your garden and ask questions!

Check out these events on Facebook for sneak peeks…
(don't forget to RSVP and share them too!)

Saturday, May 12, 10:00 A.M.

Hugh & Marlene Frisbie
17202 US Highway 14, Woodstock

Hugh and Marlene Frisbie own 60 acres of woods, wetlands and recreated prairie. Approximately 55 acres are in a conservation easement with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. The focus of this walk will be the front wooded area and the abundant spring wildflowers found there. Nothing has been planted in these woods since we owned the property; we only have cleared brush and invasives to allow the existing wildflowers to thrive. A very special property—don't miss it!

Directions: We are located about halfway between Woodstock & Harvard, on the north side (right hand side if coming from Woodstock). Our driveway is immediately west of the parking lot for Old Rivers Inn, and a little east of Dunham Road. Please drive down the driveway and follow the signs to the designated parking area. Please try to park as close as possible to the other cars to accommodate everyone.


Saturday, June 2, 2:00 P.M.

Dixie Briggs Fromm Illinois State Nature Preserve
Dundee Township, Algonquin
(see directions below)
Hosts: David Schwaegler, Al Wilson, April M. Williams

Thanks to the foresight of Dundee Township Management, who saw the voracious appetite of developers for acquisition of local farm land for residential construction, the township board used a successful referendum for "Open Space" land acquisition bonds. Part of the money was used to acquire land from the heirs of Dixie Briggs Fromm who decreed that her land was not to be sold to developers. Due to great botanical interest in this 150 acres, this site received State Dedicated Nature Preserve status. 

The preserve includes original native wooded hillsides, a hydric valley floor, restored stream banks, a fine sedge meadow and three rare fen ecosystems. Also, a rare dry gravel hill prairie and areas of open field restored prairie. The plant inventory includes 375 native species of which 49 are rated “10” for rare, threatened or endangered. The Baptisia leucophaca (Cream Wild Indigo) grows like gangbusters at Dixie!

Dundee Township ecologist Dave Schwaegler and co-stewards April M. Williams and Al Wilson (if available) will lead the walk. For more info about Dixie Briggs Fromm Preserve or other Dundee Township sites go to www.dundeetownship.org 

Directions to Eastmoor Entrance: (For G.P.S nearest Address is 1831 Lawndale Dr. Algonquin, Il. 60102). Take Randall Rd, south from Crystal Lake/Lake in the Hills, Go about 1.6 miles past Algonquin Rd. Turn east (left) on County Line Rd. 0.8 mi. Turn right on Sleepy Hollow Rd. 0.4 mi. Turn left onto Wynnfield Dr. 0.2. Turn left onto Lawndale Dr, 0.1 mi. Turn right onto Eastmoor Ln. Parking on street.


Saturday, July 21, 10:00 A.M.

Jim & Marlene Keenan
6905 South Solon Road, McHenry

Come see the results of Jim “The Native Seed Man” and Marlene's effort to reconstruct a native prairie in what was once a soy bean field. You will see a progression of prairies, started in 2006, with seed gathered from McHenry County. You can compare seeded prairie with plugs. Many of the over 150 species will be in bloom. Jim has earned his Ecological Restoration Certificate from the McHenry County Conservation District and has a wealth of information to share. If you would like to learn how to grow a prairie, or just be surrounded by it's beauty?don't miss this walk!

Directions: Take Rt. 31 north out of McHenry, go 6 miles north of Rt. 120 to Harts Rd., turn right (away from Glacial Park). Follow Harts Rd. 1.2 miles to its end, turn left (north), go .35 miles to 6905. Turn left onto blacktop drive just past white farm house. Park on grass on the left side of drive.


Saturday, August 4
Two Locations!

David and Bette Chwalisz, 10:00 A.M.
2006 Harrow Gate Dr., Woodstock

Our yard demonstrates that even in a “condo” situation, you can plant natives! This yard backs up to Bull Valley Golf Course. In 2009, we originally planted a 12' x 12' prairie garden along the back of our home, which faces primarily east. After seeing how beautiful the plants were and how many insects and birds were attracted, Dave added woodland plants in the more shady areas around the house. He also admits to “guerilla plantings” along the golf course property line!

Directions: Rt. 14 to Rt. 47 north. Take Rt. 47 north to McConnell Rd., turn east. Continue on McConnell Rd. about 1 mile to Harrow Gate Dr. on the left. Follow Harrow Gate Dr. to 2006 On street parking.

Michael Hallisy, 11:00 A.M.
518 Bunker St, Woodstock

On my block, my yard is hard to miss with 3 majestic blue spruce trees along with both woodland and prairie plants welcoming all who visit or pass by. Providing additional shade for the woodlands are the numerous spruce trees in my neighbors yards. A sampling of the woodland plants includes Herb Robert, blood root, wild geranium, Virginia waterleaf, blue bells, and Solomon’s seal. I have established small prairie areas along the street and outside of my sunroom. Prairie plants you may see include compass plant, wild bergamot, tall coreopsis, sand coreopsis, butterfly milkweed, (pink) royal catchfly, foxglove beardtongue, quinine, blazing star, black-eyed Susan and lots of asters. In addition, I have planted a number of different sedges. To help people know that I have purposely planted my yard this way, there is a stone wall in front, flag stone walks, and, of course, the native landscaping signs. My most recent plantings are at the back of my lot. This year I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise at what has survived the winter in that newest area! To further “green” my property, I installed solar panels on the garage roof. They produce about 4mWh/yr!

Directions from the Chwalisz yard: McConnell Rd. to Rt. 47, turn left. Take Rt. 47 to Lake St., turn right. Take Lake St. to Kimball Ave., turn left. Take Kimball Ave. to Bunker St., turn right. Home will be on the left almost to end of street. On street parking.


Sunday, September 9, 11:00 A.M.

Bill and Terrie Warzecha
13809 Durkee Road, Harvard
815-344-6623

In 2005 we began the transformation of our 6.25 acre corn/soybean field to Natives Haven Nursery.

We opened our business in June of 2016. Over an acre of land is dedicated to a wildflower prairie with over 100 species of native wildflowers and grasses. There are groomed paths winding throughout the nursery, and there are many benches and places to sit and enjoy the sounds of nature along the way. A large pond with a fountain is nestled between.

Over the past two years, many garden clubs have participated in guided tours of the property. The tour highlights how Native Americans used native plants for food, medicine, religious ceremonies, etc. Educational signs have been posted throughout the property for those that prefer a self-guided tour.

Directions: Take Route 47 north out of Woodstock, heading towards Hebron. Turn left (west) on Thayer. Go two miles to first street which is Johnson, turn right,(north). Go one mile to Durkee Road, turn left. 13809 Durkee is on the corner of Johnson and Durkee roads. Park near home driveway (rather than Nursery entrance)