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posted: 7/31/2013 12:26 PM

Learn how native seeds can add beauty at low cost

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  • Native seed ecologist Jim Keenan will present "Native Landscapes for Pennies ... Seed Propagation" at the Aug. 6 meeting of Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones.

    Native seed ecologist Jim Keenan will present "Native Landscapes for Pennies ... Seed Propagation" at the Aug. 6 meeting of Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones.
    courtesy of the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild On

Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones submission

"Native Landscapes for Pennies ... Seed Propagation" with Jim Keenan, native seed ecologist, is the topic of the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones meeting from 7-8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Fremont Public Library, 1170 N. Midlothian Road, Mundelein.

Families are welcome to this free program and registration is not required.

Native plants add beauty and a sense of connection to landscapes, and can be had mostly for free. A plant started from seed can greatly reduce cost, give a feeling of ownership, and provide a glimpse into the transformation that comes with a blooming flower.

The cost of potted plants is high. While seed can be purchased, an extra level of frugality and satisfaction can be achieved by collecting one's own seeds, propagating new plants, and watching them turn into nature's beauty.

Keenan will present an overview of the collecting, processing and planting of seed collected from local sources. Information will be presented on seed readiness; tools and techniques used in harvesting; and drying, cleaning and storage of prairie seeds.

He will discuss his experience hand collecting seeds and planting his 4-acre restoration, now in its 10th year. More than 150 species of native plants now grow in what had been a corn/bean field. Photos of his and other plantings from local seed sources will be shown.

After retiring from 33 years of teaching physics, Jim turned his attention to prairie reconstruction on a farm field adjoining original remnant prairie. Jim has obtained the Ecological Restoration Certificate from the McHenry County Conservation District, and has worked with their native plant ecologist since the start of the district's volunteer seed collecting program.

He also works with The Land Conservancy on its seed-sharing day, collecting, processing and mixing seeds distributed to members doing restoration on their properties.

He is also chairman of the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee, which has an annual Native Plant Seminar and Spring Plant Sale, in addition to a mentoring program, school grant program, and "Walks on the Wild Side" for the general public.

Wild Ones Lake-to-Prairie is a chapter of Wild Ones, a national, not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of native plants in landscapes. It serves more than 90 communities in the extended Lake County region.

For more information about Wild Ones or to join, contact Warren Young at (224) 377-8201 or, or visit

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