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Walks on the Wild Side

Natural Yard Tours

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!

Wednesday, May 13
Two tours! 3:30 & 6:30 p.m.

Carol & David Rice
170 West Highway 22, Barrington

Come explore a variety of native habitats on our five acre property. We started working to restore our oak woods over 25 years ago, frequently adding additional forbs and woody species. Several years ago, we established three prairie gardens, each with somewhat different compositions. And in 2012, we started a shade garden in an area surrounded by wonderful old white oaks, with plantings primarily of spring wildflowers and sedges. If our timing is right, at least one of the gardens should provide us with a glorious display. Our property is now home to some 300 native species. Restoration is a continuing effort, and every year brings new surprises.

Directions: The driveway is the fourth driveway west of highway 59 on the north side of Rt. 22. We are the second house on the driveway. If you are coming from the west, our driveway is one past the entrance for Oaks and Pond. Call 847-382-1181 if you need further directions.


Saturday, June 27, 10:00 a.m.

Stacy and Mike Iwanicki
9100 Marissa, Wonder Lake

Stacy and Mike Iwanicki have been naturalizing their yard since building their home in 2003. Former farm fields now support over 100 species of prairie, savannah, woodland, and even a few wetland  plants. The Iwanicki Prairie is the naturalized portion covering 3/4 of an acre of their 1.24 acre lot. The remaining areas of more formalized landscape feature primarily native species too. The d-rain garden was added to their front ditch in the spring of 2008, the year of their last Natural Yard walk, has taken hold and now features blue flag iris and Canada anemone among other wet tolerant prairie plants. The d-rain garden is back-dropped on higher ground by chokeberry, ninebark, indigo bush and most recently American plum. In late June, the main Iwanicki Prairie is dominated by pale purple coneflower and monarda, accented by orange butterfly weed and yellow coreopis. Meandering paths lead to many surprises along the way!

Directions: The Deerpath Subdivision is on the west side of Wonder Lake south of Wondermere Rd. between Greenwood Rd. to the west and Thompson Rd. to the east. From Wondermere, turn south onto Adam. Follow to Twin Oaks and turn right. Go two streets to White Tail and turn left. Follow the curvy road to Marissa and go left to 9100, third house on left. Park in drive and along road as necessary. If lost, call Stacy at 815-236-2423.


Saturday, July 11, 10:00 a.m.

Chrissy & H.M. Hepperlen
6508 N. Wyndwood Drive, Crystal Lake

Our yard's transition to a more natural state began in 2006 with a small prairie garden planted on a dry, south-facing hillside. Since then the prairie plantings have expanded to cover most of the hill, native trees and shrubs have been planted throughout the 1.2 acre yard, and invasives in the woods have been replaced with native woodland plants. A more formal garden by the back patio includes mostly native woodland species. A vacant lot behind our yard includes a dry, remnant prairie with species such as Rough blazing star, Whirled milkweed and boneset.The woods in the back of that lot are still covered with buckthorn, which provides an interesting contrast with newly restored woodland. Although much has been accomplished, much remains to be done! Please join us to see our progress.

Directions: From Rt.31, take Crystal Lake Ave. east towards Cary. North Wyndwood Drive is the fourth right after Rt. 31. Our home is located on the corner of Wyndwood and Lindsay Lane, is about 3/4 mile on the left. On street parking is available along the front and side of the lot.


Saturday, August 29
Two Yards!

10:00 a.m.

John & Caryn Schiel
4707 Winnebago Drive, Wonder Lake (east side)

Scattered islands of natural landscaping—all developed over a twenty-five year period and placed within the confines of a 1/4 acre city lot. The yard is planted with a delightful combination of native plants, various grasses, native shrubs and trees. John will discuss “his dilemma” of what to do about the shade created by mature trees and shrubs on his sun loving prairie plants. John will have directions to the next tour at Perle Olsson's, about 2 1/2 miles away.

Directions: From Route 120 and East Wonder Lake Rd., head north on Wonder Lake Rd. for 2 miles to the 4-way stop sign. Turn left (west) on Hancock Dr., go one block until you come to Lake. Turn right on Lake Shore Dr, go 7 blocks north to Hiawatha. Turn right on Hiawatha and take an immediate left onto Winnebago. House is the 2nd on the left.

11:00 a.m.

Perle & Karl Olsson
5412 North Ridgeway Rd., Ringwood

Experience the late summer colors of Perle's two acre prairie, rising from the back of the house and sloping down to oak woodland. The late, respected naturalist, Bill Wingate was the inspiration for Perle to change her lawn into a landscape that is now alive with butterflies, bees and birds. She even has wild turkeys coming to visit! Come see this special property, one of the first “naturalized” in McHenry County.

Directions: Take Route 31 north out of McHenry to Barnard Mill Rd. Turn left (west) on Barnard Mill Rd. through Ringwood to North Ridgeway Rd. Turn right on N. Ridgeway. House is located 1/2 mile on the right side of the road.


Saturday, September 12

10:00 a.m.

Bill and Terrie Warzecha
13809 Durkee Rd., Harvard

In 2005 we began the transformation of our 6 and 1/4 acre corn/soybean field to a Natives Haven. One and a half acres is dedicated to a prairie mix of wild flowers and grasses which bloom continuously late spring through fall. The property also features two ponds—one with a fountain and the other, a waterfall. Come and walk the numerous paths and along the way, stop to enjoy the botanic type native beds. During your walk, you will see benches and I encourage you to sit, watch, or just listen to the birds. It is soothing to the soul.

Directions: Take route 47 north out of Woodstock head towards Hebron. Turn left (heading west) on Thayer go 2 miles to Johnson turn right (heading north) 1 mile to Durkee Rd turn left. House is on the corner of Johnson and Durkee Rd (815) 344-6623.


The rest of the 2015 line up will be announced as they are finalized.

View the 2014 tour descriptions.