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Articles filed under Gardening

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  • Bring in the terra cotta for winter Oct 31, 2014 4:01 AM
    Terra cotta containers are best stored out of the elements for winter. The clay they are made from absorbs water and the freeze-and-thaw cycles of winter can cause them to crack if they are left outside.

     
  • Preparing amaryllis for a Christmastime show Oct 30, 2014 6:00 AM
    Ready, set, go. Just as soon as you have new amaryllis bulbs, pot them up, and in a few months the spectacular, colorful trumpets will unfold. With luck, or if the bulbs were from South Africa, Brazil or greenhouses in Israel, you’ll have blooms by Christmastime. That’s because it’s spring in the southern hemisphere, and effectively so in Israeli greenhouses.

     
  • Beware the buckthorn; spot it this fall Oct 28, 2014 6:00 AM
    Buckthorn is a small tree or large shrub that is an invasive plant and a common weed in Chicago-area gardens. It is easy to spot in fall because it tends to hold its green leaves later than other deciduous trees and shrubs. Cut buckthorn trees at ground level and quickly treat the stumps with a systemic herbicide to kill the root system. Smaller trees can be dug out with a sharp spade.

     
  • Smart Farm in Barrington proves to be a smart idea Oct 27, 2014 2:34 PM
    Organizers with Smart Farm in Barrington are wrapping up their sixth growing season, and the numbers are staggering. This grass-roots, educational farm project produced more than 7,100 pounds of fresh vegetables — and donated 100 percent of it to food pantries. “We’re winding down now,” says founder Kathy Gabelman of Barrington, “but the garden is still producing and we could use help harvesting and preparing our beds for winter."

     
  • Plant tulips, daffodils for spring color Oct 26, 2014 8:25 AM
    Can you imagine a spring without tulips in a rainbow of colors and dazzling daffodils blooming in the landscape? After a drab and dreary winter, we long for these harbingers of spring to signal the end of winter. They announce the arrival of spring in a way no other plants can.

     
  • How you can help rescue monarchs butterflies Oct 24, 2014 9:54 AM
    Take an hour or so on Make A Difference Day, Saturday Oct. 25, to rescue butterfly friendly seeds. Native plant seeds that you collect are critical to the survival of endangered Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

     
  • Clover comeback? ‘Bee lawns’ gaining favor Oct 22, 2014 6:00 AM
    Turf grass may be an attractive groundcover for homeowners, but it doesn’t hold much appeal for pollinators. Add some broadleaf plants with flowers to the mix, however, and it’s a different story: great forage for the birds and the bees. Lower maintenance, too.

     
  • Crocuses good for lawns, ideal in rock gardens Oct 19, 2014 6:01 AM
    Crocuses are ideal bulbs for naturalizing, for rock gardens or for underplanting beneath tall trees. They may be scattered in lawns, but it will affect mowing.

     
  • Plant alliums now for late spring color Oct 18, 2014 6:01 AM
    When we think about planting bulbs, our thoughts turn to tulips and daffodils. While it’s true the spring landscape wouldn’t be the same without these staples of spring, alliums should be included in bulb-planting schemes.

     
  • Avoid urge to divide mums this fall Oct 17, 2014 3:11 PM
    Q. I have hardy mums that bloom in the late summer and early fall. Is it OK to divide them once they have finished blooming in the fall?

     
  • Cyclamen kin are dainty but hardy Oct 16, 2014 6:00 AM
    For the past few weeks, dainty pink or white butterflies have been hovering above the bare soil in some of my clay flowerpots. They’re not really butterflies, actually: They are cyclamen blossoms held aloft on thin flower stalks.

     
  • Planting perennials, mulching among things you can do this fall Oct 12, 2014 1:01 AM
    Shawna Coronado, author of the new “Illinois Getting Started Garden Guide,” of Warrenville, known for her garden blogs and speeches here and abroad, tells us what to do in the garden before the snow flies.

     
  • Concord: America’s foxy grape tastes good, too Oct 7, 2014 6:00 AM
    Go to your grocer’s shelf and take a deep whiff of the grapes there. Hardly a hint of aroma, unless the grapes happen to be Concord, a commercial variety that captures the essence of wild grapes. Concord is not the only grape variety that captures that unique aroma — known as “foxiness” — of wild grapes. But it is the most common one. With its tough skin that slips off to release a layer of sweetness, its jellied flesh and its foxy flavor, Concord is the archetypal American grape.

     
  • Dig up dahlias before the frost darkens them Oct 5, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. How can I save my Dahlia tubers for planting next year?

     
  • Decorating with pumpkins and gourds Oct 4, 2014 6:01 AM
    The first signs of autumn may be pansies and mums on garden center benches and football games on television, but I am unable to embrace the season until I can start decorating with pumpkins.

     
  • Bring tender plants indoors soon Oct 4, 2014 6:01 AM
    Nights are growing cold and it is time to prepare to bring tender plants such as tropical houseplants indoors. The average first frost at the Chicago Botanic Garden is Oct. 15, though it is typically later in Chicago.

     
  • What every suburbanite can do to save birds Sep 29, 2014 6:01 AM
    The biggest single threat to birds remains the loss of the environments they need to flourish and reproduce, but habitats can be restored by protecting public land and adopting policies that encourage private conservation and ecologically sensitive farming.

     
  • Overwintering favorite plants indoors Sep 28, 2014 6:01 AM
    The end of the summer doesn’t have to mean certain winter death to some of these flowering friends. We can bring tropical plants and tender perennials indoors and grow them as houseplants until they can return outside next spring.

     
  • Go wild: Plant species tulips for early color Sep 24, 2014 5:45 AM
    Maybe it’s time to rethink the way we landscape using tulips. Species tulips thrive in problem areas. You can plant and forget about them. Neglect them. Sear them under the sun. Simply scratch the small bulbs into some gravel or tuck them into rocky crevices and they’ll survive that austerity just as they have the harsh, hardscrabble mountain conditions of Afghanistan, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Turkey or Mongolia.

     
  • Outdoor classroom brings new dimension to students in Inverness Sep 22, 2014 10:55 AM
    At Holy Family Catholic Academy in Inverness, recess has taken on a whole new meaning with the innovative Outdoor Classroom project, installed over the summer on the 20-acre campus of the church and school. “It’s fun,” says fourth-grader Bryson Turner of Lake Zurich. “We got to design our own garden and now we’re taking out weeds and moving mulch.”

     
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