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Articles filed under Gardening

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  • It takes many clovers to make a meadow Jul 7, 2014 6:01 AM
    There’s a whole world of clovers out there. Each kind is useful, and each is pretty in its own right. The next time you walk in a field, look around and you’ll surely see a clover or two. Here are some of the varieties you'll find locally.

  • Tips for saving your plants from common garden ailments Jul 6, 2014 6:00 AM
    Looking for ways to keep your plants healthy this year? Try these tips from Tim Johnson, director of horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

  • Easy-to-grow herbs are beautiful and delicious Jul 5, 2014 9:39 AM
    For beginning gardeners, herbs are a perfect introduction to gardening. They are easy to grow, whether you begin with small plants or seeds. They need little special care and are generally resistant to the pests and diseases that target more temperamental plants.

  • Six great backyard plants for garden-to-table use Jul 4, 2014 6:00 AM
    Back in the day, an ambitious homeowner might set out a sturdy row of marigolds, add a mound of petunias, toss in a few gaudy gladiola bulbs and call it a garden. Today’s weekend warriors have grander plans. They start gardens in order to grow food and eat the harvest, sharing with friends and family.

  • Three alphas for the dog days of summer Jul 3, 2014 5:53 AM
    Years ago, I discovered that the July garden can be elevated from its drab lassitude to something dreamy and fun by getting three high-performing perennials to play together, namely the perovskia, the coneflower and the liatris. By mixing them together, rather than planting in discrete blocks, one can convey a summery cottage garden atmosphere to sunny beds.

  • What’s behind different floral scents Jun 27, 2014 5:30 AM
    Wave after wave of scent has filled the air since my garden awakened in spring. Most prominent have been the aromas from daffodil blossoms, plum, flowering currant, and now dame’s rocket, pinks and roses. Of course, it’s not for us that flowers waft those sometimes delectable aromas. Flowers release their aromas to attract pollinators. As such, floral aromas might mimic countless other kinds of aromas, depending on just what creature a particular flower is trying to attract.

  • Six Elgin gardens featured in Fox Valley Garden Walk Jun 25, 2014 6:01 AM
    The gardens have been chosen and the plans are set for the sixth Fox Valley Garden Walk. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, visitors can admire the beauty of various gardens found at homes on the “Gold Coast” and the east side of Elgin.

  • Keep your perennials blooming all season long Jul 2, 2014 1:34 PM
    When we are walking down the aisles of our favorite garden center, it’s hard to resist the flowering perennials. Here are a few maintenance tips you can easily use to keep your perennials looking good the whole season.

  • Hellstrips: Challenge lies beyond the sidewalk Jun 24, 2014 5:30 AM
    Making a yard and a community more beautiful begins at the curb. But that narrow space between sidewalk and street — sometimes called a boulevard, median, hellstrip, parkway, verge or tree belt — is a gardening challenge. For starters, it’s probably owned by the municipality but falls to the homeowner to maintain. So the first step in caring for it is to sort out what local rules allow.

  • Reinventing the winter-weary hydrangea Jun 23, 2014 6:00 AM
    In a normal year, the hydrangeas would be thick with leafy growth. This is not a normal year, as we have discovered. The polar vortex winter lives on in dieback, as plants we thought were safe emerge wounded from the cold, or do not emerge at all. The situation has generated a lot of reader correspondence, much of it related to the tatty state of the beloved hydrangea.

  • Lichen a gray-green growth on bark Jun 22, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I have a maple tree that has a gray-green growth on the bark. What is it?

  • Two annuals that belong in every garden Jun 21, 2014 6:00 AM
    It is easy to fall into a gardening rut and purchase the same annuals year after year for your borders and containers. If your plants performed satisfactorily in the past, why take a chance on something new? But some of the best parts of gardening are learning about new plants, trying new designs and experimenting with new combinations in containers.

  • Shear your hedges and train your vines this month Jun 20, 2014 5:49 AM
    June is a good month to shear your formal hedges. Pruning hedges in June will help create a denser hedge. Plan on shearing again in July.

  • Tips for nurishing your roses, lawn Jul 2, 2014 1:29 PM
    Deadhead hybrid tea roses as soon as the flowers fade. Many shrub roses are self-cleaning and don’t require deadheading.

  • Lemon Gem marigold offers unusual foliage, flowers Jun 11, 2014 5:45 AM
    Marigold is among the most widely planted and, hence, mundane of flowers. Yet I enjoy them as an essential part of summer with their yolk-like blooms and pungent foliage. For those who are bored by marigolds, as well as those who love them, let me introduce Lemon Gem and its kin.

  • Save ash trees or replace them? Jun 19, 2014 8:45 PM
    Damage caused by the emerald ash borer infestation is becoming very visible in the Chicago area, with many dead and dying trees in home gardens and woodlands and along roadsides.

  • Birdcall playback on phones prompts ethics debate Jun 5, 2014 5:45 AM
    Wildlife watchers can now wield unnatural powers, playing actual birdcalls on smart phones and other mobile devices. The practice, called playback, is effective for attracting elusive species but also can harm nesting birds if overused. “It’s kind of a balancing act,” said Jeffrey Gordon, president of the American Birding Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  • Tulips losing apricot color after several years Jun 19, 2014 8:46 PM
    Q. My beautiful apricot colored tulips seem to be turning red after a few years in the ground. Is there anything I can do to prevent the bulbs from changing color?

  • Fairy garden festival celebrates the tiny Jun 19, 2014 8:51 PM
    Miniature gardening continues to gain in popularity all across the country. Maybe it’s our chance to play like children again; maybe it’s our opportunity to introduce children or grandchildren to gardening; maybe it’s our way to garden in very small spaces; or maybe it’s a combination of all three.

  • Women who helped remake the American landscape May 31, 2014 5:45 AM
    Occasionally, landscape gardening goes well beyond flowers and shrubbery to encompass questions of national identity, culture, even social change. The era from 1900 to 1930 in America was one of those times, thanks to several enterprising and unsung women.

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