Articles filed under Gardening

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  • Tucking your cold-weather babies into beds Dec 2, 2014 5:45 AM
    Frankly, they look a little like Halloween decorations: billowy, semi-sheer white fabric pieces draped over two of my urban front-yard garden’s raised beds. Ghostly, or perhaps spider-webby. What I’m hoping they’ll do is anything but scary. These floating row covers can protect plants from wind and dropping temperatures as we stream through fall and into winter, and I’m counting on them to extend my garden.

     
  • Evergreens can lose water this month Nov 29, 2014 6:30 AM
    It is easy to forget about watering during the colder weather in November, but recently planted evergreens should not go into winter under stress from being too dry, which will increase the chance of winter burn. Evergreens planted over the last three years should be watered as needed this month if conditions are dry.

     
  • Paperwhites can fill your home with fragrance Dec 3, 2014 6:29 PM
    Fill your home with the sweet fragrance of paperwhites this winter. Inexpensive and easy to grow, they take about four weeks to force into bloom. Planting several bulbs every two to four weeks will ensure a continual supply of their flowers and perfume.

     
  • Keep Norfolk pine indoors to extend its life Nov 23, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I want to buy a small Norfolk Island pine for Christmas. Can I plant it outside in the spring?

     
  • Keep poinsettias blooming long after the holidays Nov 20, 2014 1:01 AM
    The poinsettia — the flower we all associate with Christmas — has a long history. It was a favorite of King Montezuma and used by the Aztecs to control fevers and make red dyes. The poinsettia made its way to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett.

     
  • Enjoy fresh herbs all winter long Nov 17, 2014 6:00 AM
    The season for growing herbs on your sunny patio may be over, but you can still have fresh herbs for your favorite recipes. Give them what they need — a sunny spot, well-drained soil and the correct amount of water and fertilizer — and many herbs are easy to grow indoors.

     
  • Fallen leaves equal free soil conditioner Nov 15, 2014 5:01 AM
    Q. During fall, everyone throws out bags of leaves. I’ve heard that recycling leaves is good for your garden.

     
  • Bulbs in containers make unique display Nov 15, 2014 6:01 AM
    For a unique and dramatic display in spring, plant bulbs in containers, with layers of bulbs of different kinds.

     
  • Amaryllis produce flashy flowers Nov 12, 2014 6:01 AM
    Gardeners can keep their gardening thumbs green throughout winter months by bringing amaryllis bulbs into bloom. Flamboyant flowers in brilliant shades of red, pink, orange, white and combinations of these brighten even the dreariest, snowy days.

     
  • Get outdoor faucets, containers ready for winter Nov 12, 2014 6:00 AM
    As the nights get colder, it is a good idea to disconnect garden hoses from outdoor spigots to eliminate the risk that trapped water may freeze and damage our faucet and plumbing.

     
  • Japan’s chrysanthemums: More than symbol of autumn Nov 7, 2014 6:01 AM
    When Americans think of flowers and Japan, we think of cherry blossoms. But to the Japanese, there’s a flower for every time of year, and right now, it’s the chrysanthemum, celebrated in festivals, shows and home displays. Like the cherry blossom, the chrysanthemum, called “kiku” in Japanese, symbolizes the season, but more than that, it’s a symbol of the country itself. The monarchy is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne and the imperial crest is a stylized mum blossom. That seal is embossed on Japanese passports. The flower is also a common motif in art, and it’s seen in everyday life depicted on the 50-yen coin.

     
  • Stop and smell the tulips. Some varieties, anyway Nov 7, 2014 6:00 AM
    Tulips are the floral harbingers of spring, providing brilliant bursts of color in otherwise drab surroundings. But a few varieties offer another kind of bouquet, too: They’re fragrant. “Tulips normally are planted in home gardens for color and form, but about 15 percent to 20 percent of all varieties have the added bonus of being fragrant as well,” said Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms.

     
  • ‘Navitar’ can offer some benefits of native plants, but at what cost? Nov 2, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I have heard the term “nativar” and was wondering if such plants can replace native plants and still be effective as a producer of food for wildlife?

     
  • Looking back at the season Nov 1, 2014 6:01 AM
    As leaves fall from trees and plants are tucked in for their winter’s nap, it is time to reflect on the growing season. Jotting down some notes now — what worked and what didn’t — will guide you to a beautiful and bountiful landscape next year.

     
  • 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.

     
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