Articles filed under Gardening

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  • Benign neglect? Garden pest control naturally Apr 10, 2014 5:30 AM
    Gardeners worried about the safety of synthetic pest-control products sometimes turn to botanically derived compounds instead. But many of those also contain toxic ingredients, such as nicotine, rotenone and pyrethrins. Instead, consider the benign-neglect school of pest-control — a mix of prevention (such as maintaining healthy soil) and natural controls (such as insect-eating insects).

  • Know what is or isn’t in your soil Apr 9, 2014 5:45 AM
    If plants could squeal like hungry pigs, we gardeners would pay more attention to their fertilizer needs. But plants do tell us when they are hungry — with poor or distorted growth and with leaf discolorations. Why wait for your plants to become so desperate? Test your soil every few years.

  • Working wet soil can damage it for years Apr 18, 2014 12:28 PM
    Q. I want to get outside and start gardening. However, my neighbor says the soil is too wet and I should wait. Why should I wait, and how can I tell when the soil is ready?

  • Prepare for success with sharp tools, animal repellents Apr 2, 2014 1:01 AM
    A Chicago Botanic Garden horticulturist tells you what to do in the garden this month.

  • For healthy plants, start pruning now Apr 1, 2014 1:01 AM
    Our green thumbs are itching, but it’s too early to dig. What’s an eager gardener to do before the soil warms? Grab your pruners. Don’t be afraid.

  • Buffalo Grove Garden Club selling plants Mar 30, 2014 5:07 PM
    The Buffalo Grove Garden Club is holding its annual plant sale, whose proceeds fund our scholarship fund. Order plants by April 8 for pickup at the Alcott Center, 530 Bernard Drive, on Saturday, May 17.

  • Gourmet herbs: tasty, attractive and easy to grow Mar 29, 2014 5:45 AM
    Culinary herbs are enjoying a revival thanks to new varieties, stronger flavors, health concerns and more discerning palates. Their low cost, attractiveness and easy-to-grow attributes are making them popular, too. “Herbs can add a lot of flavor to cooked dishes and lead to reductions in fat, salt and cholesterol,” said horticulturist Gary Gao.

  • Learn to grow groceries yourself at Earth Day seminar in Geneva Mar 26, 2014 2:51 PM
    "Grow Your Own Groceries — in Containers," a seminar to help people save money, build health, find more pleasure in tastier food, and acquire more energy by eating heathy, takes place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30 in Geneva. The Just Food Initiative of the Fox Valley, partnering with Geneva Ace Hardware, will host this seminar as a free gift to the public and as an early celebration of Earth Day.

  • Don’t prune too early, and other bulb-growing tips Mar 14, 2014 5:45 AM
    Veteran bulb growers have learned to put patience ahead of pruning in helping their perennials bloom season after season. They’re in no rush to remove the unsightly leaves and stems of these botanical storehouses, which need time after flowering to renew their growth cycle. “We consider the foliage of the bulbs the ‘recharging batteries,’” said Becky Heath, president and chief executive officer of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs at Gloucester, Va. “If they aren’t recharged, the flowers won’t bloom again.”

  • Shepherd selects seeds with the home gardener in mind Mar 12, 2014 5:45 AM
    Renee Shepherd owns a seed company geared to (and cherished by) home gardeners. When I was in Northern California recently, I asked if I could come by for a chat.

  • Horticulturist picks the best new plant varieties Mar 6, 2014 1:01 AM
    University of Georgia professor Allan Armitage knows the "tough birds" of the plant world. The top performers promise to ward off disease, deer and drab landscaping.

  • Fast route to successful gardening? Buy smart Feb 28, 2014 5:45 AM
    Garden centers, with their vast collections of plant colors, sizes and shapes, can be intimidating to inexperienced buyers. But you can become a discerning purchaser with a little homework and by quizzing the sales people as you shop. “Usually, when shopping, I go early before the crowds and also before the staff are worn out,” said Jack McKinnon, a garden coach.

  • Native plants offer fruit, beauty Feb 26, 2014 5:45 AM
    More and more gardens are going native these days. Butterfly weeds are edging out delphiniums, clethra is hobnobbing with flowering dogwood, and sunflower is strutting like a prima donna. Fruit plantings, though, are stalled in the past, with many people still planting apples, peaches or pears — all non-natives. Yet native fruits are worth planting even if they are less familiar. Many are highly resistant to pests, which is more than can be said for apples, peaches and the like.

  • Proper care will grow homeowners’ tallest assets Feb 23, 2014 5:30 AM
    Local tree experts shake their heads when they hear about homeowners removing perfectly healthy trees simply because of a fear they may potentially come falling down in a big storm sometime in the future. The benefits of trees far outweigh their risks, say two local tree experts: Jim Glazebrook, a certified arborist with The Davey Tree Expert Co. in Wheeling, and Sandy Clark, forestry/grounds superintendent for the village of Mount Prospect.

  • Seed catalogs have something for everyone Feb 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    A song called “One-Ton Tomato” (a parody of “Guantanamera”), as aired by radio host Dr. Demento in 1980, has stuck mercilessly in my mind ever since, and I recall it each year when the new Burpee seed catalog comes in the mail.

  • Spruce up your home with spring's rosy glow Feb 13, 2014 5:45 AM
    This spring, pinks are popping up all over home decor — the softer versions soothing and nurturing, the bright ones bouncy and vivacious. Warm pink light can be flattering, so designers have long employed tricks like painting lampshade interiors in those hues or switching regular bulbs for soft pink ones. “Pink's such a fun color to play around with. I see it two ways — dusty, light and classic, or vibrant, 'statement' and sharp,” says Boston-based designer Taniya Nayak.

  • New home? Tips for getting to know the garden Feb 11, 2014 5:45 AM
    Americans are a restless bunch. They change locations with a frequency that would tire a migrating songbird. But there is more to moving day than unpacking boxes; there’s also learning to care for that garden inherited with the new home. If you were thinking ahead, you asked for an inventory of the plants and accessories that came with the house. “There’s no problem with asking owners for a list of landscape items and for an explanation about the plantings,” said Shirley French, an agent with the Woodstock, Va., office of Funkhouser Real Estate Group.

  • Citizens for Conservation presents ‘The Homeowner and the Water Cycle’ Feb 6, 2014 1:51 PM
    11.07- with one photo -page 2 Citizens for Conservation Community Education Committee presents “The Homeowner and the Water Cycle” on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Barrington Village Hall, 200 S. Hough St., in Barrington.

  • Rolling Meadows woman to leave greenhouse where joy blossomed Feb 6, 2014 5:41 AM
    No matter how cold it gets this winter, Penny Bailey escapes to her 75-degree paradise in Rolling Meadows. Now widowed and about to move into a senior living facility, she is selecting a few plants from her greenhouse to move with her. “I really enjoy caring for them,” Penny says. “It's like children. You can't have a favorite. Every plant has a story.”

  • These plants are the next best thing to chocolate Feb 4, 2014 5:45 AM
    With Valentine’s Day coming up, thoughts naturally turn to chocolate. How nice it would be for gardeners to give their beloved a living, growing, chocolate expression of affection. Alas, chocolate, native to steamy equatorial lowlands, is not usually productive when grown as a houseplant. Even if you could get the football-sized pods dangling from the trunk of a chocolate tree, fairly intricate processing is needed before you’d have something worth sinking your teeth into. But there are some chocolate-y alternatives.

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