Articles filed under Gardening

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  • Seed catalogs offer a mailbox full of promises Feb 6, 2015 6:34 AM
    The seed catalogs now filling the mailbox and piling up on the desk catch us at a time of optimism. At the start of the year we tend to forgive the last one’s disappointments, and we’re ready for another go at the garden’s blank slate. All those colorful photos cheer us on, and the persuasively written pages seem to read our minds, promising success with crops that might have let us down before.

  • Coral bells get ringing endorsements Feb 5, 2015 6:00 AM
    With their lush clumps of ruffled leaves, striking foliar patterns and a general air of vigor and health, coral bells are eye candy in the garden center. Hence, the market has been flooded with too many varieties of heuchera. Nothing, it seems, exceeds like excess.

  • When the catalogs are stacked as high as last summer’s corn Feb 2, 2015 6:01 AM
    The rollout of the seed catalogs started early this year. High Mowing, the first horse out of the gate, arrived just before Thanksgiving, well before any enthusiasm for next year’s garden could be sparked. After the garden has been put to bed and the yard tidied up, it seems more important to declutter the house — winter’s best indoor sport.

  • Colorful blooms inspire gardeners during monochrome months Feb 2, 2015 7:11 AM
    You might find a new plant more exciting than the L.A. Dreamin' hydrangea this spring, but for many gardeners it's hard to top a shrub that blooms both blue and pink without soil amendments. It's the time of year when every new flower, tree or vegetable found online, in a newspaper article or catalog looks terrific, gives our home curb appeal and never wilts.

  • Prune now for healthy shrubs and trees Feb 4, 2015 6:14 AM
    Winter is a good time to prune trees and shrubs. From now until new growth begins in spring, overgrown deciduous woody shrubs can be heavily pruned to rejuvenate them.

  • How to choose best container for starting seeds Feb 1, 2015 1:01 AM
    Q. Should I start seeds in cells, flats or pots?

  • Got sun? Indoor herbs can thrive on winter windowsills Jan 30, 2015 6:01 AM
    During this season of short, dark days, indoor herb gardens offer welcome greenery and fragrance, as well as adding zest to cold-weather stews and soups. “In the winter, even indoor plants won’t be doing much, but an already established herb plant can thrive quite happily in a sunny window,” said Sonia Uyterhoeven, who teaches herb gardening at the New York Botanical Garden.

  • Attract your favorite birds with right feed Jan 27, 2015 6:00 AM
    If you wish to attract birds to your garden, it is important to know what species are in your area and their food preferences and feeding habits.

  • Compost solutions for the kitchen Jan 27, 2015 6:01 AM
    The compost pile is almost like a family member that deserves to be fed. If the pile is well managed, feeding it is a painless ritual. This means taking out the bucket of kitchen scraps every day or two, before they begin to call attention to themselves.

  • ‘Lucky bamboo’ may be lucky, but it’s not bamboo Jan 21, 2015 6:01 AM
    The New Year is still young so let’s continue to welcome it in — with some lucky bamboo. At this time of year, this plant appears in supermarkets and plant stores across the country. It may or may not be lucky, but bamboo it ain’t.

  • For love of succulents: Tips for drought-tolerant gardening Jan 15, 2015 6:01 AM
    Drought-tolerant gardening is fast becoming a nifty form of home landscaping, as moderate to severe drought conditions and rising water bills have swept across much of the country. “Drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents, have color. They have texture. They save water,” said Molly Thongthiraj, who with her sisters has owned and operated the California Cactus Center in Pasadena for 38 years. “They’re hardy. They can take our temperatures. They can take the lows, they can take the highs.”

  • Home and Garden Expo returns to Drury Lane Jan 15, 2015 1:11 PM
    WGN's Lou Manfredini will be one of the guest speakers when the Home and Garden Expo returns Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24 and 25, to the Drury Lane Theater and Event Center in Oakbrook Terrace.

  • It’s January Madness, so let’s discuss top seeds Jan 12, 2015 6:01 AM
    January marks the slow but unmistakable start of a fresh growing season. This beginning takes the form of the arriving seed catalogs, still fun to hold in one’s hands, to leaf through, in this digital age. Even if your browsing is now entirely online, the catalogs and the seed merchants behind them provide a timeless and dual service.

  • Herbs need generous sunlight indoors Jan 11, 2015 1:01 AM
    Q. At this time of the year I miss fresh basil and find the small packages in the grocery store to be very expensive for making fresh pesto. Do you any hints for growing basil on my kitchen windowsill?

  • Grow bulbs indoors with several methods Jan 10, 2015 7:00 AM
    There are two ways of growing paperwhite narcissus bulbs indoors: in a growing medium such as soilless potting mix or in a shallow dish filled with pebbles.

  • Garden inside by trying to grow herbs Jan 9, 2015 6:00 AM
    The outdoor gardening season is over except for pruning and monitoring for animal damage, but you still can garden inside by trying to grow herbs. Sow seeds of parsley, oregano, sage and dwarf basil in clay pots. Once they germinate, place them under grow lights and water when the soil is dry. Fertilize the plants with a half-strength solution of a liquid fertilizer.

  • Is there a gazing globe in your garden’s future? Jan 8, 2015 6:01 AM
    Did I see a glint of mocking laughter in a friend’s eyes when I mentioned the new addition to my garden, a gazing globe? These mirrored glass ornaments were popular until about 50 years ago, when they fell from their pedestals, figuratively speaking. They’re now making a comeback, straddling the fence between attractive ornament and — to some people — kitsch. Gazing globes date back to 13th-century Italy, a country known for garden ornaments, and, more specifically, to Venice, a city known for glassworks.

  • Resolved to start gardening in 2015? How to start Dec 31, 2014 6:01 AM
    The arrival of a new year is always a good time for fresh starts, and there are few things as enjoyable to start — or that provide fresher returns — than gardening. But how should a novice begin? A helpful first step is to develop a plan. Decide what you want to grow. Choose the best place for growing it. Determine how much you can safely harvest and store. Finally, lay it out.

  • Food hubs link consumers with local farm producers Dec 27, 2014 2:55 PM
    Legal secretary Betsy Bourbeau says the food hub’s deliveries to her place of work are more convenient than shopping at farmers’ markets and cuts down time at the store.“I spend much less time looking at grocery sales, clipping coupons, driving around town and finding parking. I just bring home my food on Wednesday and figure out what to make,” said Bourbeau, 50, who gets produce, bread, cheese, eggs and specialty items for about $38.50 a week — less than she would spend at a farmers’ market.

  • Fire tables join campfire fun Dec 23, 2014 6:01 AM
    Gas-operated fire pits, fire rings and firepit tables are emerging as modern-day substitutes for campfires. Flipping a switch to ignite the flames is a whole lot easier than kindling a stack of firewood. Safer, too. “The outdoor living trend is continuing to gain momentum,” said Ross Johnson, sales and marketing manager for The Outdoor Great Room Co. in Eagan, Minnesota.

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