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I'd like to share a few rants about garden advice that, while perhaps well–intentioned, can be misunderstood to the point of stalling our advancement toward becoming the best gardeners we possibly can be.
Last week's column generated a comment about mosquito dunks. Because the dunks contain Bt, the reader said, "they are harmful to all lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) regardless of what any company or government agency tells you." Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is spore-forming bacterium that…
In case you hadn't noticed, it's mosquito season. At least is it in my garden. The closer I venture toward the woods the worse they get. There are plants in there I'll never get a close look at because I'm driven back by the blood–suckers lurking in the undergrowth. I finally purchased one o…
Has anyone else noticed their bloom time is later than usual this year? My passion for peonies allows me to compare bloom times year to year. And this is certainly a year of late bloom. This also is the first year I've seen signs of fungal disease on my peonies. Depending on the stage of bud…
It's time to plan now for visitors to your late–summer garden. If you haven't planted Buddleia (butterfly bush) because it gets out of hand and flops all over its neighbors, it's time to try again. Old varieties were quite rangy, and it seemed that, no matter what we did, they would encroach…
Spring to early summer is not only one of the most colorful times for flowers; it's also a great time for conifers.
Like clothes too long in the closet, plants that do nothing for me need to be cleared out on a regular basis. Of course, there are some plants I wouldn't part with, including a handful of small conifers I've collected over the years.
If you should happen to see a yellow crop–duster flying around in early May, they probably are spraying for gypsy moth infestations.
Attending the Gibson Woods Wild Ones Native Plant Sale is a great way to introduce some native plants into your garden.
It's hardwired into any Midwest gardener's mind like the bell that sounds on the stock trading floor: mid–April is when the real work begins. It's when the soil begins to dry out and we can begin the process of raking, weeding, pruning and dividing.
Zinnias are for everyone. Easy to grow from seed - carefree, colorful and long-blooming - there is a zinnia for every taste and situation.
Remember the first alternative–colored purple coneflower? It was introduced by Chicagoland Grows in 2004 as Art's Pride (aka Orange Meadowbrite). The breeder was Jim Ault of the Chicago Botanic Gardens. In 2003 I attended the Garden Writers Symposium in Chicago and was lucky enough to see th…
It's looking like a thumbs up for the Zone–up for protecting my Hydrangea macrophylla Gertrude Glahn flower buds. Although still tightly clenched, the buds at the stem tips are definitely green. I left a couple of branches out of this bundle of insulation and guided them down close to the gr…
Anyone who's ever baked a cake is familiar with the term "beat until light and fluffy." The same recommendation holds true when mixing potting soil. You could just go to your favorite garden center and buy a premixed bag of soil, but where's the fun in that? Depending on what you're putting …
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show continues this weekend, and if you plan to go, I have three suggestions.
It's a long, colorless winter and by now gardeners are starving for a plant fix.
Sometimes you have to leave the house to learn about your garden, especially in the middle of winter. Which is why I attended the Perennial Plant Association's symposium at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
If one can be star-struck in the horticulture world, I was when I had lunch with Roy Klehm of Klehm's Songsparrow Farm Nursery.
What else is there to do in a Midwest winter than look at stats? No, not batting averages. For me it means weather history and how it's affected my plants, especially the peonies.
Whether you're on top of things like fashion, you'll notice lots of pink this season in everything from clothing to home furnishings. That's because Pantone's color of the year is Honeysuckle, a bright clear shade of pink. Pantone LLC, the global authority on color and the provider of profes…
If we don't have a few plants that give us fits, that make our gardening lives a challenge, we're definitely missing something. For one, they give us something to complain and commiserate about with other gardeners.
We all know women are the main decision-makers when it comes to making purchases, so companies are appealing to us in a huge number of ways.
Only a gardener would be digging ditches in December–late December at that. It all started with an incomplete project, a temporary fix to accompany a permanent structure.
We all have them - failures that defy logic, and successes we can pat ourselves on the back about even if we did nothing to earn them.
If it's not too late, Santa dear, here is my list of plants to bring me next spring:
There has always been a need for a gardening clearinghouse of sorts that lists information on events, ideas and trends in Northwest Indiana. And now there is one. Michiana Horticulture Alliance was started by Purdue student Benjamin Futa who says, "We firmly believe our community is poised f…
It's hard to think past the next month, but there is life after the holidays.
Someone stole my idea. It hatched awhile ago around this time of year - a concept for covering tender plants with something more attractive than burlap.
Is it just me or are we actually losing strength and endurance? Not that gardening has ever found its way onto the latest list of extreme sports, but I'm actually looking forward to a five–month hiatus.
If I could designate the day on which I decided to become a gardener, it would be when I bought my first perennial. It was in the late 1980s when perennial plants had been "rediscovered," that I visited a garden center in Schererville.
While it may be hard to imagine controversy within such a beautiful field as gardening, dig just a little and you'll find it. When Proven Winners introduced its reblooming lilac, Bloomerang, they apparently caused a stir in those who felt an icon like lilac shouldn't be messed with.
My garden will enter this winter the cleanest it's ever been. With no mosquitoes, a pleasant breeze and perfect temperatures, I've been trying to pack three months of gardening into the past three weeks.
My husband heard my groan of outrage from the other side of the house. "Did you know the government imported deer into Indiana," I cried as he came into my office to see if I'd severed a foot. "They brought them in from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina!"
If you've graduated past the point of bringing home anything in a pot, you are likely at the level of asking yourself not only, "Where will I put it" but "What do I have to go with it?"
The coleus is looking a bit wilted from the cold night. Otherwise, all tropicals and annuals are holding their own even though temperatures dipped down to 36 degrees last Tuesday morning. At least the mosquitoes are no longer an issue.
I thought I'd missed it. The mosquitoes were so bad I hadn't gotten to the other side of the bed to see it. Two varieties of Actaea are planted to the south of some taller plants, obscuring my view of them from the house.
If you've lost the will to garden, or at least feel there's nothing left to look forward to in the realm of blooms, it's obvious you don't have the right mix of plants.
They discover hidden drugs, guns and explosives. Police dogs have an officer's back. They are invaluable in finding things, from evidence tossed into a field to suspects fleeing the scene. Dogs have a sense of smell thousands of times more sensitive than humans, but directing that sense take…
Time stands still in the September garden. Or at least it does in comparison with the same garden in May.
If spiders went to school and had to come up with a "how I spent my summer vacation" monologue, here's what Misumena vatia would say:
The Gibson Woods Wild Ones will host their third Biennial Native Plant Symposium from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at Villa Cesare in Schererville. The schedule of speakers and events is so full it starts at 7 a.m.–a bit early for most of us, but well worth setting the alarm on a Saturday.
Remember those tiny, innocuous–looking weeds of April? If you ignored them like I did, they've grown to monstrous proportions and are threatening to stage a coup on your garden.
If ever there was a mantra to make it through a pet's fatal illness, it would be, "It's not all about me."
In a typical scenario that dictates a craving for sun–loving plants in a sun–challenged garden, I love Zinnias. What's not to love? They're colorful, easy to start from seed and come in a range of forms.
Lily season is pretty much over in my garden save for the latest in my Lilium collection, L. speciosum var. album. This Japanese lily offers up white flowers with swept–back petals, its light green furrows making each seem all the purer. I braved swarms of mosquitoes to cut a short stem. Thi…
My grandma called it "flux," as in "a state of." Their honey–like scent matched their delicate, party dress looks. But Phlox is no shrinking violet. Its ability to carry us through late July and most of August makes it a mainstay in any Midwest garden. Two of the stars of this month's show a…
It was peony heaven. The entire room was filled with banquet tables, each loaded with vase upon vase of peony flowers.
As if you needed an excuse to get out in the garden, a new study published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology confirms being outside in nature makes us feel more alive.
It was peony heaven. The entire room was filled with banquet tables, each loaded with vase upon vase of peony flowers. The American Peony Society Convention, held in Janesville, Wis., was the first I'd attended, and it was worth the trip. Growers and breeders from Oregon to Denmark transport…
If you've always thought peonies come in pink, red and white and bloom around Memorial Day, you're right. But they also come in coral tones, have a range of forms, and offer flowers for an average of three glorious weeks.
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Should the Indiana attorney general's office compel all Lake County municipalities to merge E-911 dispatch services?