1. Published

    A properly planted and well located tree can last longer than a human lifetime, so tree selection is an important decision.

  2. Published

    Spring is a great time for planting new trees in the landscape.  There is ample rainfall to support your newly planted specimen and the warming temperatures and mild weather motivate many of us to get out in the garden and plant things.  However, there are some commonly sold trees that fall onto my “do not plant” list.  Many such plants make my list for their invasive habit, but some are on there for insect or disease issues or just generally poor performance as urban trees. 

  3. Published

    Invasive species can be characterized as any non-native species that is introduced to a new location, has the ability to spread and causes some kind of harm.   Across Illinois and around the globe, invasive species cause significant ecological and economic damage each year.  In the ever globalizing society we live in, these exotic invaders are a result of either accidental or intention mixing of biota around the planet.  Humans have a long history in this mixing process and as we have become better and better at moving around the planet, the rate of invasive species introductions has parall

  4. Published

    We all have our favorite spring wildflowers for one reason or another. Maybe they are part of a native plant community we visit often, such as a close-by natural area or favorite park trail?  Perhaps our preference comes from the plants we are able to cultivate at home, in our own gardens?  For me, it’s certainly hard to pick one favorite, I probably have a list a mile long of my “favorites”.

  5. Published

    Vegetable gardening takes some forethought and planning to ensure your garden space is ready, select the best crops, and get everything planted while working around spring rains.  Our enthusiasm and planning in early spring typically culminates in the planted garden and often wanes as the work and heat of the growing season sets in. 

    I am as guilty as the next gardener for not thinking enough about garden maintenance later in the year during the excitement of spring planting.  However, there are some things we can think about now to setup of the rest of the season for success.

  6. Published

    Although this past week’s weather trended toward more winter-like conditions, we all know that warmer spring weather is just right around the corner and next week looks quite promising.  One of the key factors in knowing when to plant your vegetable garden relates back to weather since some plants are very sensitive to colder temperatures.

  7. Published

    In last week’s blog, I covered the basics of site selection for a new vegetable garden.  Finding the best location in your yard, or understanding that containers may be the winning option is a really important part of setting up your growing space for success.  I would like to continue the discussion this week by taking a closer look at the growing medium, or soil, we choose for gardening. 

  8. Published

    With an increased amount of time at home these days, there is an increased interest in gardening.  It is such a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise while growing some neat and interesting plants. 

  9. Published

    The beautiful warm weather this past Wednesday created an irresistible opportunity to get outside and observe the awakening plant world.  Woodland wildflowers are starting their spring show, which will peak over the come month or so.  The swelling, pink buds of redbud are a sure sign of the flowering display that will ensue in coming weeks.  In my landscaping, it was nice to see daylily patches and fall-planted bulbs start to push up those vibrantly green first leaves of the year.  Although a little too wet for much work, my vegetable garden is awaking with some unwanted green from the firs

  10. Published

    Trees represent some of the most long-lived vegetation in the landscape.  As such, these perennial, woody plants are also some of the highest valued plant material in our yards, parks, and urban areas.  Tree identification is an important first step in understanding the care of these invaluable plants that often take an entire human lifetime to develop into the mature, cathedral-like shade trees that line our city streets and shade our homes.

  11. Published

    Warming spring weather is often enough motivation to get many of us out looking for the first blooms of the growing season.  In my home garden, snow crocus (Crocus sieberi) is about the only plant that has started to show life over recent days, reaching full bloom sometime earlier this week.  If your garden is still as bare as mine, our local natural areas are a wonderful place to observe native spring wildflowers and some early performers are already beginning the show for 2020.

  12. Published

    Spring is a time of an awakening plant world full of blooms and endless possibilities for the coming growing season.  It’s a time that many of us think about updating our landscaping, making it the most popular time of year to plant trees and shrubs. 

  13. Published

    Over the past 200 years or so, orchids have went from a mysterious and challenging plant, barely sustained in cultivation, to a fixture in many homes and businesses. Today, easy-care varieties of these beautiful flowering houseplants can be purchased just about anywhere, including the supermarket checkout lane.

  14. Published

    The late winter is often a time of anticipation for spring flowering, when many gardeners watch for the first signs of early blooming bulbs.  However, one unique woody plant is currently in full bloom putting on the first flower display of spring in the Illinois landscape. 

  15. Published

    There is a growing body of research supporting the use of native plants in landscaping to preserve local biodiversity and sustain native wildlife populations.  Currently, much of our urban plant composition is not comprised of native species, based on the general public’s historical preference for non-native, exotic plant materials.  Numerous studies have found that these non-native plants outnumber native species in US landscape settings from urban to suburban

  16. Published

    Broad-leafed and evergreen holly species have long been a symbol of Christmas and other winter holidays and traditions.  The dark green, prickly foliage combined with contrasting bright red berries can really be a show stopper in the winter landscape providing both ornamental beauty and food for wildlife as berries persist into winter.

  17. Published

    Are you searching for the perfect holiday gift for that plant lover on your list?  Hoping to inspire a new plant enthusiast with the ideal plant-related gift? Houseplants are one of the best and most affordable gifts for someone interested in a plant-themed gift this holiday season. 

  18. Published

    Recently, an Illinois Extension colleague of mine was gracious enough to share an extremely rare find from the early days of horticulture extension and outreach at University of Illinois.  The publication dates back to 1915 and is focused on gardening with native prairie plants.  I found it utterly fascinating to read this piece of literature and think about the context to which native and perennial plants were presented to the early 20th century a

  19. Published

    So many foods are epitomized by their annual appearance in Thanksgiving feasts, with sweet potato often right alongside the turkey and stuffing. This plant also has an interesting world history as both a food-security and subsistence crop in developing countries as week as a delicacy if Thanksgiving Feasts in other parts of the world.

  20. Published

    Winter is a stressful time for many plants in the landscape, given the drought conditions brought on by freezing temperatures and the effects of extreme cold.