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The Garden Scoop

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Rose vervain.

Native Rose Vervain adds color and blooms to your garden

From time to time, there is a plant you may stumble across and bring home to try in the garden that far exceeds expectations and becomes a new “favorite.”  Rose vervain (Glandularia canadensis), also commonly referred to as rose verbena, has played that role in our garden space in the...
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A basket full of red tomatoes.

Maximizing Tomato Production

Based on our updated frost-free dates, most of the risk of spring frost has nearly passed, and it's time to start thinking about planting cold-sensitive vegetable crops.  Tomatoes are perhaps one of the most popular warm-loving plants in the home vegetable garden.  With their time in the...
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Callery pear trees in bloom on a hill.

Beyond the blossoms: The invasive threat of Callery Pears

If you’ve been out and about in central Illinois this past week, you’ve probably noticed quite a few things in bloom. Early blooming plants are easy to spot since most of the rest of the landscape is bare now, and most plant lovers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring, with anything...
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Buds on an apple tree.

Spring pruning can hurt your tree's bank account

This year has certainly hosted an interesting spring, with bouts of summer-like weather followed by freezing temperatures and frost warnings.  From the emerging wildflowers in woodlands to daffodils and tulips in the home landscape, there is no shortage of spring blooms to stimulate gardeners...
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Blooms on a spicebush

Bring spring alive, fill the gap with native shrubs

Spring is nearly upon us and the plant world is beginning to wake up, with hints of the growing season popping up daily.   A variety of early-blooming garden plants are on display right now, from snow crocus (Crocus sieberi) to daffodils (Narcissus spp.). The spectacular spring...
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A picture of tree roots that have been pulled out of the ground

Clearing misconceptions around tree roots

Roots are always underfoot, whether it’s a forest or prairie, your yard, or a local park; these all-important plan structures fill the upper layers of soil and quietly do their work to support the plant world.  Since they are often “out of sight, out of mind,” there are many common...
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A picture of pink flowers in a garden

How many natives should I plant?

Gardeners considering the wildlife or ecological value of their plant selections have a lot to consider these days.   New information is emerging constantly about the perceived or proven value our landscape plants may provide for wildlife.  While the field of restoration ecology has...
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A snowy forest

Updated USDA Plant Hardiness Zones released in November

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones have long been a standard in communicating plant suitability across the US.  Everyone from gardeners and growers to scientists and crop insurance adjusters use these designations to make plant decisions every day.  However, the geographic range of these...
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